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Förra året klev Nuno Berkley Cotter in på VRG Djursholm och blev snabbt en av de mest omtalade, mystiska och älskade lärarna. Med ett lärosätt som kan liknas vid ett universitets seminarium har han tagit skolan med storm. Trots detta har eleverna aldrig fått reda på vem han faktiskt är. Hur kom han till Sverige? Varför blev han lärare? Varför kan han så många språk?

Describe yourself with 3 words.

Creative, lazy, passionate

How much do you read everyday?

Sometimes a lot but I try to read a little everyday and a whole book during the weekend

How many books have you read?

At least hundreds.

Series or books?


Favourite author?

Richard Yates

Favourite book?

Infinite Jest

Do you want to write a book?

Yes, I’ve written a couple.

Are they published?

No, just short stories in portuguese.

Why did you come to Sweden?

I was a translator and I thought I would learn a language that no one speaks in Portugal and the pay is a bit higher if you translate from Swedish to Portuguese rather than English or Spanish. I had a couple of friends here , so I tried it out for a couple of weeks here to see how it was. I also read a lot of Swedish authors when I was a kid so I had this romanticised picture of Sweden. 

Which authors?

Mainly Selma Lagerlöf, Stig Dagerman and Lars Gustafsson. I wanted to translate Dagerman because he was one of my favourite authors. 

So you were like a book translator?

I did everything. From software to Playstation games to movies. 

You have told us before that you were quite poor when you grew up. What made you study and escape this continuous cycle of poverty that so many get stuck in?

My dad studied, he was a teacher, and I swore I would never be like him but here I am. Guess it happens. I think it’s healthy to kinda rebel against what you have. And I didnt want to become a teacher but then I had this fabulous professor when I studied at University in Portugal. This was the kind of professor that you wouldn’t believe I mean, I went to all of her lessons even to courses I wasn’t taking and I wasn’t the only one. She was just so passionate about literature and you could just feel it and it was beautiful, it was beautiful. I felt like I wanted to be her. This was an extremely tiny old woman speaking in front of hundreds of people 5 times a week. It was just mind blowing, the knowledge and the passion. I wanted to be her. Then I thought ok maybe I could teach at the University but I didn’t do it there I did it here. 


Stockholm University for 8 years between around 2008-2016. I was doing my PhD in teaching. It was fun for a while but I just lost motivation. So I wanted to try something different. I was teaching adults at Medborgarskolan. I taught 7-9th grade which was fun but it wasn’t perfect. Then I taught 6th grade but they were too small. Then High School which was just perfect. Because you’re the perfect age for me to feed you stuff that you can get. It’s still intellectual work but not too advanced. I still get contact with the students everyday compared to University where you get little to no personal contact. 

How do you get students to learn?

I don’t know but I think if you’re passionate about what you do, which I believe I am because I love what I do, it shows and the people maybe you can get to some people you can show them a bit of that passion and then they might learn something.

What do you want in a student?

I want someone who can learn from their mistakes, that’s why I give feedback and someone who talks. You have seen my lectures. They are not really lectures, they are dialogues so it’s nice for people to say what they’re thinking about.

Do you always want to be a teacher?

Yes, I have the perfect job. I am the most successful person I know. I get paid to do what I love. You can’t get it any better than that. 

What are you longing for?

I’ve lived slightly obsessed with the idea of publishing a book but I don’t think that’s healthy so I’m trying to let go. But I still like the idea of writing so I want to write more books.

Av Hugo Ericson

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