We are pleased to celebrate some of the many examples of staff excellence in Bluewater District School Board with our new alumni profile feature! This week, we highlight some of our former graduates whose career pathways have led them back to Bluewater to serve another generation of local students and families.
Name: Avis Dalgarno
Current position: English as a Second Language (ESL)/English Literacy Development (ELD) System Lead Teacher, Bluewater District School Board Education Centre
What Bluewater school(s) did you attend as a student? SS# 3 South Line, Kincardine (one room country school), Kincardine District High (now Secondary) School (Bruce County Board)
What year did you graduate from Bluewater? 1970
Please provide a brief summary of the career pathways (e.g. post-secondary studies and subsequent employment) you pursued after graduating from Bluewater.
- 1970 – 1972: University of Waterloo
- 1972 – 1973: Stratford Teachers' College
- Kincardine Township-Tiverton Public School: Grade 1/2, two years
- CUSO volunteer for three years in Nigeria, teaching secondary teachers' college, English, and teaching methods
- 1978 – 1980: University of Toronto - completed degree in linguistics, Teachers of English as a Second Language (TESL) one year certificate
- World University Service of Canada (WUSC) co-operant for two years in Nigeria, teaching secondary teachers' college, English, and teaching methods
- Part -time English language teacher to adults and university students at Algonquin College and University of Ottawa
- 1985 – 1988: worked with the federal government in Indian and Northern Affairs, teaching Kindergarten – Grade 3 students on reserves in northern Ontario
- 1991 – 1997: taught elementary classes (Grade 2, 3, 4) at an international school in Zambia; also started an international school
- 1998 – 2002: Bluewater District School Board part-time teaching at Elgin Market Public School and W.E Thompson Public School; Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario union executive and president
- 2002 – 2006: Solomon Islands, South Pacific
- 2006 – 2010: returned to Bluewater to teach Grade 4/5 at Huron Heights Public School
- 2010 – 2014: taught for one year in Kuwait, and three years in the United Arab Emirates
- 2014 – present: in current role
What has been your greatest career achievement thus far?
A great achievement has been the opportunity to participate in multiple teaching experiences around Ontario and globally with multiple curricula, country education systems, some government and some international, and working alongside colleagues from many countries. Beginning an international school in Lusaka, Zambia, which continues as a successful school today, is something that I also consider to be a great achievement. I am also proud of my current role assisting teachers in Bluewater by developing awareness, protocols, support, and understanding about ESL and ELD programming for English Language Learners (ELLs).
How has your education in Bluewater prepared you for your career pathway?
My 1960s one room country school developed a love of language, reading, and a strong understanding of English, along with the grammatical structure of the language. This made my linguistics studies somewhat easier, and moved me to appreciate teaching English to people who were adding English as a language for many different purposes.