Miller moves on
Not all retirees have the same story. Some end their careers excited, ready to take on a new life. Some end their careers with heavy hearts, wishing they could go through just one more day at work. Some end their careers without plans for their next step. And most end their careers, leaving behind an impact on many that will last an entire lifetime.
Max Miller, La Porte High School English teacher, has been teaching and making a difference on the lives of students since 1980. Through his 39 years of teaching, Miller has taught a variety of English classes, ranging from freshmen classes all the way to senior courses.
Miller has not taken the “typical” path to retirement. During the final trimester of the 2017-2018 school year, both Miller and his wife became ill, and he was unable to finish the remainder of the school year. Returning to work at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, Miller was able to fall back into the swing of things, and he was able to carry on his friendships with co-workers and yet again create strong relationships with students.
“Having a teacher who truly cares about me and the person I am becoming is refreshing. He’s a man who genuinely enjoys what he does and cares for his students and their endeavors,” Elisabeth Novak, senior, said.
Though still not in perfect health, Miller continued coming to school with high spirits and a friendly heart. Shortly after the beginning of the second semester, Miller made the decision to take time off to spend time with his wife who was still ill.
Miller had not yet made the decision to retire, but after the unfortunate passing of his wife, he determined that the time was right. Miller has decided to allow a substitute teacher to finish the school year for him, and LPHS will have the impossible job of hiring somebody new to fill his position at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Throughout his time at LPHS, Miller has taken on many roles outside of his classroom, including junior and senior class sponsor. Miller also held coaching positions over the years, and between coaching both boys’ and girls’ basketball, freshmen football, and middle school track, Miller has found himself an important and well-respected position in the community.
“Max and I go back a lot ways. Coaching basketball together was extremely memorable. He is a huge supporter of public education and an incredible teacher and father,” Mrs. Lebo, LPHS art teacher, said.
As known by many of his students, Miller has a close connection with his cat, Sally. Though he is not certain that Sally would get along with another cat, Miller finds adopting another to be an interest in his retirement plans. As he looks forward to the upcoming years, he plans to do some short traveling to see his family in other areas, and he hopes to continue engaging in his love for education.
“I’ll probably do some subbing and some reading. I love my sports histories, so I’ll definitely do some reading. I may write, but I don’t know. I’ll see my daughters more, too,” Miller said.
While he is happy to be able to explore a world outside of his career, Miller has learned a handful of things during his time at LPHS.
“In 39 years, you learn a lot. I’ve learned things that are not necessarily unique to La Porte High School, but they are unique to teaching probably. You have to have a certain amount of patience, and you have to be able to communicate to your students. There are so many things that students need to learn and so many things I need to teach that are not related to a test score,” Miller said.
Due to his time at LPHS being over, and his career already being ended, Miller has not given a formal “goodbye” to his students. Though sometimes appearing formidable, Miller has chosen to use a quote from his favorite taught piece of literature, Fahrenheit 451, to provide his students with a piece of advice for their future.
“In the book, they say ‘Few want to be rebels anymore,’ but sometimes people need to be rebels. Now that doesn’t mean you go out and burn down houses and physically assault people or anything like that, but there’s a right way to be rebellious,” Miller said.
LPHS is sad to see Miller leave for good, but he can head into retirement knowing his impact can never be measured. He is truly one of the great ones.
“Mrs. Cooper and I love the book To Kill a Mockingbird, especially the character Atticus Finch because he was full of character and always did the right thing even if he had to stand alone. Mr. Miller is our real life Atticus Finch, and the world is better because he is in it,” Miss Parker, English teacher, said.