Your Name: Karen Prout
Job Title: Head of Sixth Form at Harrow International School Bangkok
What is your nationality and background?
I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland, and I studied at the University of Edinburgh and then taught in north London for a number of years until my husband and I moved abroad to teach. Having taught internationally in the Middle East for 10 years, we have lived, raised a family and worked in Thailand for over 9 years. As a geographer I love traveling and living in Asia (it’s a lot warmer than Scotland).
What is your profession?
I am currently the Head of Sixth Form at Harrow Bangkok. I am also an A Level Geography teacher.
What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?
My role involves overseeing the academic and pastoral welfare of the 200 students in our Sixth Form who are aged between 16 to 18 years old, studying A Levels for entry to university. I support students with their university applications, university guidance and support them in developing leadership skills and independence in preparation for university. Working with 16 to 18 year olds is incredibly rewarding although you do need patience, lots of energy and a commitment to long working hours beyond the normal school day.
How did you get involved in your profession?
Teaching is a vocation. I come from a family of teachers and grew up around teachers discussing politics, education and learning at home. I love learning new things and teaching enables me to keep abreast of my interests in current affairs, politics and economic development. I became a teacher because I loved my subject and once I trained as a teacher after my undergraduate degree I was hooked. I still love my teaching 24 years later.
How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?
I believe I am part of the process of helping students to succeed academically and personally and enable them to move onto the next stage of their life at university and the workplace. I hope they look back on their school days in the Sixth Form with affection having made lasting memories of friendship and support.
What challenges do your face in this role?
You cannot never achieve perfection in teaching as you always improve that lesson, give someone more time to listen and therefore accepting the limits of time.
What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
Happy and successful young adults who achieve to their full potential and go into the world prepared and excited to affect positive change.
Who or what inspires you?
Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook. I read her book Lean In a few years ago and found her ideas of leadership in the workplace inspiring and it led me to start my MA in Leadership and Management. I often buy copies for work colleagues and friends.
“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.” (Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
Only a Bangkok local would know…
Egg Custard tarts from Ka-Nom in Siam Paragon – introduced to me by some of my Thai students a few ago – yummy!