Destin's Tami Carty is powering off the computer after more than 30 years in the classroom
After more than three decades in the classroom, Tami Carty will retire and shut down her computer at Destin Middle School at the end of May.
Carty has taught career and technology education at Destin Middle since 2002, and has loved every minute of it.
“I love it. The students are wonderful,” Carty said. “You know what they say about business ed teachers … they don’t leave their positions until they die or retire. That’s the way it is. We like what we do.
“Most of us stay in the classroom because we like to teach,” she added.
And after almost 20 years at DMS, she's retiring.
Carty, originally from Georgia, taught high school business education in Jasper, Florida, for 13 years before her husband, Tim, who is in the Air Force, was transferred to the area.
Carty looked for a job for more than a year when Alexis Tibbets, who was principal at Destin Middle at the time, hired her. She’s been in the position ever since.
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“I’ve loved every minute of it,” she said.
Grant Meyer, the current Destin principal, speaks highly of Carty.
“Through the use of computers, Mrs. Carty does a great job teaching her students highly relevant life-long skills,” Meyer said. “Whether it’s typing, coding or web design, Mrs. Carty’s students always produce quality work and represent excellence in the career and technical arena.”
Carty has seen a lot of changes over the years in the technology field.
“Actually, when I started teaching, we were just getting computers in the classroom,” she said.
At the time, she taught typing on typewriters, then moved up to teaching practical computer skills.
Today, she teaches students how to write programs and do coding for web pages, from beginners to advanced levels.
Sixth-graders start on the beginning level and then “it gets more intense as they move up,” she said.
At the intermediate level, the students learn how to create web pages.
However, when she started with students in computer classes, “it was like they were scared to touch the buttons. They were scared they were going to tear something up,” Carty said.
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“Now, the newer generation, the ones I’m teaching now, they don’t think twice about it.”
Computers are constantly changing. When she first started out with computers there was no Windows software and no mouse.
“I had to make myself make that jump from DOS base to Windows base. Now the kids can’t even imagine,” she said.
Carty said her first computer lab had IBM PS1s with two floppy disc drives.
Then they moved to hard drives.
“I’ve had to grow with it as well. That’s the reason I went into computer classes, because I knew I would always have to learn something new. And I like learning … I really do,” Carty said.
What has Carty liked best over the years?
“I like working with the students. I like teaching the students that that computer is a tool for them to use to further themselves educationally and career-wise and so forth. That’s what I stress,” she said.
Carty said she likes starting her beginner classes out with typing.
“I’m the old-timey typing teacher,” she said, noting that students need those skills to type faster and get their work done on time.
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Carty said she has had students come back over the years as well as received emails from students expressing appreciation for stressing typing.
“I didn’t understand why you were so strict about it, but I do now. I’m using it every day,” she said the students say.
“I always enjoy hearing from my students,” she said.
Advice for incoming teachers
First on her list of advice was “buy good shoes,” she said.
The floors in the classrooms are basically cement floors.
“When you walk on cement for 30 years, you are going to ruin your feet if you don’t invest the money and buy good shoes,” Carty said.
Next on her list, “make sure you draw that line. Don’t be a buddy. You’re not their buddy, you’re their teacher. Be kind, be gracious, but make sure the line is drawn.”
Thirdly, she said find a veteran teacher.
“You’ll need somebody who knows what’s going on to talk to," Carty said. "Find someone who knows the ins and outs and hook up with them.
“You need somebody who knows what's going on, and it could be as simple as where is the nearest copier … or how to order stuff,” she added.
What she will miss and the road ahead
After almost 20 years at Destin Middle, Carty said she’s going to miss her colleagues and students.
“I do enjoy being with them. … I enjoy helping people. I’m going to miss the camaraderie,” she said.
Up next for Carty, she hopes to do some traveling with her husband, Tim. She said she would like to visit every national park and even make a trip to Ireland.
“There’s just places we want to travel and see,” she said.
But she’s not completely done with teaching. She hopes come back and do some substituting at Destin Middle.