Following the departure of 2IB’s contact teacher Anna Nøkland, Kate Reed became Nesbru’s new IB English B and psychology teacher, as well as joining Alexander Bjørndal to be one of 2IB’s two contact teachers. I sat down with her to ask her some quick questions about her background, her ways of teaching, and what impact she wants to make on her students when they eventually graduate.
“Hi Kate, could you tell a bit about yourself?”
Sure! I was born in Durban, on the eastern coast of South Africa, and I lived there all my life until I moved to Norway. I was a very very bad student at school and didn’t get into university, so I had to wait until I was 24 before I was allowed to start studying. Then I qualified to be a psychometrist. I met my husband when I was 16, and we got engaged here in Norway when I was 17. When I was 39, we moved here to Norway and we’ve been here for nine years now. My first job here, or my only job really, was as a teacher. I wasn’t a qualified teacher then, but I realized that I loved doing it so much that decided to qualify officially at the university.
“At which school did you work at?”
“And besides from obviously Norway and South-Africa, have you lived any other places?”
“Ok cool, and do you and your husband have any children, pets...?”
Hehehe, we have Thomas, who is 17, and Anna, who is 15. Besides from that we have two rescue cats, a brother and a sister, and we have a husky dog.
“And Thomas goes to Nesbru, right?”
“What does he really think about his mother being around and teaching at the school he goes to?”
“Oh, you don’t teach any of his subjects?”
No, and I think that if I did teach him it would probably be quite uncomfortable, but I mean we’d find a way to get around it. But no, otherwise, I think he’s quite cool with it.
“Which subjects do you teach, though?”
So, I teach 2IB and 3IB in psychology, 2IB English B, and I also have a small percentage English in SSP.
“Oh, ok. And, what are you currently doing in those subjects?”
In English B we are working on a debate, and we’ve been doing a variety of written and oral tasks, ehm, just to get the students used to what kind of tasks can come up in the exams. And in psychology we’re working on how our brain affects criminal behavior.
“And just to be sure, you’ve never taught in the IB program before, or?”
I have actually. At Bjørnholt they have the IB program, so there I was teaching psychology, and I was a CAS coordinator… so yeah, psychology and CAS.
“Would you consider the IB any different from the one at Bjørnholt and here at Nesbru?”
Yes, there’s a big difference. The students at Bjørnholt are generally students who have been educated overseas and they’ve come back to Norway to do high school, and therefore there are big gaps in their education. Additionally, as Bjørnholt is not an elite school, they don’t have a lot of applicants, and so they can take in everyone who applies, and some of those students perhaps shouldn’t be IB students, but they take it anyways because they don’t like the Norwegian system. So, because of this, I feel like, or not feel like, the students at Nesbru are a lot stronger academically than the ones at Bjørnholt.
“And would you say that this affects your motivation to teach in any way?”
No, not really. I mean, the students at my previous school were very badly behaved, but that didn’t take away my love and passion for teaching and doing my very best so that the students are well prepared for their exams. What I can say though, is that working here at Nesbru probably will make my job a tad bit easier, as all of the students here are very strong academically, and that probably boosts my motivation subconsciously, but without me really thinking about it
“Could you try to explain the mindset you have when you teach your subjects”
I try very hard to make lessons interesting. Sometimes this proves difficult though, as there’s always some boring stuff that the students do just have to learn, but I do understand that students get bored easily and so I really want them to walk away from my class saying “I learned something”. So, it’s important for me to try and find topics and materials and resources that I know will appeal to teenagers, so that’s my aim.
“Finally, when your students eventually graduate from Nesbru, is there anything you want them to leave with that they might have gotten from you?”
What I want for my students is... I want them to take something from me that, eh, like an important life skill, an important life lesson. I want to be someone that they will look back, in 20 years, and say: “I really got something from my psychology teacher”. I have one teacher from school in my 12 years of schooling that specifically stands out for me, who made a difference in my life, made a difference in how I live, and that’s my goal as a teacher, I want to make a difference in my students lives.
“Thanks for sitting down with me and answering these questions. It was interesting to get to know you a bit better, as well as get some insight into the ways you teach and what impression you want your students to walk away from class with”
No problem! It was good to share a little bit about myself, and I hope the parents, and students, who read this will gain a little bit of knowledge about myself, considering how I joined mid-term, and therefore have not gotten to know them that well yet.