October 31, 2015
Still teaching at 75
New Carlisle, OH – At age 75, when most people are well into retirement, Faye Lewis is still excelling as a teacher at Teaching and Mentoring Communities (TMC) at the New Carlisle Center.
Lewis, of Huber Heights, said she has been with TMC for eight years now, but before that her teaching career had been on hold for nearly three decades.
She began her journey toward becoming a teacher at the age of 27, graduating with a degree in elementary education from Central State University in just two years. After graduation she taught for three years in Cincinnati.
It was when she got divorced from her husband of 12 years that her life took a different turn.
Unable to find another job in education, and faced with raising her 5-year-old son on her own, Lewis found work as a sales manager with Concordia International Air Freight, where she said she spent the next 24 years of her professional life.
Through it all, Lewis kept working toward the goal of getting back into teaching, earning her master’s degree in education in 1987.
In 2002 Lewis retired from Concordia and shortly after that fell victim to the real estate housing market bubble and was unable to sell her home. She moved in with friends but needed money to keep up the house she was trying to sell.
Once again Lewis’ life took a detour, but this time the detour put her back on her original track toward teaching, and she began working for TMC, at 476 N. Dayton Lakeview Road, New Carlisle.
TMC is a Head Start program that provides preschool activities, nutrition services, health screenings and referrals to special services for children ages six weeks until they enter kindergarten. The program runs from the spring through the fall, when agriculture workers are on local jobs.
Lewis said teaches toddlers 18-36 months and works in tandem with a Spanish speaking teacher because many of the children are from migrant families. She said that it is gratifying to hear the children use a word in English that they hadn’t known before and also when older students that she taught remember her and come up to talk to her.
She said she also enjoys the lighthearted moments when the children’s personalities shine through. “I just love working with these kids. They are so cute, and there is always something funny happening every day,” Lewis said. She recalled a particularly animated little girl who she said would turn and “throw kisses” to her skipping, dancing and singing as she went down the hall to the bus.
Lewis also speaks very highly of the staff at TMC, who she said took the time out to celebrate her 75th birthday. “I really enjoy the people that I work with. They are so caring, and they respect older age.”
When asked how long she intended to keep teaching, Lewis was unsure. “Every year I say ‘This will be my very last year,’ and I’m saying that this will been my last year. I think.”