The Eighth Decade

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I retired to become a college teacher by a circuitous route.  I learned a teacher had to earn a Master's degree.  Then I completed that degree in 1967 at age 26 with a one-year old;  I was told I looked younger than the undergraduates and should wait a decade.  After working in human needs programs and earning doctoral credits, I was virtually offered a position until the Dean discovered I had children:  "We wouldn't want those babies to become motherless if you had an accident on the way to class."


After two decades, san husbands, I used government severance pay to complete doctoral credits and watch my middle daughter.  Letters to department heads resulted in a last-minute interview when a teacher was promoted.  I taught sociology, psychology, and communications as a community college adjunct (paid per course), using my policy experience for real-world examples.  Then I tried a dozen colleges and universities around the Washington Beltway until I became the poster child for adjuncts (cover page of Community College Week).


To keep my five children housed, I'd taken out my federal retirement of $37,000 and kept earning under Social Security, which now pays $800+ a month.  Retirement without paid work is not an option.  Instead, I've continued to tutor, edit papers, evaluate proposals, advise students and parents, and teach classes, where I can help people thrive.  Luckily, I still look "too young" and am more flexible than most of my young students (despite health problems).


Currently, I'm teaching as an adjunct at  the Loudoun campus of Northern Virginia Community College, which supplements our pay with special projects and honors us with awards  My week is filled with writing, professional presentations, and advocacy work.  When I meet again with women who have not contributed, or who retired to not work, we marvel in the apparent differences in our ages.  In my eighth decade, I'm still finding out what I want to do "when I grow up."






































credits, I was virtually offered a

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