For Anna Keyzer, it all adds up

Published 12:30 am Sunday, April 17, 2011

Anna Keyzer has always wanted to be a teacher, and she has never seen herself doing any else.

“I never had any other thoughts. It was going to be in high school, and I was going to be a math teacher,” Keyzer said.

Terra Ceia Christian School teacher Anna Keyzer (right) takes time to help a student with a math problem. (WDN Photo/Jurgen Boerema)

Keyzer graduated from Pungo Christian Academy in 1975 as the valedictorian of her class. She graduated from East Carolina University in 1979 and has been teaching consistently ever since.

Keyzer said the technology available to students in classrooms during the 1970s was vastly different.

“We didn’t have computers,” she said. “I spent $69 on my first calculator that plugged into the wall. It had just enough functions to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. It was just a regular one that you would spend $3 on now.”

The curriculum for becoming a math teacher was very structured for Keyzer. It involved two years of calculus, education classes, and classes on number theory.

“In secondary education, you major in math, and minor in education,” she said. “In elementary education, you major in education, and minor in a certain area. So the majority of my classes were all math.”

Keyzer completed her nine weeks of student teaching in her final semester of college at Farmville Central High School. She was with two other students who graduated with an education degree in mathematics.  Kayte O. Sowell, professor emeritus at East Carolina University, observed and evaluated Keyzer’s performance.

Keyzer’s current job is as a math teacher at Terra Ceia Christian School, where she is in her 26th year.

Keyzer commented on the changing educational needs of students.

“Eventually I think you are going to have a virtual classroom anyway,” she said. “You are going to be at your computer taking the class. You will be listening to someone teach you the class from somewhere else. This will affect the traditional model of schools. You will not have the social interaction of a regular high school. You will not have the traditional teacher-student relationship.”

At Terra Ceia, Keyzer and others are adapting. They have brought a SMART board into one of their classrooms. Students and faculty can view PowerPoint presentations and other software through a projector that is displayed on a board in the classroom. They are hoping to integrate this throughout the school.

Also those who use math as part of their career are going to have to become more creative.

“The time where we do everything in our head has passed,” Keyzer said. “You can be tutored in almost anything now. They have different tutoring programs that show you step by step what to do from step one to step five and give you examples. I used to have to do all the graphing on a piece of paper, whereas now you can do it on a calculator or on a computer that is up on the board. People will still have to learn the concepts, but the computer is going to enhance it.”

Keyzer and her husband had a dairy farm from the time she began her teaching career in the year 2000. After they sold the dairy, they began a catering business.

Keyzer has two daughters, Hillary, who is a sixth-grade teacher at Terra Ceia Christian School, and Andrea, who is working at the microbiology lab at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.