Interview with Karen Podell

Major

Business

Current Position

Business Technology HS Teacher

GC Graduation Year

1995


Why or how did you choose your field? Were there specific experiences that influenced you?

I worked as an administrative assistant for more than 17 years before I decided to pursue a degree. I was a school secretary for six of those years. I enjoyed the high school atmosphere so much that when I decided to pursue further education, teaching business education and technology was a natural career path. I also had two young children and teaching fit very well into my parenting schedule.

What’s exciting about your job or field?

Every day is an adventure! No two days are the same. High school students are at such an exciting place in their lives; it is a pleasure to work with them and help them build successful futures. Teaching also involves a lot of study and learning for the teacher, especially in the business field. Business and technology are constantly changing and business and technology teachers need to do constant reading and research to keep up.

What has been a challenge in your career journey?

The rapid change of the business technology field has also been one of the greatest challenges in my career. It takes constant effort to keep current. Learning how to reach and motivate uninterested students is the biggest challenge I have with my students.

Looking back, would you do anything differently?

I would have pursued my master’s degree in my content area instead of in secondary education. In order to teach dual credit classes, many colleges insist on a master’s degree in the subject area. Current education reforms in Indiana place an emphasis on dual credit curriculums.

How did your liberal arts education assist you in your journey?

My liberal arts education prepared me well for the challenges of teaching a diverse student population through exposure to many different ideas and cultures.

Did anyone offer you some memorable advice that you’d like to pass on? Or…what advice would you give to a young person just starting out?

The learning curve can be steep when you are beginning as a teacher. In my first year I considered giving up and working in the business world instead, but I stuck with it, and I’m so glad I did. I’m now in my fifteenth year of teaching and I truly enjoy it. Stick with it; it will get easier as you gain classroom management skills.