September 12th, 2019

The Focus is You: Katrina Gundling and a Mud Hut

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The Focus is You will now occur just once a month. We have other exciting things to share with you on Thursdays, like our new, free special reports, so we have to make room for all the events that are happening in the Faculty Focus world! Be on the lookout to support your Faculty Focus friends once a month and learn more about what they’re doing in the classroom.

This month, we got to know Katrina Gundling, BS, CphT, Ph TR, pharmacy technician coordinator and instructor from Vernon college. From living in mud huts to being an instructor, she’s lived an interesting life with a lot of wisdom from it!

What would your students be surprised to find out about you?

Gundling: That I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa.  I was a rural health educator, and I lived in a mud hut in the village of Sokorodougou: no electricity, no cell phone (or phones), only well water, and my only means of transportation was a bike and waiting for a bus that would come every two days.  

What constitutes as a ‘good day’ at school?

G: As a teacher, a good day at school is when the students actively participate and enjoy the learning process.  It is a good day when they learn and retain the material.  I love to be questioned, and I love it when one question will lead to more questions.

If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?

G: If you are lost or scared, or do not know what is going on, ask questions.  Communication is very important. We don’t know what we don’t know, talk to us, and give yourself a break. Sometimes we have off days and even off weeks.

What is the hardest thing about being a teacher? 

G: For me, it is not being able to reach every student.  The students I lose in class will always affect me the hardest, but I need to keep in mind that this might not have been the right time for them to be successful students.

What accomplishment fills you with the most pride in your teaching career?

G: As an instructor of a career and technical program, it is always great to have new students tell me that they had a friend or relative take the program and that they recommended my program to them; saying how much they learned from me.

If you could give your ‘first year of teaching-self’ advice, what would it be?

Always have a back-up plan for your back-up plan, and if nothing goes as you plan, it will be okay.  Just be honest with your students and sometimes the best learning can come out of reorganizing your content.