Bruce Thompson, a math teacher at Dirigo High School in Dixfield, is retiring after 50 years in the classroom.

DIXFIELD — After half a century in the classroom, Dirigo High School math teacher Bruce Thompson has decided to retire in June.

“I tell people that I started teaching in the ’60s, but it was only the last half when my wife told me I need to stop, I had to bite the bullet and stop,” the 72-year-old said.

Known by students as ‘T,’ Thompson teaches all levels of math, from pre-algebra to calculus. He said he loves it.

“Some teachers would be pulling their hair out, but for me, it keeps me young,” he said. “You feel as old as the people around you.”

Instead of counting down the days left until retirement, Thompson’s first priority is getting the students where they need to be. He said kids will be kids, and the most challenging part is trying to get them to do something.

Thompson said he tries to challenge every student — inside and outside the classroom.

Since 1992, Thompson has also been the coordinator for writing questions for the math team. He has won three state championships and plans to continue writing and producing math questions for future math tournaments.

Outside the classroom, he has coached several sports. In the early 1970s, he started the school’s tennis program with Art Chamberlin and Penny Stowell, to whom he gives much credit. He coached cross-country for about 20 years and won three state championships, and coached boys’ junior varsity basketball.

Over the years, he’s been a play director and started a chess league for a few years before it was phased out due to the lack of money.

Thompson is also known for his time as a softball pitcher in the modified softball league.

He joked that school is his “part-time” job. He also gardens, bakes and cooks.

Even though he is retiring, he plans to continue coaching.

He was honored at a retirement dinner May 31.

 

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