An Interview with Ms. Dalton

Ayah Yusuf, Writer

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I had the absolute pleasure of talking with one of our new math teachers and my current advisor (this is important, it comes up later): Ms. Dalton. I absolutely loved talking to her and getting to know a bit more about her, and if you’re interested too, here’s how our conversation went:

Firstly, how did you end up a teacher? Was it something you always wanted to do?

No, I didn’t think I was gonna go into teaching. My family are all teachers so I thought “There’s no way I’m gonna go into this, I’m gonna do something different!” and then I just kind of fell into it. I was in graduate school and I thought I was maybe gonna be a college professor. I got tired of being in school so I took a break from being in graduate school and I found a job at an independent school like Bancroft that needed someone for a short term maternity-leave sub. And so I started teaching just to see if I would like it and I liked it so much that I just never stopped doing it.

Where did you start?

That was in Philadelphia where I started teaching.

Was that the only place you taught before coming here or?

Nope. So I was in Philadelphia at a school there for ten years and then I was teaching locally at Rivers, which is in Weston, for the last eight years.

Ok, and then you came here?

And then I came here.

How did you learn about Bancroft?

So I grew up close to here, so I’ve known about Bancroft my whole life and it’s actually closer to where I live than where I was working. So when I saw a job come up at Bancroft, it felt like kind of coming back home to Worcester.

But you’ve never been to the school, you’ve never had family that went to the school, you’ve just heard about it?

Nope I just knew about it cause there were kids from my high school and around who would come to Bancroft.

What are the things that you really like about Bancroft?

I love my advisory.

(See? I told you it was important)

But seriously, [my advisory] was such a great first introduction because…

…You got four wild kids.

But I love that! I love that you’re just open and free and yourself which is what I like best with students. I like a lot of personality and that people aren’t afraid to be who they are and I feel like there’s a lot of that at Bancroft. There’s not- it doesn’t seem to me as an adult that there’s a lot of pressure to be conforming if you’re a student. You can kind of be out there if you want to be out there and people will respect that that you can be your own wild and crazy self and so I like that. I like students being able to be who they are and I feel like there is a lot of comfort with adults, too, that students are really free to just ask questions and come by and it doesn’t feel like a hierarchy.

 

At this point I think it’s appropriate to mention that we were in her “office” (the corner of Bay-A), and I do reference some objects in the room. If you’re curious, you can swing by and check them out — they’re there.

I noticed something in the corner…it’s a curling stone. Is that yours?

Yea.

Do you curl?

I do. I had a game last night.

Really? How’d it go?

Oh, we lost. But it was a good game.

So it was fine. How did you get into it?

Watching the Olympics.

You just saw it and you were like “That! I wanna do that!”

I’m like “That looks really interesting!” and then they were advertising that places close by were having open houses and so we went over and like they actually took you out on the ice and let you try it and we were like “This looks really fun” and so we signed up.

So how long have you been doing it?

This is year thirteen for me. I should be better than I am for thirteen years.

Now here came the real questions. Enough with the kiddie pool; we’re on to the big boy stuff.

Cats or dogs?

Oh, dogs.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla, I think. Well, it depends. If we’re talking ice cream, vanilla, but if we’re talking like a piece of chocolate, I’d rather have a piece of chocolate.

Well, yeah cuz a piece of vanilla is just a stick.

Well, you know like white chocolate is kind of vanilla versus like chocolate chocolate I’d rather have real chocolate.

What is your happy place?

My happy place is sitting on the couch with my two dogs curled up besides me. Maybe in the winter with a fire in the fireplace like that’s my happy place.

Favorite book?

Oh, that’s a good question.

Are you a big reader?

I go through spurts where I read like all the time and then I will, like, not. I guess my favorite recent book that I’ve read is Americanah.

The author is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie but neither of us could pronounce the name in the moment. The book, however, does have a review saying it’s “a really good book” from Ms. Dalton and earns a solid “I’ve never read it” from me.

Favorite movie?

Let’s see. Oh, probably one of the favorites of all time is The Princess Bride.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Probably cookies and cream.

Favorite pastime?

Curling.

Of course! Favorite food?

Probably Mexican.

Any specific dish or just anything Mexican?

Just any combination of like cheese, beans, rice.

What’s the biggest item on your bucket list?

Probably more travel. I have not traveled a lot and I would love to travel more.

This is not really a question but give me your best joke.

This is kind of a stupid one but why does a chicken coop have two doors?

Why?

Because if it had four doors, it would be a chicken sedan.

I laughed way harder at that joke than I probably should have. And that wraps up my interview with the lovely Ms. Dalton. It really was a great time talking with her, and I want to thank her yet again for taking time out of her schedule to talk to me. Ms. Dalton, if you’re reading this, thank you. If not, oh well.

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