A LOT changed in the world during Denis Haynes’ 38 years as an educator.
Well-known for his fondness of Monty Python in his 19 years as Albury High School’s head of English, Mr Haynes was adamant one thing still was the same.
“I don’t think kids have changed that much,” he said.
“Good kids are still good kids – and there’s plenty of them.”
A popular figure in the hallways (“part of the furniture” as he put it), Mr Haynes retired last Friday, with the school’s announcement of his departure drawing thanks from droves of past students on social media.
After getting his start with a teacher’s scholarship after completing year 12 in 1976, he arrived at Albury High in 1999, and found himself at home.
A strong English student, Mr Haynes initially taught history as well, before taking up the head position in the Albury High faculty.
He placed particular emphasis on teaching students to interpret and express their ideas properly.
“English is for everyone, it underpins most of what people do in some way or another, regardless of what area they go into,” Mr Haynes said.
“It’s all about ideas, representing the way people think and feel about things.
“Obviously language and literacy are important, but it’s more about being able to express yourself, as well as take in what others see of the world.”
Technology has shaped much of the current generation’s approach to language, something Mr Haynes approached with wariness and optimism in equal measure.
Regardless of what happens, he said the skills of communication, as well as the lessons of the great 20th century novels, would continue to have value in the future.
“I don’t subscribe to the theory that things were better in the old days, that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
“Things are getting better all the time, and kids are still getting great opportunities.
“Technology has been a big change, but the skills that were important when I started are still important.
“There’s a place for Shakespeare, the 20th century novel, Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Australian writers like Tim Winton.
“Kids still respond to them and are interested in them.”