Curt Constable’s Second Career

Curt Constable’s impressive résumé includes degrees in biology from American University and pharmacy from Long Island University. And he has proudly added a certificate from Westchester Community College (WCC) in teaching English as a second language (ESL), which he does at 2 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the White Plains Public Library.

Constable’s three decades as a pharmacist were highlighted by his 22-year ownership of Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy in Jamaica, Queens, where he grew up. “It thrived because we gave doctors and patients the personal attention that the chain pharmacies lacked,” he says. “What led me to sell in 2013 was that the increased use of online prescriptions took away part of the relationship. I liked to interact with people.”

Constable and wife Aida–a pharmacist working out of Hackensack, N.J., Medical Center–live in Hartsdale, and the sale of Medicine Cabinet meant no more 40-mile commutes and more time on his hands.  “I have retained my pharmacist’s license, but I wanted to do something new,” he says. “That led me to meeting White Plains Public Library assistant library director Kathy Degyansky, and my volunteering as an ESL teacher was the result. I have since helped people from China, Colombia, Mexico, Russia and Taiwan practice their English. It’s been rewarding to me and to them.”

The enthusiasm was why Constable enrolled in the Teaching English as a Second Language program at WCC. “It was an intensive 3½ months, and being a student again felt weird. But I learned how to plan curriculums, and student-teaching gave me the experience of leading a class.”

He used the teaching certificate to get a job at the EF International Language Center in Tarrytown. “I teach 15-18 hours a week to tuition-paying adults from countries that run the gamut from Brazil to Finland. I’m even helping Chinese students who need to be more proficient in English in order to teach Mandarin.”

Constable’s EF International students are professionals while most of those he sees at the Library are not. “The desire to get ahead and succeed is the same, and my being involved with a microcosm of America matches what I experienced as a pharmacist in Queens. With my pharmacist wife, our son in medical school and our daughter training to be a nurse practitioner, I’m thrilled about their careers–and about my second career.”

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