Devoted Fallon Awarded UC High’s Teacher of the Year

Maddie Williams, Staff Writer

   Associated Student Body (ASB) Advisor and English Teacher Donna Fallon is approaching twenty-one years of hard work in her teaching career and her years of dedication to the betterment of UC High have not gone unnoticed. For these reasons, Fallon has been voted as UC High’s Teacher of the Year for the 2020-2021 school year. 

   Fallon’s path to becoming a teacher was not direct. Originally Fallon wasn’t set on a career in education; rather, she thought that being a nurse suited her best. “I was in college for nursing…. I had many breaks during the times I was taking classes. That’s when I started to be involved with tutoring. Soon after, I found my hobby, working with teens,” Fallon said.

   As a high school teacher, Fallon most appreciates the relationships she makes with her students.  “Being a teacher has allowed me to appreciate getting to know my students. It’s one of the best relationships that you can have with teens,” Fallon explained. As a teacher of teens, she feels that she can help her students even after they leave the classroom. “My students are at the point where they are starting to face difficult decisions while holding onto their childhoods. It’s a very cool time in their lives that any adult has gone through and, as a teacher, I enjoy being able to help as much as I can,” Fallon said. As an exemplary instructor, Fallon’s teaching goes beyond the English curriculum. “I have to be a role model to my students, whether they see it or not. I still try to make sure I am representing myself. As a teacher I try to apply honesty, flexibility, and the need for communication with all my students,” Fallon said.  

   Fallon has taught almost every English class, AVID, ASB, and many other courses, but, no matter the class, she has been a helpful instructor to her students. Junior Callie Corbett, one of Fallon’s current students, said, “I have never been as confident with my ability to write as I am now, because I was a part of Mrs. Fallon’s class.” Corbett explained that she has admired how much work Fallon puts into her class, students, and the material she is teaching. “Even during this year’s circumstances, I couldn’t be more impressed with how she has made sure that her students are doing okay even outside of school,” Corbett concluded. 

   At times, teaching can be rough, and working with teens can be challenging. Every great teacher has had his or her doubts and struggles. Fallon knows that being a great teacher comes with a price, but she never backs down from going the extra mile. Fallon explained, “I’ve been told many times that I don’t stop for my students, and that I put the needs of others before my own. I think that part of carrying those qualities has allowed me to be very involved and dedicated; however, at times it has left me feeling tired. It comes with the cost of never saying no.”

   AVID Advisor and English Teacher Jennifer Huszar has known Fallon for years, and because of their careers, they have become very close. Huszar said, “Mrs. Fallon is one of the kindest, most encouraging people I know. She always makes me feel really good about myself when I talk to her. She is funny, and I enjoy laughing with her. We have a lot in common. I have really missed seeing her every day at school this year. She is one of the smartest, most hard-working teachers I know. Teacher of the Year is an honor bestowed upon a teacher by her peers, and Mrs. Fallon certainly has the respect and admiration of her fellow colleagues at UC High. She not only teaches in her content area, but she helps our whole school function better. All of us fellow teachers’ lives are easier because of the work she puts into ASB.”

   Huszar commended on Fallon’s preparedness and aptness in education: “As a teacher there are qualities each teacher carries. I think, most of all, I respect Mrs. Fallon’s openness and desire to teach new material and try new approaches. So many of us teachers become very comfortable with teaching the same lessons year in and year out. Mrs. Fallon is always eager to try new methods and technologies, and she is always trying to find the most topical material for her students. Plus, she is able to come up with really dynamic lessons and activities in a matter of minutes. She might hear a really interesting podcast on the way to school one day, and by the time she actually gets into her classroom, she has a lesson and activity created for the day. She is not afraid to change her plan at the last minute if it means engaging her students in a more interesting and meaningful activity. However, I think the most important thing that drives Mrs. Fallon to be a great teacher is that she cares,” Huszar stated. 

   Fallon has served UC High for decades, and her work is appreciated by staff and students alike. Her work ethic and compassion have made her a deserving Teacher of the Year.