Big things come in small packages
“She is a kind sweet person, very thoughtful and caring. She is somebody I think I can depend on,” says Mrs. Camera, a Commerce Drama teacher.
Mrs. Thompson O’Neil attended Springfield Technical Community College, Westfield State, American International College and Elms College. These schools allowed her to be in the successful position that she is in today. She is currently a history and psychology teacher at The High School of Commerce. She has received many certificates and degrees after completing all of her college courses. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology, a post baccalaureate degree, teacher certification in history and a Master’s of Education. Mrs. Thompson has been working in the Springfield Public Schools for seven years.
Mrs. Thompson was interested in both psychology and history because they deal with social science and how humans interact. Psychology is a foundation for many things and she was very interested in human behavior. They both deal with social science and how humans interact.
“I really like working with kids and helping them grow intellectually,” Thompson said. Her desire to do so motivated her to become a teacher. Every day she comes to work, she is inspired by her students. “I actually learn from them as well,” she admitted. Mrs. Thompson was motivated by her eleventh grade English teacher whose name she cannot recall. She was also encouraged by her fourth grade teacher, Ms. Neal, at Holy Name. “She was kind and warm- hearted.” Thompson feels that she incorporated that characteristic into the way she interacts with her students.
“Because we have two students in her class we have more of an advantage than her other classes and we have more personal time,” student Chloe Fraco says.
She is an easy person to get along with and liked among many students and teachers. “I can’t think of anybody who does not like her,” Mrs. Camera expressed.
“She is hard working, intelligent and has beautiful teaching,” Myra Sherman says, a student in Thompson-Oneil’s US History II class and also her psychology class. She loves teaching her students new things every day and helping them become more knowledgeable. She also likes to open up and improve their understanding.
“She does a good job at explaining things. I think that is what she does best. When we have a test or a paper to do she helps us a lot,” says Franco, a student of her IB psychology II class.
The school environment of Commerce has improved since the beginning of Mrs. Thompson’s teaching experience. “The culture of the school is much better.” She stated that she gets along with her colleagues very well and likes them very much. Mrs. Thompson has a very positive attitude towards her job as a teacher, impacting her in a very important way. “I like it because my work has a purpose and it gives me a purpose,” Mrs. Thompson says in a joyful tone.
Throughout her seven years as a teacher she has developed a strong level of professionalism and confidence that she says, “took time to build.” Whenever she comes to work she enters with the goal of impacting her students in the most positive way she can.
“She interacts very well with her students. She is professional, but kind,” says Mrs. Camara.
“She is really nice, and she is funny. She is the type of teacher you can joke around with,” Chloe says.
She loves children and always recognized the importance of building a relationship with her students. She feels like it is very important because students need to trust and have respect for you. “And that will keep them motivated to work in your class,” Thompson says. Her motto is; if you want respect from them you need to show them respect. She believes in modeling the behavior she expects from her students.
“I would recommend her to other schools,” says Mrs. Camera.
“I think her teaching skills are good and she is very good at explaining things. I think she is a good teacher. She is the type of teacher that when you need help she will give you one on one,” says Chloe.
Mrs. Thompson hopes every day that her teaching will have an impact on her students, especially since she teaches psychology and history. “I hope that students will leave here more knowledgeable and I hope that knowledge about the world and human behavior will benefit them in the future emotionally, socially, and intellectually.”
It is her duty to teach and educate each individual and to be a model for her students. “I will give Mrs. Thompson an A for her effort,” Myra says. She makes her students feel good about coming to class and makes them feel very comfortable and relaxed. “I like her class. Even though it is IB. It is not hard and I don’t dread going,” says Chloe.
Many teachers have expectations for their students so they can be the best all around. She expects for her students to be responsible and have a good work ethic. She also expects them to ask her or let her know when they do not understand. “Students know that they can feel comfortable to ask questions in my class.” She encourages her students to ask questions and if they do not she will be asking them if they have any. Mrs. Thompson does not feel like she expects too much from her students. She just demands that they work at a pace that is most effective for them.
“She expects the best from everybody because she wants everybody to exceed in life,” says Myra.
When students do not always live up to her expectations she has to reflect on her own teaching and alter how she teaches something. “I also have to take into account any social or emotional situations students are having that might reflect their learning in class.”
The most rewarding thing to her about her job is being able to build relationships with her students. She also tries to give them advice when she can and hopefully push them in the right direction.
“I have built a relationship with Mrs. Thompson, especially because it’s only two students in her class. I got to form more of a personal relationship. Plus she loves me,” Chloe says as she giggles.
She loves to meet the needs of her students in and outside of school. “I hope that students would consider me a role model because I model the behavior I expect from them.”
Nobody is perfect so there is always going to be problems and there will be frustrating times, even as a teacher. Mrs. Thompson sometimes feels that there is a lot to do and not much time to do it in. Thompson said that every year there is some sort of new program that they (teachers) are expected to adopt and then the next year they throw away and something new gets tossed at them. She finds her job difficult at times when it comes to planning lessons to meet the needs of her students. The most difficult moment was her first year teaching because it was still new to her and she did not have the confidence she has today. “It was a learning process I had to go through.”
Despite these problems and struggles, “I have never gotten tired of my job. I have frustrating days but I never gotten to the point where I feel like I am tired of it,” she says with a lot of emotion.
“I really like my students. I think we have some great students at the High School of Commerce. They are really nice kids,” Mrs. Thompson expressed in a compassionate manner. The most rewarding moment at Commerce is watching her students grow, and maturing intellectually. She likes spending time with her students and cherishing the moments and memories her students leave with her.
“We have a lot of good times with Mrs. Thompson, especially when she makes us laugh,” Chloe says.
In her time being at Commerce there are memories she has cherished, one them was the time WGBY filmed her lesson. Her students were able to participate, be seen on a documentary, and online.
Every job has a next level. As of right now, Mrs. Thompson feels teaching is most rewarding. “It is possible that I might be interested in being an instructional leader or a school psychologist.”
She is recommended among many. “They are lucky to have her,” says Mr. Nagle.
Her goals as a teacher are to always reflect on her teaching and to make her teaching better. “There have been instances where I been able to reflect on my teaching by changing my lessons and how I teach when students do not understand.”
Other than her teaching she has also been a caring and considerate person when students have needed her. She is always there for her students and has reached out to many of them. There are multiple ways to describe her; the best way is, “she’s got the whole package” says Mr. Nagle. She has taught all of her students something, whether it was school related or something that will help make you a better person.
“She has taught me not to let things get to me,” says Myra.
She loves all of her students and hopes for nothing but the best for their lives.