It’s not enough for Pam Thompson to teach her students the math, science, reading and social studies they need. She wants to nurture and grow the whole child, inside and outside the classroom, and that’s why Pam, 5th grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary, has been selected as our January Staff Spotlight honoree.
Pam, who has been teaching in the District for 10 years with the last three at Lincoln, lights up when talking about why she loves teaching. She says the best part is “when you see the light bulb turn on and you realize, ah, they get it!”
As a college student, she didn’t start out with teaching as her career goal, but an experience helping troubled boys at a “boys ranch” as part of her sociology studies turned the light bulb on for her when she saw the difference she could make. Ever since, she’s been finding ways to help students learn and grow beyond the classroom.
During her 7-year stint at Garfield Middle School, she began the Margaret Warner Ladies Luncheon Club, which among its activities included its members helping senior citizens every month with shopping at Giant Eagle. She has started a similar group with a group of 12 Lincoln students.
“The girls feel so proud to help and it gives them an opportunity to build relationships outside of school and an avenue to get to know other girls” than just their friends, Pam said.
In addition to the Margaret Warner club (named for a grant received from the Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation’s Margaret Warner Educational Grant Fund), Pam assists with the Morning News Crew and coaches the Math Competition Club. The Math Club competes each winter in the Greater Cleveland Consortium of Teachers of Math competition.
If that is not enough, she is working on her master’s to receive TESOL certification (Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages) because she saw a need in the District and she would like a better understanding of the immigrant/refugee students that are part of her classroom.
Her nominator’s submission sums up what kind of teacher Pam is: “Pam creates a classroom environment where learning, hard work, and respect are held in high regard for all of her students. Pam challenges her students to be their best and sees mistakes as part of the learning process and an opportunity to teach her students how to use mistakes as a learning connection for future endeavors.”