Become a role model in your school

Karen Falcon, head of faculty, humanities

From newly qualified teacher to head of faculty in just five years of teaching, Karen Falcon has enjoyed rapid career progression. Making the most of the opportunities and prospects that teaching offers, she was head of department for geography at The Toynbee School in Chandler’s Ford within two years of her NQT year.

“I couldn’t have made a better decision. I love the challenge of raising my standards as well as the school’s, and being a role model for other teachers in my department.” But Karen’s career didn’t stop there – during her fifth year of teaching, she received a promotion to head of humanities faculty, which is also the school’s specialism.

Karen believes that her promotion was a direct result of her own personal high standards: “I developed a reputation for delivering exceptional lessons and became an outstanding reflective practitioner. I also had a positive impact on each student, helping them develop and meet all areas of the curriculum and beyond. What got me noticed as a teacher were the improvements I made to the directional and strategic change of my school. I was recognised not only as a great teacher, but as a future leader.”

Naturally, the time Karen is in the classroom has been reduced as she’s taken on new responsibilities. She now spends time listening and talking to other teachers as well as line managing the three humanities departments, but still believes that her GCSE geography lessons with pupils is vital.

“As I have progressed, I do less teaching and more leadership and management. I believe it is necessary to still be involved in the classroom as I am still responsible for student attainment. Above all, you can’t develop a vision that staff can buy into and deliver if you are not fully involved in the school.”

Even with many of her career goals met through her quick ascension, Karen still finds plenty to be enthusiastic about and look forward to in teaching. “The best thing about teaching is the independence you have in your classroom to create an inspiring environment, and having a positive impact on students’ lives whilst engaging and motivating pupils in the subject I love to teach.”

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