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After nearly 3 decades, teacher departs intending to travel

By Gabriela Todaro

After teaching for 28 years, Math teacher Christine Karmen has decided to retire. Karmen teaches Geometry Honors, Algebra 2 Prep, Finite Math and Math 3.

Karmen said that she wants students to be more positive about making mistakes and talking about themselves in general.

Fellow math teacher Stephanie Goupil has worked with Karmen for all 18 years she’s been at Winnacunnet. Goupil described fellow math teacher Karmen as an expert Math teacher with deep mathematical knowledge and knows how to explain complex concepts to students.

“She wants to spread her love of mathematics as much as possible and she values mathematical conversation in the classroom,” Goupil said. “Mrs. Karmen motivates her students and helps them to succeed. She is incredibly giving and thoughtful, helping whenever she can.”

Karmen pauses while teaching a geometry class -Courtesy photo/Caitlyn Koutalidis

Gabrielle Borden is an English teacher here at Winnacunnet and she also had Karmen as a teacher when she took Geometry her sophomore year at Portsmouth High School. Borden said it was really cool to come to a school and work alongside someone that she had as a teacher.

“I have so much respect for her as an educator. She had such a long lasting impression on me but I think what was fun to discover was the impact that I had on her as a student,” Borden said. “Very early in my career she came down one day to show me a paper of all things that I wrote for her in geometry, she kept it. I think that says a lot about an educator that they hold onto things that kids have done”

Karmen has learned many things throughout her time teaching. She said that people should connect on many different levels with students, colleagues and administrators.

“It's much more of a positive environment when you have that connection with the kids, not just student-teacher. There's a lot more going on and then it can be a lot more fun and it's not so cut and dry,” Karmen said. “Those are mistakes I made in the past. Like let's take a step back and let's change the atmosphere and charge it in a different way.”

Borden said that Karmen has left behind a lot with her after being her student and then working alongside her for 17 years.

“I think Karmen really values her time in other aspects of her life whether that is being in her garden or being with her daughter and she really puts family first,” Borden said. “I love my students and I know she loves her students as well but I think that for our own mental health and wellbeing as educators we need to find avenues to be happy and successful outside of this building and that's definitely a lesson that I will take with me.”

Goupil said she has learned many things from Karmen and her time here. She said they have worked in so many classes over the years but most recently Geometry Honors and Algebra 2 Prep. Goupil said Karmen taught her things like not going too fast in prep level classes to make sure everyone understands before moving on, and to challenge students in Geometry Honors and teach them that it’s okay to struggle and work on harder topics.

“Karmen is a strong educator who knows what she wants her students to learn from her. She holds them to a high standard with a firm but a kind hand,” Borden said. “That's something that I pride in myself and that's definitely something that I learned from her when I was her student and working alongside her. That probably the biggest lesson i learned from her is holding high standards for your students but also providing them the opportunity to reach it, which is so important”

Karmen said that her favorite thing about her time at WHS is the opportunity to live in the community that she teaches in. She said it has been so much fun and it hasn’t been a negative thing.

“I also feel very blessed that I was a teacher in the school that my daughter went to and graduated from,” Karmen said.

Karmen said that she plans to sell her house after she retires. She said wanted to travel around a bit and go to a few conferences. In the near future Karmen is set to chaperone the Senior Banquet.

“I am the class adviser for the senior class and we always invite the retirees to the senior banquet and we invited Karmen and she's accepted to come,” Borden said. “I’m selfishly really excited and honored that she'll be there because I'm glad to be able to sit next to her while she prepares to leave Winnacunnet and move on to bigger and better things.”

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