A teacher at a Bronx school that was slated to close last year was recognized with a Sloan Award for her work inspiring students and helping shape the school's math program. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Everyone should have a teacher like Eloise Thompson, even if sometimes, it's tough to recognize.
"I have students come to me sometimes and say, 'I want you to change my program. I don't want to have Ms. Thompson. She's too hard,'" said Richard Fleiss, assistant principal of math, arts and music at DeWitt Clinton High School.
But looking back, most of us realize many teachers like Thompson are hard because they care, and their students get results.
"A student from Ms. Thompson's class in the year I took her class got a 98 on the test," said senior Deandre Eccles. "And usually, other students, even though they like their teachers, they pass the Regents and they just pass, but students who take Ms Thompson's class, they pass and they do well."
At DeWitt Clinton High School, Thompson is consider a great asset. She recently stepped up to teach AP classes for the first time after her school lost one-third of its teachers as the city downsized the school to make way for two new small schools. She also helps write the department's curriculum.
"She gives great ideas, she listens, she accepts criticism really well, and we're always challenging each other," said Betsaida Luna, a calculus teacher at Dewitt Clinton High School.
Faculty jumped at the opportunity to nominate Thompson for the prestigious Sloan Award that recognizes creative math and science teachers in city schools. She was one of just seven teachers who will get $5,000 each, and her department will get $2,500.
It's quite an accomplishment for a woman who didn't plan to be a math teacher.
"A friend of mine was going to the Department of Education to become a teacher, and she was going to fill out all her paperwork, and I went with her," Thompson said. "At the time, they needed math teachers, and the person that was speaking with her and doing her paperwork just said, 'Oh, where are you going to work?'"
Thirteen years later, she's making a difference.
"I didn't pass the regents the first time, the trigonometry regents, but I came back and I studied and she helped me, and I passed," Eccles said.
So in the end, students come to appreciate Ms. Thompson and even realize she can be fun, too, once you get to know her.