Hur var det att komma till Sverige från England, möta svenska traditioner och bli en högt uppskattad lärare på Europaskolan Strängnäs? Här berättar vår engelsklärare Rosalind Lindroth om sina minnen från Europaskolan – och vägen till att bli en del av ”the Europaskolan family”.
I was employed in September 2010 by Europaskolan Strängnäs as a full time English teacher. Commuting from Reading, England, weekly as I still had weekend teaching commitments in England. I had been married in Sweden some years previously and had 2 daughters, both originally of Swedish nationality as they had been born in Sweden when I had lived in Malmö and Stockholm. I returned to England to bring up my children and took on Head of Department Music posts in the Reading area.
I later returned and worked in Eskilstuna and Stockholm in the 90s as a language trainer, for companies such as Volvo, Nordea, KPMG, Vinge advokatbyrån, Eriksson and EF corporate. I therefore had good knowledge of both the Eskilstuna area and Stockholm and surroundings.
I was very pleased to have the opportunity of returning to Sweden, (a recommendation I gather through my good friend Kent Norstedt whom I knew from my time at Volvo, Eskilstuna) coincidentally living in the same town, Strängnäs, where I had previously lived when working with language training.
My interview with the Head Teacher, Thomas Axelsson, felt very comfortable and I knew instantly I would feel at home and settle well into the ”Europaskolan family”. After my first week I began to find my way round and everyone was friendly, helpful and courteous. I had a very good rapport with the students once they realised I meant business and would stand no nonsense (particularly FÖ!) and we all worked well together to achieve the best results. I tried to make the classes fun and active but well focused to meet curriculum requirements and incorporated what I considered to be important – the awareness and training in using different language styles.
I was particularly touched that my mother was welcomed into the school early on and thoroughly enjoyed being invited by Thomas to take part in a ”kräftskiva” at Ulvhäll when it was still open.
I remember on this occasion our Europaskolan staff being asked to introduce themselves to Rogge staff for the first time and going round the tables in order, it came to my mother (aged 93) who duly stood up and introduced herself. People were very impressed (she had in fact had a professional teaching life) and she felt very pleased to have been included in the formalities. She happily contributed to my class teaching with groups that week.
I was thrilled with the attitude of these 6th formers with whom I have made very good friends. Many either travelled with me to or from England or joined my school trips every August, before the beginning of term. These proved to be a huge success going ”off the beaten track” to many different destinations over the course of 8 days.
Both the students and myself got to know each other on a different basis rather than in the more ”formal” classroom setting. They seemed to say with a note of anticipation that they never knew what would happen next – positively I mean – and we all had fun! There was always something unexpected around the corner.
I loved the 2 trips to Greece in May and the company and friendship. Although I travel frequently in Europe I saw new things and had new experiences as we ”learn all the time from others”.
The School Balls have been superb with everyone in evening dress and Thomas in his colonel’s uniform. The venue for this was superb in Sundbyholm’s Slott which was often backdropped with spectacular sunsets over Mälaren and where students learnt to use appropriate table etiquette and dance a Viennese waltz.
What wonderful venues were on offer in the area – teaching rooms overlooking a lake, stately homes nearby and the use of the famous cathedral church from Gustav Vasa’s time and which we use for major events and the end of term. The leavers day always raised the level of excitement in the school and you could feel the tension in the air culminating in a well organised procession round the town with town band and everyone turning out for the occasion carrying birch clad arches and waving posters with baby photographs of the leavers who were weighed down with balloons and neck trinkets. We have nothing like this in England.
2 years ago I had the good fortune to share my office space in Philosophicum with Nicklas Hellmark and Lars Wessel. We were able to keep up to date with student and teaching matters and I was most impressed when the latter introduced ice dipping, overnight survival camping and orienteering, taking advantage of the natural surroundings waiting to be exploited. My early evening teaching room looked out over the beautiful lake and I would never allow the view to be shut out by drawn curtains, even in the depths of winter where it sparkled with snow and ice. I also became very friendly with Annlouise Andersson whose daughters I had taught and who lived opposite and welcomed me into her family. We have a lot in common and we had cosy evenings chatting over a glass of wine and an interesting snack conjured up by her in 5 minutes flat. This has meant so much to me especially on dark winter evenings after long teaching hours and travel.
The comradeship of spontaneous informal staff get-togethers initiated by Thomas were refreshing and I looked forward to the more formal events of Abiturienten with Kjell Weinius and his unusual graduation cap with home made woolen baubles representing his many subjects from his own ”studenten”, at Mösspåtagning where he kept alive the tradition of exchanging and donning modern white students’ caps. Lucia was lovely and Eva Mutvei kindly asked me to help train the singers and play the piano for the procession in Djäknehallen.
I will finish this little ”portrait of Europaskolan” with the biggest surprise. I had just finished teaching two lessons today and was preparing for the next, when I heard singing in the corridor outside my room. Opening the door I was met by a large group of staff singing the Swedish birthday song. It turned out to be for me as I had very recently had a big birthday. I could not believe my eyes! 2 bouquets of beautiful flowers, a Kosta/Boda bowl in my favourite colours and the sweet little designer necklace which I had admired on 2 members of staff. I was completely taken aback and overcome with emotion at how genuine and thoughtful my colleagues are.
This sums up Europaskolan. —Thank you for all you stand for.