*Originally published on our beta site April 1, 2020.
With the rapid growth in the amount of students within the North Polk school district, there needed to be an addition to staff to help keep up. This will be furthermore necessary going forward in order to ensure the best learning environment for North Polk students doing classes within the Spanish department
Kari Olsen has been one of these teachers hired in recent years, with the 2019-2020 school year being her second year at North Polk. Olsen lives in North Ankeny with her family, which includes her son Landon and her husband, who she spends the majority of her free time with. Prior to coming to North Polk, Olsen worked as a federal probation officer and crime scene investigator with a total of seven years in criminal justice. After this, Olsen went to Simpson College to become a teacher and eventually student-taught at Johnston, as well as some time spent teaching at Upper Iowa University. “I started teaching college classes, which got me into teaching. This led to getting a master’s degree in teaching,” Olsen said. “I like North Polk because it is close to home and a good-sized school for me.”
Olsen teaches Spanish 2 at the high school, as well as an exploratory level Spanish at North Polk’s middle school. In these two years, Olsen has found lots of enjoyment in teaching over past jobs finding it much more positive and fun compared to what her day-to-day job in criminal justice looked like. Olsen works at North Polk from 8 am to 4 pm, with somewhere around an hour outside of school once her son, Landon, goes to bed. “I think teaching is just so much more fun and rewarding compared to my previous job,” Olsen said. “I really just enjoy being a part of the students’ lives and watching them grow up.”
Although Olsen loves her new teaching job at North Polk and teaching Spanish, there is always something to change to make it even better. For Olsen, she is really looking forward to next year when she is adding DMACC Criminology to her teaching schedule.
“Being able to build relationships with my students is my favorite part of teaching,” Olsen states. “Seeing a light bulb go off in a student’s head just brings me so much joy, and teaching in general brings me joy everyday.”