90-year-old Ogden teacher quits retirement twice

Jan 24, 2023, 6:08 PM | Updated: 8:19 pm

OGDEN, Utah — A teacher in Ogden is still going, after turning 90 years old this month. It’s the second time she’s retired from retirement.

Arlene VanDyke initially retired after teaching for 57 years but for the second time she returned to teach  at Wasatch Elementary. It wasn’t only because she loveds it, but because the people there make it hard for her to say no.

Kids are major part of the joy in VanDyke’s life. After losing her husband she needed to do something.

“School is a happy place to be,” she said. “I just came back volunteering. I didn’t like being home alone and I missed teaching.”

The volunteering turned into a full-time job teaching again at 87 years-old.

Arelene VanDyke helps advanced readers in kindergarten at Wasatch Elementary. (KSL TV) Arelene VanDyke helps advanced readers in kindergarten at Wasatch Elementary. (KSL TV)

“Oh do I like it? I love it! I loved it the first day I started teaching,” she said. “I’ve loved it ever since. It’s wonderful to have a job you love to go to.”

She did take a break during the pandemic, but after returning to volunteer it became more permanent.

“They just keep asking me to come back and it’s not hard to convince me because I want to,” she said with a chuckle.

Granted, the school made some adjustments for VanDyke. She doesn’t do technology, just the basics as she helps advanced readers in kindergarten part-time.

“That fifth year is a magic year for kids. It’s just a magic year,” she said.

VanDyke has a little trouble walking nowadays, but the school makes it work. “’We don’t care,’ my principal would say. ‘We don’t care. We just want you in the classroom,’” she said.

And for VanDyke, that’s okay.

“All right, I love you more than chocolate cake. Okey Dokey?” she asked the classroom.

The kids replied, “Artichokey!”

VanDyke loves the faculty. She said they make her feel younger. She called educators wonderful people and great to work with.

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90-year-old Ogden teacher quits retirement twice