Despite Retirement, 89-Year-Old Teacher Still Helping Kids Learn to Read
Irene Basham of Bradford, England, had been teaching students for seven decades and while she officially retired in 1992, she is still actively teaching kids how to read, after her grandson’s teacher asked her to help out.
“I was at my grandson’s Christmas play and was telling the head teacher how much I missed the children,” shared Basham. “She offered me the chance to go in and help out and I have been there ever since.”
The almost-90-year-old teacher currently serves as a volunteer at Pool Church of England Primary School in Leeds, where she teaches young children from the age of five how to read.
“The kids get really excited by learning about the world and language and I love to see that. I think they try and teach children too much too soon now — they don’t give them any time to assimilate information,” Basham said.
While most people may be concerned that the generation gap may be too much to overcome, the seasoned educator believes that being old is an advantage in teaching because it is much easier to make her students listen to her.
“They talk to you and if you sit and listen to them while they are reading they tell you little bits, like whether they are worried or frightened by anything,” Basham shared. “Because I’m older they feel they can tell me more. I think they think I was about when dinosaurs were walking around,” Basham said.
Basham is proud that she is still in great shape to do the work she is most passionate about and when asked about her longevity secret, she said:
“I walk about a lot and have no real ailments and I keep myself mentally alert. There is no great secret to it — I have never been a big drinker apart from a few Sherries with the family and I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. My family don’t think it’s surprising at all that I still teach – it’s what I have always done.”
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