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Retired teachers never quit; they just choose another course

Sister Patty Geis

Sister Patty Geis tutors adults through School & Tutors on Wheels in her retirement.

It’s probably not surprising that a former teacher finds it hard to quit teaching.

Like many Sisters of Providence, Sister Patricia Geis has continued teaching as an English language tutor long after she could have called it quits in the working world.

For the last “seven or eight” years, Sister Patricia has been with School & Tutors on Wheels. It is an English literacy program that provides free one-on-one tutoring to low-income adults. This is a ministry of the Congregation of St. Joseph and their website describes the need: “improving adult English literacy improves our schools, public safety, health literacy and workplace productivity — this helps our communities and our economy.”

Sister Patricia explained that her students “want to refine their English skills to be able to communicate with doctors and other English-speaking people that they have to deal with every day.”

She said the ministry used to actually travel and tutor on a bus that traveled Chicago neighborhoods, but it has grown so large that they now meet their students in libraries, storefronts and other locations. She meets her students at St. Francis of Rome School in Cicero, Illinois.

To be clear, her teaching isn’t at the same pace as in her younger years. She meets with two separate students one day a week. It’s a good pace for her and something she sought after she retired.

“I was retired and looking for something to do,” she said. “It was something I was interested in and wanted to do. And it was something that was very needed.”

The rewards of this work are worth the effort. Working with adults is also a fun change from teaching kindergarten, first and second graders.

“You get so friendly with these people and they are so wonderful,” she said. “You get a lot more from them than you are giving to them.

Read about more of our amazing senior sisters in the most recent issue of HOPE magazine.

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Rosie Blankenship

Rosie Blankenship is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She previously served in positions for the Sisters of Providence as the web site manager and annual giving manager.

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5 Comments

  1. Donna Butler on November 6, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Patty,
    Thank you for meeting such a great need!

    I like, too, that the blog pointed out so many interconnected issues that show how this contributes both to the good of the individual and to the common good.
    Blessings to you and to those with whom you minister!

    • Pat Geis on November 12, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks, Donna! I appreciate your support and comments. We continue in Mother Theodore’s footsteps.

  2. Sue Paweski, SP on November 11, 2015 at 8:26 am

    YEAH, Patty! I am sure your students look forward to your positive attitude while learning something new with each session. You are an inspiration.

    • Patty Geis on November 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks, Sue!

      I appreciate your love, support and comments.
      God Bless!

  3. Sheila Donis on November 12, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Your happiness is contagious! Thank you for your service and love for those in need.

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