Slowing down is common for individuals who reach retirement age. But that isn’t the case for Ron Spears.
Instead of traveling, bingo or other leisurely pursuits, the former electrical engineer went back to school to share his knowledge of math with students who had difficulty with the subject.
“It was hard for me to read in the paper that students were struggling with math,” he says. “Seeing that people were struggling with elementary math was a huge eye-opener. I knew I wanted to understand where those students came from, and I knew I wanted to help.”
Spears retired as an electrical engineer in 2002, but he knew then that he wasn’t ready to just sit around. He wanted to keep his mind busy, so he went to work at the Granite School District as a substitute teacher and tutor for seven years.
After his time at the Granite School District, Spears wanted to try teaching. He taught at a charter school for a year, but decided that teaching full-time wasn’t for him.
Spears went back to being a tutor because he wanted to spend more one-on-one time with the students who needed it. He was hired by Salt Lake Community College and is in his sixth year with the school.
“I liked tutoring a lot more,” he says. “It’s more peaceful, and the students that are here actually want to be here. It’s more productive, and I can help a lot more.”
Spears is also an alumnus of South High School, and enjoys coming back to his old “stomping ground” as he describes it. He also appreciates the opportunity to help the next generation of students.
“I’m here to help them learn math, and remember the basics that I was taught so long ago,” he says. “We don’t need calculators. We just need to understand the basics, that’s what I’m here for.”
Spears works in room 3-174 at the South City Campus on Mondays and Wednesdays and in room 040 of the Markosian Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He will not tell his age, but will share his graduation year with anyone who visits him so they can do the math.