Meet the Teacher: Michele Thompson, Niles High School

Published 9:18 am Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

Name: Michele Thompson

School: Niles High School

Grades/subjects taught: Chemistry and earth science 10th to 12th

Where did you attend college? WMU (B.S.), Indiana University (M.S.) and multiple graduate level classes at several different universities.

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? Twenty-one years, all at Niles High School

Why did you decide to become a teacher? My dad was a teacher and my mom was a school secretary so I came by it naturally.  They were both very involved with education.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I love to travel, camp, read, and scrapbook.  I also enjoy going to U of M football games with my family.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? I am very shy and it takes me a long time to get to know people. I have to force myself to get out of my comfort zone.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I am a Disney fan so I would have to pick Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” simply because she loves to read, is willing to sacrifice herself for someone else, doesn’t always follow the crowd, and most importantly is more interested in a person’s inner beauty as opposed to his or her outward appearance.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? I loved to read and travel. I was also very involved with the Girl Scouts where I spent several summers learning to sail.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? I am very organized and that I enjoy being involved with our high school.  I run the scoreboard for a variety of sports and am the advisor for National Honor Society and Prom.

Who is your biggest role model and why? My parents. They have taught me to work hard, to be kind to others, to never stop learning, and to give back to the community.  Also, from a young age, they exposed my brother and I to a variety of experiences through travel. We learned a lot on those trips.

How has education changed in the last 10 years?  The increase in the use of technology has definitely changed education. It has opened a world of possibilities for our students, allowing them to learn about topics and their interests that would have been difficult before.  Unfortunately, it can also be a distraction at times. The biggest key has been to find a balance in the classroom.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? Encourage your child to never give up especially when things get hard and to spend time reading for pleasure.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is… I want my students to understand that it is OK to be challenged and that we often learn the most from the mistakes that we make.  It is amazing how successful they can be if they are willing to put in the effort.

This photo was taken during spirit week.