Teacher Feature: History Teacher Russ Thompson

Teacher Feature: History Teacher Russ Thompson

Written by Lorralye Partlow and Casey Sutara

After contemplating what to do after college, Social Science teacher Russell Thompson decided to pursue a career in education. Thompson has been teaching for a total of 19 years, with the last six spent at Woodgrove. In this ‘Teacher Feature,’ find out more this AP and DE History teacher.

What University did you attend?

I graduated from State University of New York Geneseo.

What kind of student were you in high school and college?

I will say I was a better student in high school than in college. I was more focused in high school and did not get serious until I was a junior in college. Basically, I played more than worked.

What drew you to the subject you teach?

 I would much rather teach philosophy, but there is a greater need for history teachers, as it is a graduation requirement.

What person or group of people brought you to this subject?

I don’t know. I just happened to like my philosophy classes in college. I found the subject interesting, and it provided context of world events. Philosophy sharpened my ideals.

Why did you begin to teach at the high school level? Have you taught at any other level?

It was better than middle school. My personality fits the high school student much better than middle school. High school students get my understated humor and most middle school students don’t. I have only taught middle and high school. I’m certified to teach seventh through twelfth grade.

How long have you been teaching? How long at Woodgrove?

I have been full-time teaching since 1997.  I came to Woodgrove the second year it was open (2011-2012 school year).

When did you decide to make teaching a career?

I don’t know, but as long as teaching remains rewarding, I will continue to do it. The day that changes, I will also change.

What has been your favorite moment teaching?

I would have to say Mondays because they are a fresh start. It is an opportunity to do things better. If a lesson goes bad, there is an opportunity to correct it. Anything I need to do, I can fix. Even if nothing has gone wrong, I can still be innovative.

What is your favorite outdoor event or hobby?

I like to thru-hike and backpack. My favorite place to hike is the Adirondacks.  I wish I had participated in Boy Scouts as a kid.

If you could teach anything else what would it be and why?

I don’t think there is anything I’d rather teach outside of social science. I’d like to teach history through movies, or a current event class and tie history into it. I think that’d be a neat class.

Did you ever second guess your career? When and why?

Every day. Well not every day, but sometimes. I guess I always wondered if I’d be better suited for something else and always wondered if there is anything better. There is just always that question ‘is this as good as it gets?’ It’s a self-improvement thing. I’m not dissatisfied with my career, but I always ask ‘could I do something better?’ I want to clarify it’s not because I am dissatisfied with my job, but it’s the prospect of something better.