A life teaching others

Margaret Sarah Woltz has spent six decades sharing her knowledge

Margaret Sarah Woltz and seven-year-old Owen Hancock work on the Grade 3 student’s reading skills on a wintery Saturday morning. Woltz has been teaching and tutoring children for 62 years.

Many people, when they retire from a profession, move their interests into other areas. Some pick up hobbies and others may even try their hand at a second career. But for 82-year-old Sidney resident Margaret Sarah Woltz, she never considered leaving behind what she loves to do.

Woltz began her career as a teacher when she was 22-years-old. She taught for many years in the public school system at the elementary school level as well as kept herself busy during the summer months tutoring children.

Woltz eventually retired from teaching in the public school system, and soon after she fell ill. Once she had recovered, she took a job at a children’s bookstore.

“Once I had worked at the bookstore I realized I had to get back into teaching,” she explained. “So I opened my own preschool in Ontario which is where I was living at the time.”

Woltz continued running her preschool until the province started a mandated pre-kindergarten program.

“After I closed the preschool I worked in retail and I taught at a dance school but every summer, no matter what, I still tutored children.”

In 2004, Woltz decided to move west and found herself in Sidney where she took on a volunteer position at Discovery House preschool. Since then she’s kept up her tutoring and she specializes in helping children learn to read.

“I’ve helped a few children learn to read over the last couple of years,” she noted, including, she said, a young boy who suffered from dyslexia.

“You have to teach dyslexic children differently because they do things differently and think differently than other children do. I always told the student, so he didn’t get discouraged, ‘don’t forget that Albert Einstein was dyslexic’!” she laughed.

Woltz now tutors seven-year-old Owen Hancock, a student at Kelset Elementary School, in his reading and she says that interacting with children like Owen helps to keep her young.

“I created my own Grade 3 reader for Owen by using his interests,” she explained, adding that she has to keep up on what’s popular with children.

“I watch Teletoon to see what some of the things these kids are interested in,” she said, while flipping through the Super Mario themed reader she custom made for Owen. “Now he actually gets to read something he’s interested in.”

Woltz said she doesn’t see herself giving up tutoring any time soon.

“I’m so blessed to be able to still do this at my age and I really feel that it keeps me young. The kids don’t let you get old,” she laughed.

“And not only do I teach the children but they teach me, they really do. If you listen to them, I mean really listen to them, they always have something to say. Teaching is something I’ve done my whole life and this is what I love.”