Five Minutes of Fame with Lucy McAllister

Lucy McAllister is Assistant Head in Senior School at Dulwich College (Singapore) and has been at the College for the past two years. Here, she shares more about her hidden equestrian talent, a love of Jane Austen's literature and why Coco Chanel would be invited to her dream dinner party!

Where else in the world have you lived?

The UK and Hong Kong.

Tell us about your family.

I grew up in East Yorkshire, UK and my parents still live there. I'm very lucky to have encouraging and supportive parents who have given me quite a lot of freedom to make choices, mistakes (learn from these) and grow as a person. My younger brother lives with his wife near Banff in Alberta, Canada which I think is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world! I'm married to Martin who also works in Dulwich College (Singapore) and we have William who is in Nursery.

What's your favourite weekend activity in Singapore?

My weekends are taken up with entertaining a three-year old! This tends to involve water or nature parks, playgrounds, the library and the swimming pool!

Did you always want to be a teacher?

Yes, I think it's always suited me and if you ask my school friends, I think they'd agree that this was always going to be a good path for me.

What is your favourite book and who is your favourite author?

Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Possibly a little cliché but I love how the themes are timeless.

My favourite book is The Kite Runner. I read this in my early 20s and I remember it standing out as a book that opened my eyes to the wider world. I found it very upsetting and it takes you on a journey of despair and then hope.

Tell us about a hidden talent or top secret that no-one would know about you.

Growing up in an agricultural area meant that I was horse mad as a teenager! I spent much of my time at the stables and I was pretty good at constructing elaborate jumping courses. I was always very enthusiastic about these; my aging horse much less so! My life in Singapore is very different to this so I guess that would be a secret or something people might not expect of me.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive?

Amy Johnson - My husband is from Hull so I know about her through him. She was a pilot in the 1930s and set many long-distance records. Her story is one of determination and she's a great female role model.

Coco Chanel - I love her iconic and timeless style. Her story is also really interesting.

LS Lowry - I spent three years teaching in Lancashire, UK and spent some time at The Lowry. I've always been interested in the landscape of industrial areas, particularly those that have been regenerated so I find his depictions of chimney stacks and factories really interesting.

Titus Salt - Many of my family live in West Yorkshire and as such, I'm familiar with Titus Salt. He built Salt Mill, a wool factory near Bradford, West Yorkshire and provided housing and services for his workers and greatly improved the quality of life for factory workers in the 1850s.

Steve Carrell - This is looking like a very serious dinner party so as a huge fan of the US Office, this would be a good addition.

What does a typical day at the College look like for you?

I'm used to being in the classroom all day, so my new role in Senior School means I'm in lots of meetings! I'm really enjoying having the opportunity to go into lots of different lessons across the school and speak to students about their learning. I love teaching Geography and I am enjoying teaching Global Skills, which is extremely varied.

Do you have a motto or saying that really resonates with you?

I definitely believe in working hard and having the confidence to take risks. If things don’t work out, it's a lesson learnt. My dad always reminds me that all experiences (the good, the bad and the ugly) are "all part of growing up" and I find this helpful.

Do you have a most memorable teacher moment?

One that comes to mind is an embarrassing one. Whilst doing geography fieldwork on the coast in the UK, I was in the middle of an explanation of something when a seagull flew by and pooped on my head! Obviously, my group of students declared this the best field trip ever and were actually crying with laughter. I had to resort to wearing a hat for the rest of the day!