In the first of a series on new faculty, we meet new Grade 5 Classroom Teacher Karli Bergquist, who has arrived at ISP for this school year from Ontario, Canada. Ms. Bergquist has a passionate interest in ways of knowing mathematics and bringing curiosity to teaching, leadership and research. She has left behind her 18 year old son, Jonah, in Canada to begin a degree at Trent University, while her wonderful father moves in to take care of her family home and dog, Rex! Ms. Bergquist gives her initial thoughts of her first few weeks in Prague.
- Where in the world have you come from? Obviously the last two school years have been exceptional – but what positive experiences will you bring to being an ISP educator?
I joined ISP from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada where I was an educator for nearly 20 years. Most recently, and through COVID, I was the Vice Principal of a large public elementary school with nearly 700 students. It was a challenge to say the least, but through it I watched incredible teachers do incredible things as they connected with students to ensure learning continued. By supporting each other, we maintained a school culture of hope. I bring this hope and sense of opportunity with me to ISP, along with tremendous excitement to dip back into the classroom.
- Why ISP? What influenced your decision to join the ISP Community and the city of Prague?
The ISP community is one that embraces the values I hold most in education: that all students are capable of learning at high levels; that collaboration and high expectations are key to exceptional teaching and learning; and that a better world can exist when students learn in an environment where they get to know themselves and how to be part of a community.
Prague was a good choice for my move, as well. My roots are Norwegian, Swedish and Scottish – all countries I have visited and maintain familial relationships. Living in Prague should allow me an opportunity to connect more deeply with these roots. I am also eager to learn more about the city and Czechia.
- What has been your favourite learning moment from your short time at ISP so far?
I have been bragging to my “teacher friends”, not about the amazing facilities and resources at ISP, (which are wonderful!) but about the collaboration with my Grade 5 team to plan meaningful lessons that are student and community focused. The rigour of our conversations and the high expectations for instructional best practice is both challenging and inspiring.
- What have you learned about the city of Prague so far, what are your initial impressions?
The first thing I learned about Prague was how dog friendly it is! I left my beloved Rex back in Ottawa and so seeing all the wonderful dogs wandering with their owners has been heartwarming. I have accumulated over 200 km walking distance over the past few weeks, and am eager to learn more about local Czech knowledge of foraging for mushrooms and other edible or medicinal plants.
- What are your hopes and dreams for your students and you personally this year?
For my students and for myself, I want this year to be about learning. I have been intentional in my return to the classroom so that I can reconnect with students in a way that was missing last year. I am passionate about leadership and this year will bring us ample opportunity to make the world a better place for ourselves and our community.