Anna Stiby, chemistry and biology teacher, was selected to participate in the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat's teacher program 2021. Now she has an intensive work period at Nacka gymnasium, but soon it's time to change the classroom to the icebreaker Oden and this summer's expedition to the Arctic Ocean.
‒ I am busy with work and grading, but when colleagues and students ask if I have started packing, it reminds me that the expedition is coming closer.
How does it feel that the expedition is approaching?
‒ It feels exciting, nervous and a little unreal. Being away from family for a couple of months will be challenging, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I am thrilled and grateful for this unique opportunity and look forward to the expedition.
Why did you apply for our teacher program?
‒ I saw an ad for the teacher program on Facebook and thought I fit the description perfectly. I used to be a researcher but have been working as a teacher for more than ten years.
‒ We talk a lot about climate change in education and its effects on ecosystems, but I have limited knowledge of how research in the Arctic is done. Now I hope to learn a lot from the researchers. In addition, I applied for the teacher program for the personal challenge, to do something different and leave my comfort zone.
What are you going to work with on Oden?
‒ I will have a few different assignments on the boat. I will try to develop materials for the teaching of biology and chemistry. It can be films about how polar researchers work, how life is on Oden, or experiments that are adapted to be performed in a school environment. I have also been assigned to select "today's image" to be published on the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat's website.
What do your students say about you going to the Arctic Ocean?
‒ My students think it is exciting and the interest is great. Many are curious about what I will see and do during the trip. I will be away when the fall semester starts. Then everyone will be able to follow me via a blog that I have created together with the librarians. Since Oden has limited internet, librarians will help me with the updates. But most things the students get to know when I'm back.
What do you hope to learn during the expedition?
‒ New knowledge about the Arctic, how polar researchers works and how life is on board an icebreaker. I will share my experiences with both teachers and students. Many of my students attend the Natural Science Program. Maybe I will succeed in inspiring one of them to continue with an academic career and become a researcher in the future.
What are you most looking forward to?
‒ In addition to new knowledge, I look forward to meeting new, exciting people. And of course, to see a polar bear in its natural element.