What is your position at ISD?
I am currently the head of the math department teaching both MYP and DP maths. Having completed a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and School Development last summer, I’m also looking forward to the exciting challenge of being the MYP Coordinator at ISD next school year.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
Our family is one that celebrates being a part of a plethora of cultures. We are Swedish, Senegambian, and Jamaican, but are also very proud of our French, English, and Cape Verdean roots as well. We have two young children in the elementary school, Nina and Therese as well as an older daughter Awa-Louise who is currently in grade 10. We enjoy playing board games as well as celebrating the Swedish tradition of “Fredagsmys” which is “family movie night”.
Why did you choose ISD?
I believe fate had a hand in this. Both Anna and I wanted to be closer to family members in The Gambia who were getting older. We also wanted our children to experience education within an international school setting, whilst still being in a familiar Senegambian cultural context. As ISD was a school we were both familiar with from years past (as a rival school of ours in the now-defunct SIPS sports competition), it was hence a perfect fit for us. We are extremely happy and count ourselves quite lucky to be here at ISD, in Senegal.
Where were you before coming to ISD?
Before coming to ISD, I had spent some time teaching (about 6 years) in both the US and the UK public school systems. It was however during my time in Sweden where I started teaching within the IB (MYP/DP) and international school setting. I was at Stockholm International School for 7 years before coming to ISD in 2016.
Who or what inspired you to become a math teacher?
Interestingly, it was my English teacher Mr. George Attoh at Marina International School who inspired me to become a teacher. He was extensively knowledgeable about a variety of topics and his lessons were always engaging and eventful. He also encouraged me to take English Literature at A-level. I was also fairly good at Mathematics as I was an extremely hard worker in school and very competitive in nature. One Anna would call a “nerd” I believe.
What do you like most about working with Secondary students?
I enjoy working with our secondary students mainly because they remind me of myself at that age. Quite a few of them come from multicultural backgrounds like myself and each of them has their own unique story to tell. Exchanging life stories with our students at ISD has greatly enriched my life.
How has ISD changed since your first started in 2016?
In terms of infrastructure, ISD has evolved quite a bit. The basketball/volleyball courts opposite the Teranga Centre were one of the first large projects when I arrived. The old gym where we played volleyball and basketball has now been converted to elementary school classrooms (behind the administration building). We also now have a new state-of-the-art performing arts and sports complex building that stands tall and has given the campus a bold new look. The most important changes for me however have been the improvement of the quality of teaching staff over the years. We currently now have staff members who are not only well versed in all things IB (across all programmes), but who are also open-minded, professional, and who most importantly, genuinely care about our students.
If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?
I would either be a football/soccer analyst or a political analyst.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Fret not over the multiple rejections from that beautiful young lady in grade 10, she will eventually come around.
What’s your favorite saying (in Wolof or Swedish)?
"Det finns inget som kan rättfärdiga eller kompensera de år av ens liv som ägnats åt oengagerade eller meningslösa uppgifter och smärtsamma erfarenheter i skolan" (Giota, 2014)
What is your favorite thing that your lovely wife Anna bakes?
There are so many to choose from, choosing one would be quite difficult for me. However, if I were to choose one, it would probably be the “lussekatt” which are Swedish saffron buns.
Thank you, Denrol!