You’ve had those boring teachers – the ones who never cared whether you passed or failed. But there’s always at least one who did and made the subject interesting in a fun way. She showed everyone that you use math in your everyday lives.
There are not many math teachers that I know like Mrs Elizabeth Thompson. A woman who stands merely at five feet two inches tall, with her big brown eyes.
She was one of Antigua Girls’ High School’s mathematics teachers. Her personality was different from many other teachers I’ve had.
Mrs Thompson joined the high school staff on October 8, 1969. She recalls that she felt at ease because she had attended an all girls secondary school – St Roses High School Ursuline Convent – in Guyana.
On sending her first class of eight for the Cambridge mathematics examination, she recounts that only three got an acceptable grade. She vowed that this would never happen again.
In 2004 when she retired she said, “I ran the race, I did a good job and I am satisfied.”
In September 2004, Mrs Thompson set out to fulfill her life’s dream, “teaching at the primary level”.
By December of that same year she was diagnosed with glaucoma, but it wasn’t until later in the following year that she learnt hers was a seriously advanced case of the disease.
Several near misses while driving sent her scurrying back to the eye doctor to try new glasses. This was when she realised her peripheral or side vision was almost gone.
Mrs Thompson wants Antiguans and Barbudans to know that glaucoma is silent. There are no symptoms in the early stages. Without regular eye examinations, by the time you realise something is wrong it is too late.
Although she was forced to give up her life’s dream of teaching primary school mathematics after three years, she has not given up her life’s skill of teaching mathematics.
She still gives advice to teachers on the subject and also still provides assistance to primary school students with their mathematics SBAs. She can be seen as a regular on ABS TV’s Math Program with Karon Weston.
Now she spends a lot of time with her grandchildren. She looks forward to making the rounds with Dr Jillia Bird to talk about glaucoma and will always say when she meets you, ‘When last have you checked your eyes?’.