WOMAN POWER – Rosemarie Thompson-Collins, a woman with a purpose
She's the energiser bunny that can keep any crowd going, the self-acclaimed 'salt' that has to be a part of everything worthwhile, the teacher, the mother, the wife, the active church member, and the commendable community leader. Meet Rosemarie Thompson-Collins - a woman with a purpose.
"I have always been like this. Me always nuff, always outspoken, and always highly involved. If you are around me and I am quiet, then that means something is terribly wrong," she said laughingly.
Having been a teacher at the Cross Keys High School for 14 years, this path has opened several doors for Thompson-Collins, and she has never closed one before stepping inside.
"Since my time at Cross Keys, I have taught English language, integrated science, business basics, art and craft, and, for the past 11 years, I have been teaching my first love - agricultural science - to all forms. This is the only job I am willing to do for the rest of my life. I won't stop until I have reached all levels," she said.
Currently, Thompson-Collins is the district association president for the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) Manchester South; district association chairperson for the Manchester Youth Council in the Cross Keys development area; a trained study circle convener for the JTA; JTA contact teacher for more than 10 years; staff adviser to the students' council body at the Cross Keys High School; 4-H club leader; public relations officer for the Windsor Forest Church of God Youth Organisation; and an active member of the Windsor Forest Citizens' Association.
It sounds impossible for one woman to be able to handle this much work, but Thompson-Collins is happy for a supportive husband.
"We have a union. It's about me and it's about him and how we work it out. I don't think by myself I could manage all of this, and his support definitely means a lot. Really and truly, though, I have three biological children, but I am responsible for six, and I just can't help myself. Wherever my help is needed, I just have to jump in. Dean (my husband) doesn't mind at all."
Rising with the morning sun at five each day, the wife of five years makes breakfast, gets ready for work, drops off her eldest son at school, and then travels to work. With the unpredictability of each day, Thompson-Collins tries her best to prepare at all times for the unexpected.
"Some days, I have to forgo lunch until 2:45 p.m. when school ends because you find that you need to have a one-on-one with your students and that's the only free time. There are other times when my day isn't packed with teaching, but I find that I may need to run to meetings or events to represent the school. There are days, also, when I leave school after a packed day, head straight to a meeting for four, which may end at seven. I head home to make dinner and then later do what I call an evaluation of the day's teaching strategies and prepare for the following day. When all is done, I end up going to bed around 11:30 p.m. or midnight."
Thank God for weekends or else this workaholic, who has a passion for giving of herself, would have no time for relaxation.
"I have it all worked out, man. Friday evenings are for me and my husband - that is our day, and if him miss it, him in a problem, even if it means leaving work early. He knows Friday a fi we day," laughs Thompson-Collins
She continued: "Saturdays are my day. On Saturday evenings, I help the children with homework, and on Sundays, that's family day. We go to church, have dinner, and then I take my two younger boys to their grandma."
Admitting she can't help but live this way, Thompson-Collins is looking forward to doing more for herself and others.
"All I do is as a result of how I grew up. I was a part of a nuclear system, so I know the importance of family. I grew up lacking many thing and so I give now, not because I am wealthy, but because I know what it feels like to not have some things. I want to help people, I want to further my studies and teach or lecture at all levels in the years to come."
Receiving several accolades from institutions and local corporations, Thompson-Collins believes this is only just the beginning.