Carys svar kan ha kortats ner eller ändrats lite för tydlighetens skull. Jag valde dock att inte översätta de från engelska till svenska. 

Carys Hexter, fysik- och mattelärare på VRG sen 2 år tillbaka. Hon är rolig, smart och omtänksam. Jag har dock alltid undrat en sak: hur hamnade Carys här på VRG? Det känns inte som det naturliga steget för en britt utan någon tydlig koppling till Sverige att plötsligt flytta till vårt kalla, avlånga land och hamna just i Djursholm. När jag fick chansen att intervjua Carys tog jag därför tillfället i akt att svara på just denna fråga. 

Först vill jag veta lite bakgrund. Det känns som att vi elever (speciellt vi i natur) över tid fått veta ganska mycket om Carys, men ändå är jag inte ens säker på vad hon pluggat. Det får bli min första fråga: 

Carys, vad utbildade du dig som på universitetet?

I studied maths and physics in my undergrad at Cardiff University.  At first, I was thinking of studying engineering. I always liked maths and preferred chemistry over physics for a long time because we did not have a proper physics teacher. I also really liked planes and thought building something would be fun, so engineering was the obvious choice. But then, after graduating, I decided to do a year in industry, which is a bit like tekniksprånget, where I worked at an engineering company. There, I realised that I was not too bothered about engineering but I really liked maths. During my final year in school, I also realised that I really liked synoptic physics (en viss del av fysikundervisningen i Storbritannien där man måste använda alla koncept man lärt sig för att förklara ett visst fenomen, exempelvis hur en mikrovågsugn fungerar). 

Carys fortsätter sedan berätta om hur denna förändring gjorde att hon inte längre ville gå på det Universitet hon sökt till. Hon ändrade därför sin ansökan men insåg när hon kom till det nya Universitetet att hon inte gillade det heller. Carys tog därför ett till sabbatsår och ansökte sedan till matte- och fysikutbildningen på Cardiff University. Under sabbatsåret flyttade hon till Kanada och jobbade bla. som en skidinstruktör. 

Med tanke på vad du valde att studera på universitetet, vad fick dig att plötsligt vilja byta spår och bli lärare?

I kind of fell into teaching. During my time at University, I worked as a brand manager for a program called teach first. My job was basically to go to all of these different events and tell people about the importance of having good teachers. One day my talent officer, who was also my boss at this job, asked me why I was not applying to Teach Firstsince I was the perfect candidate. I had never considered teaching before because there is a kind of stigma around teaching. Teach Firstwas trying to counter this stigma and the lack of teachers in the UK, and they were able to convince me to apply. 

Carys förklarar därefter kort hur Teach First fungerar. Du får arbeta som lärare i 2 år samtidigt som du får din masters inom utbildning. Du får också ett jobberbjudande från ett annat företag där du kan börja arbeta efter dessa 2 år. Du är därmed en lärare först och kan sen göra annat. 

They do this because they know that once people are actually in teaching a lot of people will end up staying. These people realise that they can make a difference. 

In Teach First, you also learn on the job. You never get any university training to become a teacher. After a 6 week intense program where you learn a little about teaching you are sent to what is deemed as challenging schools. These schools have a high proportion of the students who  for example don’t have English as their first language or live under the poverty line. My first 2 years of teaching was therefore at one of those schools. We call it a baptism of fire, you either swim or you sink. You have to be able to teach, you have to be able to control a classroom and do your job, or you wont get through the day. 

Efter att ha jobbat på en utmanande skola, hur hamnade du i Sverige och tillslut på VRG?

In my final year in England, a couple of months before I finished, one of my students was stabbed in the corridor right outside my classroom. At that point I had put so much into my work and I was at that age where I took everything home with me. I knew that if I kept working there I would burn out. I could not emotionally deal with it. I therefore decided that I wanted to find a new place with a better work-life balance. I wanted to be able to teach without all of the other things surrounding it. It was so good working in that school because you make such a big difference, but it was such hard work doing it. 

I lived with a Swedish girl who convinced me to apply for a job in Sweden. I applied for a position at Engelska Skolan in Täby, and was offered the job pretty much on the spot. I planned to work in Sweden until Christmas and then move to New Zealand, but my year 9 students guilt tripped me into staying. I then got a new year 7 mentor class and after that year I did not want to leave them, so I stayed a bit longer. After a few years, I was thinking of moving back to the UK, but then Janet Lindström, the German teacher here at VRG, contacted me. She had been my boss in the english school and she wanted me to apply for a maths and physics position at VRG. I had missed teaching older kids and being able to teach physics, as I had only taught maths in the english school. I applied, got the job and started in 2018.

Tror du att du är en bättre lärare för att du har jobbat i flera olika skolor? 

I think you generally become a better teacher the more experience you have. That being said there are a lot of brilliant teachers who are in their first year. Really, I think what makes you a good teacher is not necessarily experience, it is someone who cares about what they do. They have to believe that education is important and that young people are important. I think that my experiences make it so that I am more able to deal with chaos sometimes and that I have a good shouting voice, but what is important is what I then do with that experience. That is what makes me better. You can have as much experience as possible but unless you put it to practise, unless you do something to try and make a difference, you are not going to be a better person or a better teacher. 

Med de så kallade “words of wisdom” avslutas intervjun. Carys väg från att vilja plugga teknik, till att välja matte och fysik istället, till att utbilda sig som lärare och tillslut hamna hos oss, har varit lång. Jag tror dock hela VRG är tacksam för att hon nu är här!

Katja Borelius

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