Larry Sirois leans against a bookshelf Thursday morning as he listens to a spirited discussion at the Maine School Administrative District offices in Turner. Sirois is teaching in a new adult education diploma program, continuing his nearly 54 years in the profession. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

TURNER — With a career spanning nearly 54 years, Larry Sirois has taught math most of his life.

Now a part-time adult education teacher in Maine School Administrative District 52, Sirois still enjoys teaching.

“I’d be bored stiff, I’m sure, if I didn’t have something,” the 75-year-old said. “I still feel like I’m being useful, and it keeps the ole mind still working.”

In 1970, the Rumford-native started teaching math at Walton School in Auburn and coaching cross country and track. In his second year, the district reconfigured schools so only ninth-grade students were taught at Walton.

Then, students from surrounding towns including Minot, Poland, Durham and Mechanic Falls attended the school.

“The kids liked it because they got to get some identity as a class, instead of falling in with all the upperclassmen and stuff,” he said. “They get to know each other. So I think it worked very well.”


08 Sep 1989, Fri Sun-Journal (Lewiston, Maine)

Some students smoked and drank, but drug use wasn’t a serious problem like it is today, he said. Because there were no computers or social media, bullying happened in person.

“At least it wasn’t online when they’re home, which is so much worse now,” he said.

Sirois enjoyed the small community feel of the school, which had 25 teachers. When the ninth grade was moved to Edward Little High School in 2000, he decided it was time to leave.

He took a teaching positions in MSAD 52’s adult education program, where he had previously taught summer school.

As an adult education teacher, Sirois encountered new challenges.


“In fact, I probably picked up more teaching (techniques) here,” he said.

Now, he teaches applied mathematics, like understanding taxes and percentages. For years, when MSAD 52’s adult education program enrolled immigrants – mostly Somalians – living in Lewiston, he also taught basic math.

Most were women, he remembers, some of whom had graduated from high school in their home country. Classes often had to be worked around their responsibilities as parents. Many had little experience with math, so Sirois had to adjust his teaching methods.

Sirois particularly enjoys teaching adult learners, who usually have more motivation, he said. His high school age students can be more difficult to teach.

“But it’s more rewarding, too, because we see them grow and grow and really turn around,” he said. “Their attitudes (become) much better, and they seem to have more goals and more idea what they want to do.”

Sirois’ health isn’t always the best, but for now he has no plans to retire.

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