SOE Grad Tannar Thompson: Making an Impact Through Teaching

School of Education Spring 2023 graduate Tannar Thompson working in the classroom with one of his students
School of Education Spring 2023 graduate Tannar Thompson working with a student in the classroom. UWM photo by Elora Lee Hennessey.

Tannar Thompson enjoys student teaching because he likes seeing the youngsters in his classroom succeed. Thompson, who earned his BS in education, was one of the graduates featured in the video shown at UWM’s May graduation.

Thompson took an unusual path to teaching. After serving four years in the Navy, he started classes at UWM-Washington County before transferring to the Milwaukee campus to complete his degree in elementary education, with certification for K-9th grade.

“All of my professors have been so welcoming and kind and just,” he said, “but I want to give a special shout out to all the cooperating teachers I’ve had.” They have really helped him understand classroom teaching, he said.

Currently, he is student teaching at Indian Hills Elementary in River Hills. “Angie Dolan (My cooperating teacher for student teaching) has been an amazing mentor and because of her knowledge, skills, and leadership, I feel confident and ready to do this. I’ve learned so much from her already.”

He chose a career in teaching because he wanted to make an impact on the community. “I want to help raise the next generation of our nation’s citizens to be the best that they possibly can be and make a difference.”

Becoming a teacher isn’t easy, he said. “At first it’s really overwhelming. It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot to really understand. But at the end of the day, the payoff is you know how to make those lessons so well and so well thought out.”

One of his best memories of his time at UWM was returning to classes after the COVID pandemic and reuniting with his cohort, he said. They have all depended on each other during their teaching journey. “I’m definitely going to miss this cohort that I’ve been a part of. I’ve made a lot of really good friends and it’s been really amazing seeing everyone be so successful and learning how to be great teachers.”

He’s also had a great deal of support from family and friends over the past five years, he said.

‘I am inspired by my late grandfather, Neil Thompson, who motivated me and gave me encouragement on those days when I felt like giving up, as well as my girlfriend Anna who has lifted me up whenever I needed a pep talk.” 

Right now, he’s finishing his student teaching and beginning his search for a teaching position. He had his first interview the week after graduation.

Now that he’s about to head into his own classroom, Thompson feels ready and confident. “I know how to work with these kids and build relationships with these students, which is the most important part. A couple of years ago, I would never even have had a clue.”

“The School of Education has done an amazing job of preparing students to teach in the real world.”

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