Long-time teacher enjoys subject, students
June 1, 2011 • Bre'Ana Strong, Weekly Editor
Filed under Teacher Highlight
Sit in Spanish teacher Duane Millar’s class and you will see a man full of energy and excitement. Being a teacher is one of his life’s passions. Teaching for 29 years proves that Mr. Millar has dedication and a zeal for teaching young people.
“I taught in Cleveland for three years, then I moved to Howell where I’ve been for 26 years” Mr. Millar said.
With being a teacher for almost thirty years, Mr. Millar has had a lot of good memories. He has taught over 7,000 students so far and he does not plan on stopping anytime soon. “I’ve always wanted to work with young people. I enjoy kids, kids are fun, and kids are for real.” Mr. Millar said with a slight chuckle.
Having a good sense of humor is a quality that a teacher must possess to keep students engaged. A teacher who has fun with his subject and teaches it in a way that students enjoy causes them to want to learn. Mr. Millar does just that.
Howell High School Spanish student, Alex Dhaenens, had nothing but good things to say about him.
“Mr. Millar is an extremely outgoing and carefree person,” she said. “He strives to teach us the language but he makes the learning process more fun. Millar gave my class and me more freedom to learn in the way that was best for us. I really liked that because not everyone learns the same way. He was good at focusing on the individual attention for anyone that needed it.”
Mr. Millar has dedicated his life to Spanish. Whether he is in school or at home Mr. Millar incorporates everything he knows about Spanish into real life. He bakes foods that are from Spain, he speaks in Spanish on and off school grounds, and he has traveled to 11 Spanish speaking countries. When asked to describe himself in one word, Mr. Millar described himself as persistent.
“I am dedicated; I have the ability to overcome obstacles,” he said. “If you get knocked down, you get up and go for some more.”
With having the “never give up” attitude, Mr. Millar has accomplished things in his life that most people don’t know.
“I was a 16 year track coach,” he said with a smile on his face. “I coached some of the record holders for Howell high school in track & field between 1986 and 2002. After resigning as the track coach in 2002 I got a USSF coaching license to be able to coach soccer.”
In 2009, Mr. Millar and his first hour Spanish III class organized a can drive to help Haiti recover from a devastating earthquake. He and his students raised $1,000 to send over supplies and food. With the goal of $1,000 reached, Mr. Millar promised to shave his head, and he did. He helped a country in need and got his students involved in something bigger than just a Spanish class. It is not just about the language. Rather, it is about the customs the people have and how different people live when speaking different languages.
Most people only know Mr. Millar as the wild, wacky and wonderful Spanish teacher but he is so much more. He is a coach, a father, a husband, a traveler, a cook, a Latin percussion player, and, perhaps most importantly, a Howell teacher.
“Howell is the heartland.” Mr. Millar said. “I plan to stay in Howell as long as I can. I will always be available to any students. If they want to stop by and chat, I’m always available in room L-8,” Mr. Millar said.
“When in doubt I use my battle cry. ¡Anímate ! and ¡A la lucha!” said Mr. Millar. Translated: ‘Get up! Onward to the struggle!’ He is excited about who he has become and what the future holds for him. Mr. Millar is not just a teacher in school, but a teacher in life.