She wants change the education system
Name: Sara Cavka
Sara Cavka is doing her doctoral studies in the didactics of mathematics – the teaching and learning of mathematics. Her plans for the future are to work with municipal development, stay on as a researcher at Umeå University or move abroad. Right now she is on parental leave and is enjoying her small family.
Sara Cavka grew up in Falun, in the county of Dalarna. In upper-secondary school she attended a locally offered programme known as the Humanities programme, which is fairly similar to the social sciences programmes offered nationwide. She then moved to Gävle and studied to become a teacher in years 1–6, focusing on mathematics and Swedish. She lived and worked in Stockholm for a few years before meeting her husband and moving to Norrland, or more specifically to Örnsköldsvik, where he lived while completing his doctoral studies. They have been living in Umeå for just over a year.
“My husband was really the one who made me think about becoming a doctoral student, but what made me apply for a positions was my desire to influence and change the education system in a way that is hard to do as a teacher,” says Sara Cavka.
Her doctoral studies concern an educational initiative in formative assessment designed by one municipality for its teachers. Formative assessment is an educational strategy that, in simple terms, involves continual and varying forms of assessment of the pupils\' knowledge and providing feedback to help them advance their learning. She will follow four mathematics teachers in years 7–9 and study their continued skills training and the way their new knowledge of formative assessment shows in their teaching of mathematics.
“I want to gain a deeper understanding of what influences these teachers to chance or not change their method of teaching mathematics to be more formative.”
Sara Cavka says that being a doctoral students is fun, challenging and stimulating, but that it entails a great deal of individual responsibility. As a teacher you always receive direct feedback from students, while as a doctoral student you can work for long periods without any feedback to indicate whether what you are doing is good or not, which can sometimes be frustrating.
“The best and worst thing about the job is the demand for constant development: one day you might feel like you have finally understood something that you have struggled with for a long time, only to feel like you understand nothing the next day.” Something that is sometimes hard, but which reminds her of her days as a teacher, is that the is no real end to the work. There is always more to be done.
Her son was born at the beginning of March, and Sara Cavka is now on a break, enjoying spending time with her family at home. When she starts working again after her parental leave she will have roughly two years left as a doctoral student.
“When I return I hope to spend some time abroad. The end of my studies still seems far away, and it\'s hard to know what I\'ll want to do and what opportunities I will have, but I have three different options that I am considering. The alternatives are working with municipal development, continuing at Umeå University or moving abroad.”
Do you like living in Umeå?
“I like living in Umeå, it\'s a dynamic town of just the right size. Everything you may want can be found here (except possibly an IKEA) and Arlanda airport is only an hour away.”
Name: Sara Cavka
Lives: Gimonäs in Umeå
Hidden talent: I can leg press three times my own body weight
Interests: Working out and spending time with my family
Favourite part of Umeå: Walking or cycling around Lake Nydala