Making History


photo by Eileen Ann

Advanced Placement Human Geography teacher helps student with her classwork.

Lots of fights, low income families, and teachers who didn’t speak to each other – that was what Megan Thompson was used to at Oak Ridge High School.

This is Thompson’s first year at Hagerty. She has been teaching for five years, with four years in Orange County, before she made the transition to Hagerty.

Thompson teaches World Geography, AP Human Geography, and Study Skills. In Orange County, she taught English for two years then AP Human Geography.

Oak Ridge was a low income school where 100% of students qualified for free lunch. Over 60% of students came from other countries in the past five years.

“One year there was like five years because there was so much to deal with on a daily basis.” Thompson said.

No teachers communicated with one another, adding to Thompson’s view of Hagerty as another world. Teachers would go to their rooms and stay in there for the whole day not bothering to look nor speak to one another.

“The best thing about Hagerty is everyone is supportive of everyone.” Thompson said.

Days were long at Oak Ridge where the day seemed to last a while. So not only were days long, everything else time wise seemed to last longer than it actually was. Hagerty has given Thompson a new perspective in all ways of teaching.

Although Hagerty isn’t perfect, at the end of the day, Thompson says that teenagers will be teenagers. She knows that it’s hard to change a teenager but she does the best she can to give her students the education they deserve.

Thompson’s four years in Orange County has shaped her to be the teacher she is today. Her experiences have pushed her to be creative when it comes to making her lesson plans to make sure her students are engaged in the lessons.

“She does a lot of group work and she explains everything really well,” AP Human Geography student Jesse Maguire said.

Because of her teaching methods, she doubled the passing rate of AP Human Geography at Oak Ridge. She proved that not only can she get her students involved in the class but also gives teaching a new name. The work is intense in AP Human Geography so Thompson tries to make the class as fun as she can. Students do activities like going outside and drawing models with chalk, building creations with legos, play-doh models of urban cities, and a cultural food day.

“Students had lots of challenges at home in addition to at school,” Thompson said.