Next up, the High School Low Down is spotlighting Miss Emma McGrath, a History Teacher at the Senior School.
Miss McGrath started at the beginning of session 2021/2022. A Former Pupil of the High School, she details her journey from the Big Apple to Old Anniesland.
Give us the low down: what was your path to the High School?
I’m a Former Pupil, starting in Kindergarten and moving my way up through the Junior and Senior School, leaving Sixth Year in 2009. My favourite subjects were History and Drama and after I left, I relocated to New York to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in Manhattan. After I graduated, I worked in London for a year as an actor.
I decided I wanted to go back to academia so I did a History Degree at the University of Glasgow, followed by a Masters in History and finally my PGDE. After my probationary year in teaching, a job at the High School came up and it felt like fate!
When did you know teaching was your calling?
I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, however, I’ve always loved working with young people, getting them excited about their interests and excited for their future.
While studying my Masters it occurred to me that if I could help children to be as passionate about History as I am, that would be a really rewarding career choice.
Tell us your biggest highlight at the High School so far?
Last term, four Sixth Years took part in the Lessons from Auschwitz Project (from the Holocaust Educational Trust). I coordinated the running of this which culminated in Sixth Years teaching a Senior 2 class. Watching the pupils lead a class and impart the knowledge they had learnt was a really memorable moment.
I’d like to become more involved in the School’s Drama department, imparting some of the tricks of the trade I learnt during my time at acting school in New York.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Dramatic, kind and clumsy!
If you could take one movie to a desert island, what would it be?
My all-time favourite, and an absolute classic, is 'The Great Escape'! But, if I was stranded on a desert island I might need something a bit funnier, in which case, I would say Hot Fuzz!
Who or what inspires you most?
Seeing my family and friends happy and successful in what they are doing inspires me.
What’s one thing you hope to never forget?
I hope I never forget all the support I’ve been given throughout my life to get me to where I am today.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone?
Take time to celebrate your successes no matter how small. Enjoy them before the next challenge comes along.
And finally, give us your low down of the High School
The High School of Glasgow is full of hard working and talented young people. The School provides so many outlets and opportunities for pupils to grow their talents and showcase these under the guidance of excellent teachers.
It has always felt like home to me and that’s thanks to the sense of community here. I’ve been made to feel so welcome on my return (by some of my former teachers!) which has made the transition from Former Pupil to Teacher smooth (and a bit less weird!).