This I Believe

Rhonda - Green River, Wyoming
Entered on August 7, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

It’s Never Too Late

I believe you are never too old and it is never too late to follow your dreams.

I wanted to be a teacher since I was a child. I went to college right out of high school with the intention of becoming a teacher. In my second year of college, love intervened, and I left college for marriage and motherhood. I worked in daycare centers, preschools, and youth centers, but the dream of teaching hadn’t died.

In 1991, I inherited some money. “Now’s my chance,” I thought. My children were all in school. I calculated that if I could get my teaching credential by the time I was forty-five years old, I could still teach for twenty years.

And so began the fulfillment of my dream to be a teacher. I drove eighty miles round trip three times a week to the nearest university to take classes.

In 1993 I received my Bachelor of Arts degree. I immediately began my student teaching and substitute teaching. A teacher was what I was, not what I did. I earned my California teaching credential in January 1994 and was offered my first fulltime teaching position that fall. Ironically, it was a special education position. I was interested in special education, but it required more education in California at that time. So I began teaching a small class of learning disabled and moderately mentally retarded students, and I went back to school. This time I taught all day and drove seventy miles one way to take a three-hour class. I got home at 11:30; fell into bed, only to get up at 5 AM to start all over again. I did that for two years and earned my Special Education credential.

So at age 47, I was a Special Education teacher. I had realized my dream and it wasn’t too late. I wasn’t too old. However, that wasn’t the end. By 2003, all my children were independent. That was the year I made a serious New Year’s resolution: to get a job teaching Special Education closer to where my grandchildren lived. By August of that year, I was living in Wyoming and had a job as a Special Education teacher in an intermediate school.

Once again I had proven that it wasn’t too late and I wasn’t too old. At age 54, I had left over twenty years in California behind and moved almost 1000 miles to Wyoming – by myself! But God wasn’t through with me yet. I loved my new job, my new town, my new friends, coworkers and students. I was happy and able to see my grandchildren at least once a month instead of once a year.

On April 11, 2005, I had a stroke. My life was about to change again, but not by my choice this time. By December 2005, with two more strokes under my belt, I was on disability and no longer able to do what I loved most – teach. God has other plans for me. I may not know yet what they are, but this I believe, it’s not too late and I’m still not too old to follow my dreams.