Emily Dalglish

Teacher and leader in Learning Support, Emily Dalglish, shares her authentic stories from life in the classroom.

“Be open to collaboration and don’t be afraid to ask and accept help from your colleagues. We are all at school for the same purpose and many hands make light work.“

BTC: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?

I am a born and bred local girl of Mackay. My mum and dad both come from big families, so I was lucky to grow up with loving aunties, uncles and many wonderful cousins.

BTC: Tell us about why you became a teacher?

I became a teacher because I wanted to make an impact on the lives of children. I am creative and like to be on the move. No day is ever the same as teaching.

My mother was also very community-minded which showed me the importance of teachers in our society. She was very influential in my decisions in my career in education with the way she carried herself.

BTC: Talk us through your experience of being a teacher. What have been the biggest highlights? And the greatest challenges?

I’ve had many highlights and fulfilling moments across my 15 years of teaching.

My beginning years of teaching were out in Emerald and this time really helped to shape who I am today. The families out there were amazing, our school fairs were the best, the parents always wanted to help and get involved. I have such fond memories of that time, this was also where I met my husband! I loved my time as a Prep teacher we used to organise amazing excursions and fun days. Going to Sorbellos to learn how to make pizza and pasta was a highlight.

In my current roles, I love the vast range of students that I work with, they always make me smile and laugh. My biggest highlight is helping them with their growth mindset and developing their own self-belief. Part of this is getting involved in their interests, for example playing handball with them at lunch, coaching, or running club.

As for challenges, I am a person who really thrives on change, but change is not always easy. As teachers we are forever kept on our toes with the ever-changing curriculum, timetabling, staffing changes, and expectations. These are all challenges that are initially hard but then somehow we adapt and this makes us extremely resilient people.

BTC: Was there anyone in particular that inspired you to become a teacher and what was it about them that inspired you?

There were a few but one I’ll always remember was my year 7 teacher, Mrs. Wessel. She really understood her students and developed a great rapport with them, plus she made learning fun and interesting. As an adult, I have bumped into her from time to time and she is still the same bubbly person and remembers everything about our schooling!

BTC: As a teacher what are your funniest teaching stories?

Oh gosh, so many stories!! I used to teach year one with a pair of really fun and crazy ladies… dressing up as 100-year-olds was pretty funny. There was also a time when a student brought in a giant yellow carpet snake – now that was a funny experience! 

BTC: What are your tips for teachers in general?

Be open to collaboration and don’t be afraid to ask and accept help from your colleagues. We are all at school for the same purpose and many hands make light work.

BTC: What is one thing you wish you knew about pre-teaching?

Pick the brains of experienced teachers about behaviour management. It takes a few years to develop good behaviour management skills.

BTC: You are currently in a leadership role in your school in the area of Learning Support. What do you love about the role and what are some of the challenges you face in this role?

I adore the students I work with and all I want for them is to feel confident, believe in themselves, and feel a sense of achievement. I love the variety of students that I get to work with and enjoy seeing their little moments of success. I work with a wonderful team of teacher assistants with a range of beautiful personalities and skills. I am privileged to be able to witness a vast range of teaching styles every day and I enjoy working in partnership with classroom teachers to support their students.

BTC: As a leader/teacher what legacy do you feel you have created in your students and staff?

If there is one thing I really hope I inspire others to do is to put the students first, get to know their little personalities, and realise that every child has their own amazing superpowers.

BTC: You have 2 beautiful children can you tell us how important your family is to you? How did you juggle your job and your family? What are two important messages that you have hoped to instill in your children?

My family is my world. I’m yet to get the balance right but it pays to strive to be organised – a calendar, meal prep, chores… a really helpful husband is good to have too! Some days I still manage to forget little things or things don’t go to plan, the house isn’t always perfect, but I’ve learnt to be okay with that. Schedule after-hours work but switch off once that time is up, always do things as a family on the weekend.

Key Messages:

You can do anything that you put your mind to, don’t let anyone or anything stop you, you will have to work hard, you will get knocked down but just keep getting up and trying again. Be your best self.

Be kind to everyone you meet. Love.

BTC: What motivates you now?

My purpose is to make a difference in the lives of others, especially in education.

Providing for my family.

Striving to live my best life.

BTC: Do you make time for self-care? What do you do to look after yourself?

Yes! I love to run and go to the gym. My exercise is my sanity.

BTC: What do you do to unwind and relax? Is there a favourite place to go to unwind?

I love drinking really good quality coffee and going to the beach.

BTC: Emily you have completed the coaching, retreat day, and series with Beyond the Classroom what are your key take away from being part of BTC?

Strategies for coming up with the best solutions to challenging situations in a positive light. These can be used for me and also passed onto colleagues and students.

How to stretch and then achieve your goals. The realisation that we are capable of so much more than our mind knows.

The opportunity to collaborate with like-minded colleagues from all walks of life.

How to work towards balance and calm in my everyday life.

BTC: Finally, what is the next step for you?

In the near future, I plan on perusing some extra study and I will be undertaking the course that I’ve chosen with two of my friends with whom I studied teaching.