Fraser Valley teacher and her fainting goat head into retirement

Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)Charity Stobbe, seen here with her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, is retiring on June 25 after 35 years of teaching in the Chilliwack School District. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Today when Greendale elementary teacher Charity Stobbe steps into retirement she’ll be packing up all her belongings to take home: books, tools, knickknacks, and a live goat.

Stobbe has been a teacher in the Chilliwack School District for 35 years and on June 25 she and her fainting goat, Stevie Nicks, will be walking away from the classroom for the last time.

“I love my job so much,” Stobbe said. “I think it’s good to retire when things are really positive.”

It was an interesting final year for her. Aside from having a goat as a class pet, the school year was more challenging due to online learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the same time the grade she taught made her last year of teaching more fun.

This was the first year Stobbe taught just Kindergarten students which resulted in a much more play-based style of learning and teaching. Normally, in addition to Kindergarteners, she teaches Grade 1 students where there’s a bigger focus on academics.

Stobbe started teaching at the age of 22 at Bernard elementary. From there she taught at Little Mountain, F.G. Leary, Chadsey and finally Greendale. (Chadsey was a three-room schoolhouse for just Kindergarten to Grade 2 students. When Greendale elementary burned down in 2000, Chadsey and Greendale amalgamated.)

She has fond memories of many of her students over the years: there’s the student who stayed in touch for more than a decade and invited her to his Grade 12 graduation; her son Clayton who was her student in Grade 1 at Chadsey; the Lenz family with six children all of whom were pupils of Stobbe; and teaching more than one generation in several families.

She’s taught up to Grade 4, but she said Grade 1 was always her “specialty.”

It was also the most difficult grade to teach because of just how much the kids grow and learn throughout the school year, like reading, writing and math, Stobbe said.

“They learn everything,” she said. “It’s a very hard grade to teach well, but it’s a very rewarding grade for a teacher.”

Last summer, Stobbe welcomed young Stevie Nicks into her life. She’s a calm and mellow animal called a mini silky fainting goat, which is a more gentle and smaller breed of goat. Stevie doesn’t jump up on things like most other goats.

“When I saw what Stevie Nicks was like, I thought ‘this could be the class pet, or the school pet.’”

Little Stevie Nicks was easy to train and she walks well on a leash.

As her breed suggests, she also faints quite easily.

If she gets surprised, Stevie faints. Scared? Faints. Excited? Faints.

Sometimes Stevie will just stiffen up for a few seconds and stay upright, other times she tips right over and is out for a minute or so.

She’s heard her students cry out “Mrs. Stobbe, Stevie’s fainted!” countless times.

At recess time, Stevie runs outside and eats while the kids play around her, and when the bell rings again she runs in with the rest of her classmates.

Stevie wears a diaper to prevent accidents in the classroom, and a onesie to hold the diaper up. She has many outfits and Stevie and Stobbe even got dressed up for Halloween last year as Little Bo Peep and her sheep.

Sometimes Stevie nibbles on books or eats the children’s artwork, but she mostly brings a relaxing vibe to the classroom.

This year Stobbe noticed a great change in one of her students who didn’t speak much. Throughout the school year, the young girl would sit by herself and talk with Stevie and by the end of the school year her speaking had improved quite a bit – both Stobbe and the girl’s mother noticed it.

The calming effect Stevie has with children has made Stobbe want to continue to help others.

At 57, Stobbe is young to be retiring. She still wants to work and is now turning her attention to goat therapy for kids and/or seniors as she says goodbye to teaching.

On Thursday, June 25, Stobbe will be handing out report cards for the last time, along with a book for each child and a hand-painted rock (many of which are Stevie-themed).

Her advice for teachers, especially those dealing with children who act out or need a little more attention is to “stay positive… don’t give up on kids.”

She’ll miss the school plays, singing, being surrounded by kids as she plays the piano, tea parties and grandparents days.

But most of all Stobbe is going to miss the relationships.

“I’m very good at connecting with kids, they love me. When people love you so much… I’m going to miss that a lot,” she said. “It’s going to leave a big hole.”

RELATED: Hall retires from 34 years of educating in Chilliwack


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Chilliwack School District

Just Posted

After clocking in at 207km/hr in Maple Ridge, the driver’s car was impounded, and their licence was suspended. (File photo)
Speedster busted travelling 127 km/hr over limit in Maple Ridge

RCMP nabbed the offender on Lougheed Highway and 287 Street this weekend

Building Interfaith Bridges organized a special crossing of Dewdney Trunk Road in commemoration of the Afzaal family who were killed in London, Ontario. (Special to The News)
Group marches across Maple Ridge intersection for Muslim family killed in Ontario

Participants dressed in traditional outfits to create awareness against Islamophobia

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Old-growth logging tip of a much bigger issue

Letter writer erects flagpole and fly national and provincial flags upside down as sign of distress

A rendering of the proposed six-storey apartment building on Dewdney Trunk Road. (Billard Architecture)
Green rooftop planned on Maple Ridge condo building

Council considers 127-unit apartment building on Dewdney Trunk Road

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Maple Ridge high school has COVID-19 exposure

Westview secondary is latest listed by Fraser Health

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read