News | 08 December 2023

Inspiring students for 30 years

Meet Mr. Donald Armstrong, a teacher of mathematics and business at Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet Södermalm. At the end of the month he will retire after an impressive 30 years, from when IES started in 1993 until today. We asked him to share his unique three-decade perspective.


What would you say is unique about IES, both when we started and now?
“When we started it was a whole new concept of education and free school. For IEGS it was that we were a very small gymnasium, and all the teachers knew all the students. That was very challenging, but also very interesting, you got quite close to the students whereas today the school is bigger. This gives the students more opportunities to meet more teachers and teaching styles and experts in their areas. The facilities are much bigger and more central compared to when we started.”

What do you like so much about working at IES?
“I think there are many things, one of which is that the students are very good. Second, the teachers we work with are very professional and international. There is a good atmosphere in the staff room and when working together with other staff members. The staff are adaptable and easy to work with and people just enjoy their job and it’s nice to be around that.”

What about IES and/or our ethos appeals to you the most, personally?
“The environment in school is very calm and there is not a lot of animosity. It is a workplace where students feel free to talk to teachers and there is just this order where everyone feels safe. I have never felt unsafe in school.”

What do you think makes IEGS the best option for students today and in the future?
“I think one is the programmes that we offer, by having both the IB and the national program it allows for students from abroad. Since the programmes are in English this allows students who may be Swedish but have been living abroad to apply to our programmes, giving us that international dynamic. I think that we attract some of the better students and it makes more of a positive environment to learn in.”

Thank you for your dedication and we wish you all the best and hope you enjoy your well-deserved retirement!