Crazy Mrs.T


They say time flies when you are having fun, and I’d say they are correct. It hardly seems like 26 years have passed since I walked into my Sophomore English/Lit class and met Mrs. Robin Thompson, the most energetic and inspiring teacher I think I have ever known.

She was fresh out of college, and boy did we give her a run for her money. If you know Robin, you know that she loves to talk. We aimed to side track her every day with small talk about professional sports and wrestling, likely because we had not read the assignments from the night before. She would meet us head on and manage to relate our off-topic conversation to whatever lesson she was trying to teach. If you are trying to do quick math, 26 years ago would have been the 1997-98 school year. While so many things have changed about our schools since those days, the infectious energy displayed by Mrs. Thompson hasn’t changed one bit.

Today, you will not find Mrs. Thompson in the modular learning cottage (aka portable) at RHHS, you will find her at Camp Read S’More, her coined name for the library she commands at McAllister Elementary School (MES). If you are lucky enough to drive your children to school, you’ll encounter whatever lively persona she has chosen for the morning… it might be a blow up chicken, a Christmas tree, a stoplight, Rainbow Bright or even a carrot, but have no doubt, whether or not you drive away laughing and waving, or grumpy and anxious, that little one you brought to school felt the warm welcome from Crazy Mrs. T.

Mrs. Thompson grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina with her mom and dad. “In school, I probably wanted to be the class clown. I got in trouble a good bit, but mostly just for talking and acting out. It was never blatant disrespect, nor mean, bad behavior, just me vying to be the center of attention, which is kind of how I still am,” she laughs. At the College of Charleston she says she changed majors multiple times. “It went from Marine Biology to Sports Administration to Theater/Design before I finally settled with English in Secondary Education. I always liked my English classes. I wasn’t great at them, but I loved them. I enjoyed reading and I didn’t mind writing papers,” she explains.

In ’97, just after graduating from college, Mrs. Thompson married her husband Bo. They’d known each other their whole lives, as his dad and her mom worked together in different capacities. One day, they decided to “catch up” and they have been together ever since! The couple moved to Savannah for Bo’s job that year and she began her teaching career at Richmond Hill High School. In 2003, she took time off from teaching to work on having children of her own. It took multiple rounds of IVF to bring Jed Thompson into the world in 2006. Education is a friendly atmosphere for young mothers, so Mrs. Thompson was able to return to the classroom. In 2009, she welcomed baby Charlotte into the world. This time upon returning to school it would be to the media center—where she could put her newly earned Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology to work.

In the media center at RHHS for 10 years, Mrs. Thompson focused heavily on integrating technology into the school, all the while building lifelong relationships and leaving a lasting impact on the kids she met. It would be interesting to see how many of us raising our kids here today were lucky enough to have been taught by, or have encountered her. “I’ve watched the growth happen right before my eyes. The first class I saw graduate in 1998 was around 140 kids. Today, elementary classes are 600 plus,” she says. “It’s unbelievable!”

“So there we were in 2020 and my own child was an incoming Freshman… a position at MES had opened up and I thought if I wanted to make a change, now was a good time.” She interviewed right before COVID shut the world down in 2020 and got the job! Since the school year was virtual for the rest of the 2019-20 school year, she never went back to the high school. Mrs. Thompson began the 2020-21 school year at MES. “It was a totally different undertaking, and it’s been a life changer. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation, she explains.” Despite never having worked with kids at the elementary age, Mrs. Thompson made the change flawlessly and invested the same dynamic energy she carries daily into her new domain. The library at MES is a thematic showcase of how much fun learning can, and should be at the elementary level.

At the high school level, the media center was open both before and after school, meaning the Librarians aren’t assigned to before and after school duties. She laughs as she remembers that first faculty meeting at MES when teachers were discussing extra duties. “We had two male PE teachers who had historically always been assigned to traffic directing duty. One of them asked why they always got stuck outside? So I raised my hand in the back of the room and it was like everyone turned around at once—all masked up—and looked at me. And I was just like, “Stuck? What are you talking about? Stuck? I love being outside. What does this duty consist of?” So, they explained the duties, telling me “Its rain or shine, cold or hot,” and I said, “Okay, great!””

Clearly a morning person, Mrs. Thompson says she thoroughly enjoys morning traffic duty. “I love being the first person that a lot of the kids see to start their day. They could have had a rough night or morning, not wanting to leave their parents for the day, so I embrace it. I want to be welcoming, smile and let them know that we love them, and we want them here!”

I remember it fondly. Both of our kids were at MES the year she started. She started out just waving to people. “I would get some waves back and a lot of weird looks. I don’t think people knew what to think of me,” she jokes. I tell her I recall thinking, ‘Yea, wait until it gets really hot or cold out here and see if you’re still smiling!’ But, despite the swarming gnats, the sometimes stifling heat or frosty windshield mornings, she unwaveringly seems to be just as happy to be there as she says she is. As time has gone on, she’s added extra gear—a stop sign, blinking light-up shoes and a light-up wand—to ensure her safety. Her waves have been trumped by costumes, props and even dog treats. “I love the outdoors, the parents, my dogs I get to see, but most of all, the kids!”

Robin Thompson beams the same infectious energy you see at carline all throughout the day. Whether it’s reading to the children in her very vibrant and engaging library, or helping them open their milk at lunch, she has a way about her that is very special. I felt it as a high schooler, and as I watch her from the sidelines of my kid’s experiences, the sincerity of her love for education has transcended two and sometimes three generations of Wildcats.