Keisters retired from Riverside, Webster

PLYMOUTH — After spending more than 30 years teaching, Jim and Linda Keister of Plymouth find that they have a busy social season.
“We get invited to a lot of open houses,” said Jim, smiling.
The couple met when they were both teaching at Webster Elementary School in Plymouth, where Linda spent 22 years, and Jim 28 years before moving on to Riverside Elementary.
A twist in Linda’s career came in 1987, when she prepared to return to teaching after a six-year break to have children. While she was gone, computers had been put into the school.
“That’s when I heard about computers being in the classroom,” said Linda. “I was afraid I wouldn’t get a job. But that’s when they had a computer lab and you only went for a half hour.”
Now that computers are more integrated into schools Linda said she believes in balance between technology and experience. Younger teachers can help with technology, she said, while more experienced teachers can impart their knowledge and wisdom.
“You have to have a nice combination — find a way to integrate it all together” said Linda. “Plymouth is doing a really good job trying to do that.”
Jim said that while he appreciates some aspects of technology in the classroom, he is concerned that it could affect student’s communication skills.
“In a way it makes it easier with grades,” said Jim. “Technology is good, there’s a place for it, but I hope kids are still able to communicate with their teacher.”
Both Keisters said that over the years, their students haven’t changed that much.
“Kids are kids,” said Jim, smiling. “I can honestly say in 35 years all the students I had were great kids, just some days they didn’t do their personal best.”
Linda said that it is always rewarding when she has the opportunity to teach her former student’s children. She said that she knows a former student of her husband when a grown man or woman approaches him and calls him “Mr. Keister.”
Although the Keisters retired at the end of the 2011 school year, they both admit that they probably won’t be able to stay away from their schools for long. Jim, who developed an athletic program at Riverside Elementary, plans on staying available if his help is ever needed. He is currently enjoying landscaping for Swan Lake and on his own. Jim also will use his extra time to take care of his aging parents.
Linda is busy planning her daughter’s wedding, which will be in November, but she also plans to substitute teach eventually.
“We’re retired but we still have (teaching) in our blood,” said Linda.
Jim nodded in agreement.
“We will be involved in the schools,” he added.