What would make a 70-year-old man give up a 40-year career as an electrical engineer in order to get a master’s degree in secondary education and a California teaching credential?
“I was bored,” said Robert Geminder M.Ed. ’07. “Plus, I’ve always heard about the poor conditions of our schools. Instead of complaining, I decided to do something about it.”
Geminder is no stranger to the classroom. For the past 20 years, he has spoken at more than 100 schools about his experiences as a holocaust survivor who immigrated to the United States in 1947. These presentations sparked Geminder’s interest in teaching when he discovered that he really enjoyed interacting with the students.
“I engaged with young people who really wanted to learn. Their interest in the Holocaust was strong, and they asked many questions,” Geminder said.
Geminder participated in the School of Education’s secondary education master’s degree program, which prepares candidates to serve as teachers in grades 6–12. He credits LMU for providing him with the necessary tools to excel in his new profession.
“LMU’s program is outstanding in teaching its students how to manage a classroom as well as creating an effective lesson plan. I also learned how to encourage more participation from students in class discussions,” Geminder said.
Geminder completed his coursework in August 2007 and walked in LMU’s Graduate Commencement ceremonies on May 11. His wife and children attended the ceremony. It was a moment he had been looking forward to for the past year, and one he was not going to miss.
“There was no way that I was going to pass up a milestone event like that. It was a day in my life that I will never forget,” Geminder said. “I’ve learned to truly celebrate the happy events in my life.”
Currently, Geminder teaches math and science to high school students at Saint Mary’s Academy in Inglewood. His connection with the students is his favorite part of teaching.
“Seeing my students grow and excel is the greatest reward to me,” Geminder said. “I can’t wait to see how much they will accomplish four or five years from now.”
True to form, Geminder has clear plans for his future. He intends to teach for as long as he can, with no thought of retirement.
“ I get up in the morning and look forward to the day. I plan to keep teaching and keep getting better,” Geminder said. “Hopefully, it will keep me young.”
To those interested in pursuing a degree late in life, Geminder offered this advice:
“A person is never too old to learn, change professions or make a real difference in the world,” Geminder said. “Having a purpose gives life more meaning and makes a person live longer. I am much happier than I was before.”
For more information, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.geminder.us