Quality at IES

Teacher of the Year: ”Important to build a relationship with your class”

“I’m not a finished product as a teacher, there’s always something that can be improved.” So says Peter Fernaeus, a social studies teacher at IES Sundsvall and the winner of the title Teacher of the Year. The prize is based on nominations from students and is awarded at the annual Teachers’ Gala.


Mr Peter Fernaeus

Teacher of the Year, 2023

The non-profit Teachers’ Gala gives Sweden’s students a unique channel to show what they appreciate about their education. When the gala was first held in 2016, 700 children nominated their teachers. That number rose to almost 45,000 nominations in 2023.

One of the motivations that gave Peter Fernaeus the prestigious title in 2023 stated: “My teacher deserves to win as he has inspired me to learn new things and to care about the world and my fellow human beings in a way that I never have done before.”

With 17 years as a teacher under his belt, he also has some advice to share with younger colleagues: “Allow yourself to make mistakes, get advice from experienced colleagues, use all the resources your school offers, don’t be afraid to try out new things, and most importantly of all, build a relationship with your class. You must be interested in your subject – if I’m not enthusiastic when I teach about the world wars, ancient Greece or Hinduism, my students will see right through me,” he says.

The prize does not stop his aspiration to constantly improve either.

“I know that I have yet to have my toughest or my best class. But IES gives you the tools and encourages you to constantly develop. No other school that I’ve worked at before offers so much opportunity to improve in your job,” says Mr Fernaeus.