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    Continuing a Family Tradition: Teacher Becomes an Army Soldier

    Continuing a Family Tradition: Teacher Becomes an Army Soldier

    Photo By Sgt. Arielle Lugtu | Spc. Jennifer Thompson, paralegal with the 785th Military Police Battalion, poses for...... read more read more

    MI, UNITED STATES

    10.18.2020

    Story by Spc. Arielle Lugtu 

    200th Military Police Command

    “Being a Soldier allows me to be a better teacher,” said Thompson.

    Although Thompson grew up in a family with military history, she never had the intention to join herself. She knew in middle school that she wanted to be a teacher; to teach and influence young adults and lead them on a better path towards the future. She was proud to be part of a military family and then one day the question came to mind, “Why don’t I join it?”

    Thompson started her journey connecting with people working at a daycare as an assistant teacher for five years. She is currently on her fourth year teaching 11th grade at Pontiac High School in Michigan.

    “I knew in middle school that I wanted to be a teacher. I always wanted to be able to have a positive impact on people,” Thompson said.

    She loves her job – it’s fulfilling – but also emotionally difficult. Her students confide in her about their lives because they don’t always feel comfortable telling their friends or their peers.
    She sees the issues her students face, and she can’t help but empathize.

    “They’re in this unique place where they don’t know how to be kids because they’re busy taking on these adult responsibilities,” Thompson said.

    Even with the heartbreak and sadness her students experience, Thompson loves her job and appreciates the opportunity to help her students.

    “I’ll never forget the day this kid came in and told me he’d been accepted to college. He told me, ‘You were the one who taught me how to be nice,’” Thompson said.

    “Simple things like being nice to people or how to care for people, sometimes [the students] struggle with,” Thompson said.

    All of Thompson’s experience and skills in helping people and empowering others have made her a better teacher, and a better Soldier.

    Thompson always supported the idea of her students joining the military service because her father had served. He demonstrated the type of leadership she hopes to emulate.

    As a child, she saw pride in the brave men and women willing to serve. Then one day, a student asked her: “Why didn’t you join the Army?”

    She sat in silence, staring at this student, and realized she didn’t have an answer.

    “There’s no good reason for me not to be in the Army,” Thompson says, “and if this is something that is so close to my heart, why don’t I join it?”

    Thompson joined the Army in November 2017.

    Pontiac High School teacher Jennifer Thompson became U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Jennifer Thompson, paralegal, assigned to the 785th MP BN in Michigan.

    Cpt. Shaquinta Moore, the officer-in-charge of the paralegal section at the 785th MP BN, met Thompson when she joined the unit two years ago. Moore was aware of Thompson’s background in teaching, which conveyed Thompson’s ability to help her peers.

    “I can trust Spc. Thompson to delegate information to junior Soldiers, who may need extra instruction,” Moore said.

    During one of their trainings, some of Thompson’s classmates found themselves struggling to learn the material. One classmate wasn’t doing so well, she said, due to a language barrier.

    “I was able to help with that because of my experience with my students,” Thompson said.

    “The patience that comes with teaching allows her to explain and direct Soldiers by catering to their understanding,” Moore said. “Everyone has a certain learning style and to have the ability to adjust how something is taught is a skill many people lack.”

    Her combined civilian and military skillset is a great asset; she can help students and Soldiers mentally, emotionally, and academically.

    Now, she can also share her experience as a Soldier with her students back at Pontiac High.

    Students don’t always know exactly what it’s like to be a Soldier or how the military works, Thompson said. “It definitely opened up a lot of conversations.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 10.18.2020
    Date Posted: 11.12.2020 13:33
    Story ID: 381164
    Location: MI, US

    Web Views: 342
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN