Gemma's Books on Amazon

Gemma's Books on Amazon
Gemma's Books on Amazon

Not too late…

So, I went to the schools… and in one of the schools, I met an active 88 year-old Special Education Teacher. 88 years old!!!!!!

A lot of things ran through my mind. Ok, she’s 88. She still teaches… BUT – What about technology? What about making IEPs (Individualized Education Plan)??? Uh oh.

So I hugged her. I told her we need to do a lot of things this year. I posted all the pertinent materials on her cabinet. I taught her what to do. I informed her, we will do this, one step at a time! Guess what I found out- she’s a lot of fun! for her age!

After teaching her on how to do the 1st page of the IEP, she asked me, “alright, now answer me, What are gerunds? What are participial adjectives?” I laughed, hard! She told me, “see there a lot of things that I know, and I am sure you know a lot of things too. So as you teach me I will review you with English matters, is that a deal?”

And there began our journey. IEP data collection – she does the errands, the testing, the interviewing, I make her write the meat of the IEP, I help her with the rest. So far, so good.

Seeing her do all these things, watching her walk, hearing her teach, listening to her funny statements and feeling her presence in the room, made me realize a lot of things about life.

Age doesn’t matter. She said when she turned 70 she just accepted things. She likes everyone. She understands people’s uniqueness and she just lives her life one day at a time.

I asked her ” Why are you still here in school?”, she answered, ” Why not? What will I do at home, my husband’s dead!”. Mmmm, makes sense. She continued, “I would have been traveling too, but I don’t want to travel alone. I like gardening…” I interrupted, “then go gardening!”, she continued, “No, I don’t want to do gardening alone!”, and deducted, nope, she’s not going anywhere.

We can keep going if we want to. Retirement doesn’t and shouldn’t stop us. I can continue to love working, continue to use my brain, remain active and alive for as long as I want to. For as long as I want to.

The teacher’s 88 and she’s got a lot of special education and English resource matters going for her. She complains not. She is determined. And never mind if she is 88, I don’t discriminate. I get inspired. Really!

Health is wealth. The gift of health is I think what I’ll be praying for when I get to her age. At her age, she still enjoys what she can. At her age, she still enjoys life.

No one is too old to learn new technology. At 88 years old, she’s got FB!!! Hahaha, joke! But yes, she remembers her user id and password in almost all the websites that she needs to be using, she knows her Microsoft Office basics and yes she can even communicate via email!

Love what you do. She stopped me one time and told me, “Maria, I really want to make sure I am on time, SO, if you want, I can work with you after school and during weekends… Actually tomorrow, Saturday, I will be here in school to work on things!” Mmmm… still thinking if that’s too much love of work? or that at her age there isn’t much “life” she can afford to do?

At this time, though I’m still puzzled why she chose to be where she at now, I respect her. I respect her choices and how up to this time, she continues to be giving of her time, talent and skills. For as long as teaching makes her alive and happy then so be it.

The challenge now is, if she can do it at her AGE, then I ______________….

And so it is..


  1. This is really inspiring. I've always thought that people over 80 should just stay at home and have their children or grandchildren take care of them. Now, I've learned something new. You can still live life and have fun even at that age. It's also nice that she's passing what she knows to other people. Thanks for sharing this Ms. Gemma! Now I know that I can look forward to many more years ahead.. :)

  2. she's really cool! well now im become inspired too not not afraid to get old. Thanks for sharing

  3. Wow! I can imagine how fit and healthy that lady is. Very inspiring!


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