ST. CLOUD - After teaching at St. Cloud Tech High School for the past 45 years, Robert Boatz says he gets mail almost every day from former students.

Some of them in college may even reach out to him for help on a math problem.

"Sometimes it's just to catch up-sometimes they may be in college and need help with a problem. I have quite a few students who correspond with me, I'll probably have a letter or two when I get home tonight and I keep that correspondence going with students."

Boatz has taught nearly every math class at Tech High School and has taught calculus classes since the mid-90's. He no longer uses a textbook in class and writes his own curriculum.

Despite changes in classroom technology and material, Boatz says the biggest change he's noticed over his 45-years of teaching is that students are doing more work and are taking more advanced classes in high school.

"The students today are better students than their parents were, not every teacher would say that, but I'm teaching very good students. When I started teaching, pre-calculus was our top class at Tech-now we've got three classes at a higher level than pre-calc."

Boatz says he makes a point of always being honest to his students and gives them constructive feedback.

"I'll say things to them that aren't always complimentary and I've actually had students thank me for that later on, that it was a motivating thing for them to realize that their behavior wasn't what it should be."

After 45 years, Boatz says he's considered retirement but has no specific plan to stop anytime soon. He credits his love of teaching and great co-workers in the school for his longevity in the field.

Dan DeBaun, WJON