A busy year for Anna-Clara Rönner and Magnus Rönnberg is now drawing to a close. In just a few months’ time they will be fully trained teachers, ready to inspire and hopefully awaken a passion for science among children and young people.
“Ready to give them a scientific flow,” says Anna-Clara with a laugh
Anna-Clara and Magnus are two students from the very first cohort on the Alternative Supplementary Teacher Education programme. This is a fast track programme for those who already have scientific subject knowledge and want to become teachers. In just one year, they can qualify as subject teachers at secondary or upper secondary level, depending on their chosen specialisation.
They were attracted by the fact that the programme was only one year long, and that it was aimed specifically at those who already had a degree in a science subject.
“I’d actually always wanted to be a teacher,” explains Anna-Clara. “But it was only when my children became teenagers that the timing felt right.”
Her background is in research and development, and she defended her doctoral thesis in microbiology at the University of Gothenburg. In the New Year, she will be a fully trained upper secondary school teacher, qualified to teach chemistry combined with additional subjects such as maths or biology.
“A major motivation for me is to encourage today’s young people to take more of an interest in the sciences. If we want to continue to be a research nation, we can’t afford to make cutbacks in resources at upper secondary and university levels – we need more talented young people who want to become chemists and mathematicians.”
Magnus already has a degree in engineering, and has run his own business for the last ten years. He was attracted to the teaching profession by the more structured working hours, and he plans to combine secondary school teaching with working for his own business.
“I felt it would be perfect for me,” he says. “Finding out how we learn and teach others is something of a passion of mine.”
The Alternative Supplementary Teacher Education programme is taught at a fast pace, and the structure is a little different compared to regular teacher education. One difference is that the work-based education is not a separate element – it is interwoven with theoretical modules. The theory and practice are therefore closely linked.
“It’s an excellent idea,” continues Magnus. “It means that we can discuss what has happened in the classroom straight away at a seminar, and vice versa.”
Anna-Clara and Magnus agree that this is one of the programme’s strengths, but also that it is incredibly demanding. They haven’t had any free time during the year, as every spare minute has been devoted to studying.
“It’s important to be aware of this when starting the programme,” adds Anna-Clara. “It would have been worth warning my friends and family that I wasn’t going to be around as much at the weekends.”
The programme ends in mid-January, and it will then be time for them to leave the ‘bubble’ that they feel they’ve been in since it began. Several of their fellow students have already received job offers, and Anna-Clara and Magnus are confident about their future prospects. There is a real need for teachers in science subjects, and the pair are looking forward to their future professional role:
“Awakening an interest and a sense of curiosity when it comes to science.”