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Retirees say technology has changed teaching

By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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The four Del Oro High School teachers retiring this year have seen many changes over their decades-long careers. Although Chuck Gardner, Barbara Millhollen, Catherine Travers and Stephen Jones taught completely different subjects, they agree that technology is responsible for the biggest changes. And though looking forward to active retirement, they each said they will miss working with the kids, parents and their colleagues in the Del Oro community. Gardner has taught business education classes at Del Oro since 1973, when students used manual typewriters. Over the years, business machines progressed from electric then memory typewriters to several types of computers. This year, he taught freshman computer core classes, accounting I and II and teens and law ? pertaining to business, criminal and civil law for teenagers. ?When I started teaching I think students were more interested in learning salable skills and getting jobs right out of high school. Now students are more focused on getting into college,? he said. Gardner, who also coached cross country and football at Del Oro, plans to travel to the Track and Field Olympic Field Trial Championships in Oregon in June, then spend a year or so putting his house and property in Newcastle back in order. ?When you?re working, you don?t have the time to complete things correctly, so I?m going to focus on remodeling, fixing and yard work until I get tired of it, then find something else to do.? Millhollen, who taught drawing and photography this year, came to Del Oro in 1974 to teach ceramics and crafts. She has also taught art history, painting and graphic design. ?Kids are very savvy in technology now, they learn programs like PhotoShop really fast, compared to five years ago,? she said. ?With the difficulty of getting into college and all the AP classes, the higher achieving kids are being tested and pushed more, which I think is great.? She said while technology may have changed, the students haven?t. ?The language is probably worse and cell phones are out of control, but we still have a very respectful, enthusiastic group of kids who are wonderful to teach. I really encourage kids to think about going into teaching. You never look at the clock. It?s different every day.? she said. Millhollen lives in Newcastle, owns two horses, and intends to do some endurance riding, cycling and buy a season pass to Squaw Valley after retiring in June. ?I?m going hiking in Tibet with my friend, and I want to explore the Mojave Dessert when it?s not 120 degrees. And I might get another job,? Millhollen said. Catherine Travers will also retire in June after teaching Spanish and French at Del Oro for 21 years. ?Students change over the years, they?ve gotten very visual and we?ve had to shift our teaching and incorporate technology into our classrooms,? she said. Travers is looking forward to traveling in the off season and skiing during the week instead of weekends. Stephen Jones, who teaches government economics, U.S. history and study skills in Special Education will retire in December. He came to Del Oro 18 years ago to teach world studies and English. ?The biggest change in teaching is a lot more paper work now, which takes away from our time to teach,? he said. Jones plans to go hiking, camping and traveling after retiring. He also might do a little substitute teaching at Del Oro. ?I?ve enjoyed the 21 years I?ve been teaching and what I?ll miss most is working with the students and watching them learn and grow from their freshman to senior years. But I look forward to opening up another chapter in my life.?