The Friday Interview: Dr Benedikz
Just a week away from mid-term break, IEG Latest News talks to Dr Margret Benedikz, principal of IEGS, about what's been happening at the school this term.
IEG Latest News: How has the term been for you so far?
Dr B: Extremely hectic. And it's only going to get busier. The start of term was as busy as ever what with time-tabling issues and getting everyone together. Mr Presland was a boon helping to sort with the timetable. I think all the staff have been brilliant though. Coming into school five days-a-week and teaching is not an easy job. I think the staff here are extremely dedicated and that's made the term.
IEG: Any highlights?
Dr B: Obviously the first annual House Sports Day sounded like it was excellent. I was only sorry to miss it. Otherwise I might have had a go at running the 5 km myself. I was away on a course for the day.
The start of term was also really fun. The second years in particular really made it a welcome return after the summer holiday. They were so positive.
IEG: What's been the toughest thing so far this term?
Dr B: I was frustrated that it took so long to get the extra 40 computers that we'd ordered up and running. Thankfully HQ, 24 Solutions and Mr Edwards all pulled together to get things working. The debacle with the telephones was also problematic. It took the phone company longer than expected to get the wiring sorted so certain numbers were unreachable for almost ten days. I apologise for any inconvenience that caused.
IEG: Why are we seeing so much web content this year compared to last what with this site (*grinning*), the Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, etc.
Dr B: In the last few years businesses and organizations have started to explore how online publishing tools can help the way they communicate. I'm a firm believe in communication, whether in person or online. We're trying to share resources, news and useful information with the IEG community by using the web more effectively. It's very much an experiment in-progress but we're learning lots of things as we go.
IEG: Such as?
Dr B: I'm amazed that so many parents and people outside IEG are following what we do. I'm also pleased that the traffic to our website seems to be growing so much. It's increased over 35% since the summer. I'm not surprised with the likes of Mr Olson sharing great educational videos. The one Ms Baird filmed at the Club Fair was also hilarious. It gave outsiders a real insight into the kind of personalities with have at IEG. I hope to see more things like that featuring students in the future.
IEG: Do you have any idea how many 3rd Years have applied to university?
Dr B: The only applications that have to be in right now are for Medical/Dental programmes and Oxbridge. The deadline for them was this week. I think there were 5 who applied for med school and a couple of others who are trying to get into Oxbridge.
IEG: Do you think they have a good chance of getting in?
Dr B: It's very difficult to say. Looking at previous years we've seen really talented students get interviews for medical programs. But Britain is very picky when it comes to foreign students studying medicine. They're afraid students will study and then leave so most places go to Brits. It's very different when it comes to other subjects. Then British universities look very favourably at Swedish applicants. We've got ex-students currently studying at Nottingham, Imperial College, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Durham, Essex University, Manchester, and Bristol amongst others. These are high calibre universities.
IEG: When's the deadline for applying to British Universities?
Dr B: January 6th. There's plenty of information about it on the UCAS website for anyone that's interested.
IEG: So what can we look forward to after mid-term break?
Dr B: We've got Gymnasiemässa on November 19-21 and then Open House on November 25. That's always incredibly hectic. It's like you have to sell the school in just a few moments. I really want 9th graders to get a fair chance to see what we have to offer. That's always so difficult because the mässa and Open House are so intense.
I know teachers and staff always put a lot of work into these events. This year will be no different, but as well as helping out on the stand we're hoping to find some students to "live blog" from the mässa, and perhaps be active on MSN.
IEG: And what's in store for students at the school?
Dr B: Well, apart from work there should be a House assembly or two. There's an inter-House debating competition, an inter-House song competition coming up. Plus we'll soon be celebrating Lucia before we know it.
IEG: Finally, what will you be doing during mid-term break?
Dr B: Working. It's quite serene being in the school when it's just me and the Admin staff. We get a lot of work done then. I'll probably take a day or two off though. Go to the gym, read a book; perhaps bake a few things. I love pottering around in my kitchen – when I get the chance!
I hope everyone enjoys their break and comes back refreshed and ready to work hard right up until Christmas.