Regional

Belair High hails 'Mr T' — a 'born teacher'

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Sunday Observer reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, February 02, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With more than 30 years as an educator, Isaac Osbourne Thompson has at least three generations from some families whose lives he has impacted.

"I have taught mothers, fathers, grandmothers," he told the Jamaica Observer, following his September 2013 retirement from the Belair High School as a senior teacher of Mathematics and Physics and head of the Science Department.

At a recent ceremony at the institution to mark a significant feat — its official transition from a privately operated school to a Government grant-aided institution — the occasion was also used to publicly recognise Thompson for his 14 years of service.

"Your coming to Belair School was a blessing for all. You have touched the lives of everyone you came in contact with, in a positive way. Mr T, you are a born teacher, a strict disciplinarian you were, but you could relax and have fun with your students," Principal June McCatty read from a citation.

McCatty said that though retired, Thompson has still made himself available to assist with teaching at Belair.

Acknowledging to the Sunday Observer that teaching has always been his career of choice, he said that he has no health problems and intends to do it "forever".

He now teaches extra classes, mostly on Saturdays, to high school students of varying levels and Mathematics and Science to some Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) students.

For Thompson, extra classes have been a longstanding activity, which has allowed students from other schools including Munro College, Hampton Girls, Manchester High and DeCarteret College to benefit from his expertise.

Prior to teaching at Belair High he taught at Bishop Gibson, did a stint at his alma mater, Holmwood Technical High, and worked with the Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart).

"We have never been fortunate enough to get the cream of the GSAT students. However, with the material that we had and what we got, we managed to strike excellence and we continue to do so," he said of Belair.

"It was 14 years of passionate mission in Maths and Physics. I can remember on several occasions when I look at, the smile on my students faces as they experience the thrill of success — whether it's getting a formula right, or understanding a concept

or even passing exams. It warmed my heart," he stated.

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites who was at the school for the opening ceremony, lauded Thompson for his contribution to education.

He said that he did not "bellyache" about the quality of students that the institution received, but focused on teaching and helping the students to become the best that they could be.

"We lift up all teachers who are dedicated to their profession and we accord them thanks as nation builders, as character formers. We need more Nehemiahs, we need less Sanballats for those who can remember the biblical reference," said Thwaites.

Thompson said that the Rotary Club of Mandeville has also recognised the impact that he has made in education and over the years he has received several gifts from appreciative students and parents.

Along with his reputation as the "best Math teacher in the whole world", the Mico Teachers' College graduate is known for his "unmistakable" 1972 model blue VW 1300 Bug.

The 41-year-old 'appendage' is still functional today.

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