Mother and daughter have taught more than 50 years combined at CBU
Riverside, Calif. (March 13, 2023) – For Women’s History Month, we talked with Dr. Rachel Timmons, professor of education, and Dr. Amy Stumpf, professor of religion, society and culture. The mother and daughter have more than 50 years of cumulative experience in the classroom at California Baptist University. (Though Stumpf wants it known that she was here first.)
They said there are advantages to working at the same place. When Stumpf’s children were younger, the women would do a hand-off of her children because Stumpf taught during the day and Timmons in the evening.
They also will ask each other for help and offer each other encouragement.
“It is handy to be able to have somebody who knows what you're talking about when talking about certain stress or a certain situation or something funny,” Stumpf said. “That's an encouragement.”
“We know how to pray for each other,” Timmons said.
They encourage all their students but give women students extra guidance.
“I am big on teaching them to take seriously Sabbath resting,” Stumpf said. “Often women, particularly, feel like that's an irresponsible use of time. And I have to remind them, ‘No, God has made us this way.’ Made us to work hard for six days, but you need to rest seriously and intentionally.”
Timmons encourages her students to be prepared for working in the classroom.
“You've got to take care of yourself so you can take care of your students,” Timmons tells students. “Teaching is not anything you can do by yourself. You have God's wisdom in order to know each and every child and to make every day a good day.”
Combined they have prayed for and with hundreds of students, they said.
“One of the big key points in education is to know your students, and so if we're going to teach that, then we have to practice it ourselves,” Timmons said.
“I think that both of us do a good job of telling our students we love them,” Stumpf said. “I tell my students, ‘I love you not because of anything you've done, but because God has given you to me for one semester and has asked me to love you well,’ because they will not learn from people that they don't believe love them.”
Occasionally students will discover Timmons and Stumpf are mother and daughter. Sometimes it is through the stories they tell. The family lived many years in the Philippines and Thailand, where Timmons and her husband worked as educators, and they had pet monkeys.
“I say I have four girls and then we had three monkeys,” Timmons said.
“Students ask, ‘Have you met Dr. so and so? She had monkeys.’ They think that I would want to meet this professor because I tell monkey stories,” Stumpf said. “I'm like, ‘I know. It's the same monkeys.’”