Lois Medicus

After 30 years of teaching math at South Carroll High School, the end of the school year will be the last days of school for Lois Medicus. (Photo by Phil Grout / June 10, 2013)

When the school year ends on June 12, Lois Meticus, a math teacher at South Carroll High School, will return her overhead projector to the school's media center.

She doesn't think anyone else will ever check it out.

"I'm probably the only one using a projector anymore in my department," Meticus said. "We're not using ditto machines any more."

During her 30 years of teaching, Meticus has seen many changes at the school on Old Liberty Road in Sykesville. She has worked under five principals. She has seen the student population swell to 2,000 students. And she has taught in three classrooms — one without walls until three years ago.

"You could hear what was going on in three other classrooms," Meticus said, sitting at desk in her room in the G wing that has walls.

It also has a door, which she likes to keep open. "I like the invitation of an open door," she said.

There have been two years when she got little sleep. One year was when her mother had a stroke and she was at Johns Hopkins Hospital every night. The other year was when graphic calculators came into use, opening the door for statistics to become a high school class.

"I was teaching material to myself the night before," Meticus said. "It was the toughest class ever to prepare. It was a major change."

In the last 15 years, the county has redone its math sequence three times, and next year a new program — Common Core — will come into play. While she admits she is not an expert about it, it is a far cry from when she started and was given teacher guides to textbooks and told to cover the material with her students.

She will miss her students, in the classroom and out. She has been involved with the school's ski club program for years and has enjoyed the time immensely.

"I will miss very much interacting with the kids," Meticus said."It's why I stayed 30 years in the classroom."

"She's been a wonderful teacher ... who has done a good job working with students. Outside of school, she tutors, helps with the ski club and sporting events," said Jeff Hopkins, principal of South Carroll. "Basically, she's been a standout character teacher now for the past several years here at South Carroll."

She said her co-workers, especially her fellow math teachers, will be dearly missed.

"A lot of people I worked with very closely and care about," Meticus said. "When you spend that many days ... it almost becomes like a part of your being."

"We're going to miss her," a fellow teacher yelled from down the hall. "I've been trying to get her paperwork lost in the mail the last year."

She is worried that the school system is in trouble. Many teachers, she said, are going to other counties to work.

"We are in an area where it is not that much further to travel to Howard or Montgomery (counties)," Meticus said. "We have the lowest starting salaries in the state of Maryland. He (he superintendent) knows things are starting to shift, and it is not going to go well here in Carroll County."

She is leaving for personal reasons, to help her mother who is ailing and to help out with her family's business, a bus service that the school system uses to transport students to and from an event.

So she hopes to still be around schools a small bit by driving the bus.

"You may see me still down here," Meticus laughed. "My sister wants to bury me in the office doing math."