A Passion for Education: Mrs. Meyer’s story

Mrs. Karen Meyer is a new math teacher here at City High located in room 2022. She teaches Algebra I as well as Honors Algebra II and has previously taught in other schools, including West High.

How long have you been teaching altogether?

I taught internationally for six years and I taught at West High [starting in] 1995. However, I took some leaves of absence there. I’ve been a teacher for a long time, 25 years probably.

What are you looking forward to this year at City High?

Having [an] impact on kids, helping students really enjoy the beauty of math, and see that there are connections to it. [Math] helps us think clearly and make good decisions and the joy that you can have in feeling the satisfaction of understanding numbers and how they work in our world. Numbers are the oldest language in our world, so why wouldn’t we get excited about learning them?

How would you say the environment at City High is different from the environment at previous schools you’ve worked in?

Every school has its own unique personality and I think what’s really unique about City High, what I love about City High, is there’s a real strong message that’s being led by Mr. Bacon all the time. We’re Little Hawks. We care for each other, we take care of each other, we provide leadership for each other, we help each other, we lend a hand. We do our best and we are kind, it’s a message that’s repeated over and over again and I think that that’s a really good thing. There’s a strong leadership from the top trickles down to everybody below and that is really strong in this building.

What’s the reason for your change in schools?

I loved my job at West High, I absolutely loved it. But I was ready for a change, at the end of 18 months of the pandemic, there was going to be a lot of change in place, and so for me, I thought it’s time for change. I can see my house through those trees [in the back of the school], it’s super close, it’s really easy to get here. And the biggest thing, all four of my kids graduated, so now it’s safe for me to be here and I can just be Karen [Meyer] the teacher here, I’m not Karen [Meyer] the mom.

Have you only ever taught Algebra [2]?

I can teach any level, in my years of teaching I taught everything from Math Skills to AP BC Calculus. When I taught in Venezuela I taught in the International Baccalaureate program. So I taught what’s called IB math and I taught the higher level of IB math. I can teach any level of math, which I think is really beneficial. I understand how to work with students who don’t love numbers but hopefully help them to understand them. Math is, again, the oldest language in the world. It has an art form to it, it’s got a thing of beauty. When you start to understand math, it helps you in lots of ways, helps you be a better student.

How many countries have you taught in?

I taught in Venezuela, I taught in Switzerland, and I taught in what at that time was Czechoslovakia. We moved there in 1992 when it was Czechoslovakia, we were there from December 31 to January 1, when it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. So four countries, Venezuela, Czechoslovakia/Slovakia, Czech Republic, and then Switzerland.

When did you know you wanted to teach math? Did you ever switch career paths?

I also have a [masters] degree in history so I can teach history as well. I think that math is a topic that kids have poor experiences with, and I think it’s because we’re lacking the beauty and the joy that comes [with] it, and there’s a sort of joy in the discipline in it too. You feel good when you get the answer. It just feels like this sense of satisfaction and so I love teaching math because just watching kids have those aha moments and say, “Oh, I get that!”. I love talking about history, but there are great history teachers out there. I’d like to think I’m a good math teacher so I stay in the math world. When I was in Venezuela I was a part of a class there called Theory of Knowledge. I did a little bit [of history], I helped in their M.UN program, but I’ve always taught math. The math classroom is where I belong.

How long have you known you wanted to be a math teacher?

I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I went to college, but I had a math professor [in] my college calculus class. I turned in my first test and when he handed it back to me, he didn’t put anything on it except the comments and it basically said, “wow your work is really eloquent and super nice, and I thought, “You know what, how cool that he recognized this and didn’t nitpick it, and that he made it about the beauty of [math]. It inspired me and the more I thought about it, I knew I wanted to be an educator of some sorts, and then I realized I could do that for kids in math. I could do things to get [students] to love the joy of [math] and worry less about making mistakes.