THORNDIKE — Craig Tozier’s career in education spans over 45 years. Recently he was recognized for his 35 years of service at Mount View High School.

“It’s hard to believe time has gone this fast,” he said, “It seems like yesterday I started teaching.”

Born in Unity, Tozier calls himself a “local guy.” He raised his children there and they attended Mount View. His career in education began in 1975, when he was a student-teacher at Erskine Academy. He was hired full-time after the teacher he was working with left for medical reasons. He taught at Erskine for three years before taking on the role of academic dean and head of accounting at Beal College from 1980 until 1986.

That year Tozier was hired as a business teacher at Mount View High School teaching business math, accounting, business law and typing, which he noted is now called “keyboarding.”

Over the years his position evolved, so that now he instructs students in computerized accounting, and also teaches three different computer programming languages, including C++, Python and Basic.

He also teaches HyperText Markup Language and Dreamweaver for web design, an introductory computer programming class, and Google suite applications. “I try to get kids interested in computer science,” he said.

For Tozier, keyboarding led to word processing, in which he remembers needing specific commands to make the program work properly. “That was one of the things that led me to computer programming.” In the early days of computer programming, back in the ’70s, Tozier said, “things were a little different.”

“We had one terminal at Husson University back in 1972, to write our programs on. This terminal was connected by a phone line to Dartmouth College and we had half-hour slots, 24 hours a day, to go in and use this one terminal. My slot could be at 3 a.m. so I had to set my alarm to walk across campus to run my programs.”

Tozier said he has taught on everything from TRS-80s made by RadioShack to Macs, to Windows machines, which he said he prefers just because he uses them more now.

The biggest challenge he has faced, he said, has been the new demands placed on teachers during the pandemic. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life.” Keeping up with remote learners and in-person students simultaneously is not easy, he said.

And trying to support remote learners is difficult, Tozier said, because not everyone had the best internet connection. “From one day to the next,” he said, “you would not know if a child was going to be there or not. They didn’t teach that in college.”

This year, he said, remote learning will not be as much of a shock, having done it last year. “If they told me I’m going remote tomorrow, I’d be fine with it,” Tozier said. “I wouldn’t like it,  but it would certainly be something I’ve done before.”

Tozier said students back when he first started teaching were not served as well as they are today. There are more support systems now, be it special education or counseling, so that students are not left behind.

“There are also a lot more distractions in today’s world,” he said. “Forty-five years ago there was no internet or gaming and students were more school-centered. It was one of the few places to socialize. Now in today’s world through social media, they don’t need us — which is too bad.”

Tozier said he has also seen a drop in participation in sports and other activities, along with declining enrollment. “When I first came here in ’86, enrollment was around 600 (students),” he said. “Today we are around 300 (for 10th through 12th grades). It’s roughly half the population of when I started. The staff has also diminished, because we don’t have the students. It’s certainly a smaller place, student- and staff-wise.”

As far as memorable moments, Tozier recalls his first year as a teacher at Mount View, when the boys basketball team won the state championship and the girls team won regionals that year as well.

He also remembers the move to the new facility in 2009 as a big deal. “Mount View was on the list for a new school for many years, and when we finally got the nod, it took a couple years to complete,” he said. The old building had many problems, he said, including asbestos, ventilation, and physical space limitations for students, staff and classrooms.

Trailers were used as temporary classrooms and Tozier remembers that kids had to walk outside to get to classes. “On a rainy day, it wasn’t much fun,” he said.

Another indelible teaching date, he said, was Sept. 11, 2001. “I remember that day, and where I was,” he said, “My oldest son was a sophomore in college in Rhode Island, and I just remember being concerned, not knowing what was going on. It seemed like the world was falling apart.

“I was teaching class, back in those days there weren’t a lot of TVs. You had to sign them out ahead of time from the library. Some teachers were going around telling people what was going on. It was kind of a scary time.”

Besides teaching computer science, Tozier is also a member of the leadership team, varsity golf coach, adviser for the yearbook, for the class of 2023, graduation adviser, and the project graduation adviser.

“I’ve been the yearbook adviser since I got here,” Tozier said. “I was the yearbook editor for my college yearbook. It’s a skill I’ve carried on since college.”

As an added bonus, his son Jordan also works at Mount View High School as a school resource officer, Tozier said, after teaching at the middle and high school for several years. It is nice to be able to have lunch together, he added.

Tozier did not hesitate to say that students were the number-one reason he enjoys teaching at Mount View and one of reasons he has been there for as long as he has. “…They are great to work with. I just enjoy them,” he said.

Also recognized for their service in RSU 3: Kristi Braley, 20 years’ service, Mount View Elementary; Jodi Dupuy, 20 years’ service, Morse, Monroe, Troy, Walker; Marilyn Mitchell, 20 years’ service, Morse, Monroe, Troy; Donna Driscoll, 15 years’ service, Mount View High School; Trish Heard, 15 years’ service, Mount View Middle School; Laureen Libby, 15 years’ service, Mount View Elementary, Mount View Middle School, Mount View High School; Deb Faulkner, 15 years’ service, Mount View High School; Richard Fischbeck, 15 years’ service, Mount View High School; and Maria King, 15 years’ service, Morse Memorial School.