Westmont Magazine Investing her Retirement
For most people, retirement means slowing down. But Eleanor Tate ’48 just keeps going.
The newspaper in her hometown, Richmond, British Columbia, featured a story this year about her extensive volunteer work at Pinegrove Place, a home for the elderly. She visits with the residents on a weekly basis, accompanies them to appointments around the community and helps with outings and bus trips. She even volunteers to model in the spring and fall fashion shows.
In addition to her time at Pinegrove, Eleanor teaches English as a second language at churches in her area. She also helps out at the airport chapel once a week, chatting with visitors, helping refugees and sick people find assistance in the city and talking to them about spiritual concerns.
Giving her time is nothing new. After graduating from Westmont, Eleanor spent 13 years teaching English at Seattle Pacific University. When she saw an advertisement in a magazine for the Crusade for Education seeking teachers to go overseas to teach English, she considered it a direct calling from the Lord. She wanted to continue to teach English and felt energized at the thought of going to new places.
Her first stop was China, where she spent three years teaching literature to English majors at a university in Hong Kong. She says the most influential lessons she taught were not about plot lines or character development, but about helping students learn to think for themselves.
“The first test I gave, I flunked them all. I asked a basic reading comprehension question and they each gave me a three- or four-line summary of the story. Things were going to be a little different in my class.”
Eventually, the students loved developing their critical analysis skills, and Eleanor saw some of the most brilliant students in her career pass through those classrooms.
She later taught at Hong Kong Baptist University for 17 years and after that spent time teaching in Fuz Hou on the east coast of China until 1989. That year the riots in Tiananmen Square caused students to boycott classes.
While Eleanor misses interacting with students, she admits she doesn’t have much time to miss teaching. She enjoys the new people she meets through her volunteer work and loves the opportunity to serve others. She considers it time well spent.