California Educator

September 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 48 of 57

C hris Stanley wanted his students to have the same experience he did when he went fishing as a kid. So he started bringing his fourth-grade students and chaperones up to Lake Cuyamaca in the mountains outside of San Diego once a year. Some 22 years later, Stanley, a member of the Santee Teachers Association, reckons he's taken upwards of 3,000 kids on various fishing trips. Stanley, who now teaches seventh- and eighth-grade language arts, history and PE at Carlton Hills School in Santee, explains his passion to bring fishing to young people. "Adults have the ability to unpack emotional baggage," he says. "Kids don't have those opportunities. With fishing they can forget about everything, feel reju- venated, get outside of Santee — see outside of whatever they're in." Every year on the Friday before Memorial Day, Stanley takes the school's fourth-graders and a special ed class to the lake. He's now joined by former students who come back to help. Last school year, 110 students par- ticipated and paid about $3 each. e PTA or Associated Student Body usually pays for busing, tackle is donated, and kids use Stanley's collection of rods and reels. e Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks extra trout in the lake beforehand. "After the trip, we fillet all the fish and send them home with the kids," Stanley says. "It's a fun age," he adds, explaining his focus on 9- and 10-year-olds. "ey go from that smaller class size to the larger class size. They have more responsibilities and more stress." Stanley has worked with the nonprofit Friends of Rollo for the past 12 years, taking 40 13-year-old students with GPAs of 3.5 or better for a half day of fishing in the ocean. In addition, Stanley runs a boys' group at school that includes a range of students, from excellent to those who are struggling or need an extra push. He works with San Diego Sportfishing to take five Saturday trips with six of these students every year. "e boys from the group who have the GPA and good behavior get this free trip that is covered by the club," he says. "I just have to chaperone and play the personal deckhand for the kids." Stanley says these fishing trips, just like teaching, have changed his life. (He also says that educators saved his life — literally. When he was in third grade, his school came under attack by a 16-year-old shooter. Stanley wit- nessed his principal shot dead after the man told him and others to run. Another teacher saw Stanley running in the wrong direction and called him back.) " Teaching is like fishing," Stanley said in an inter- view prior to being named a San Diego County Teacher of the Year in 2007. "There are no bad days, just days that are more challenging, days that test your limits more than others." — Katharine Fong Left, Chris Stanley and students at the lake; below, on a Friends of Rollo trip, Stanley's students go out on their own chartered boat. The Reel Thing Chris Stanley brings a passion for fishing to his students 45 September 2016 CTA & you good works

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - September 2016