Berit Borgen-Nielsen

Vice Principal
Valhøj Skole Idrætslinje (Primary School)
Denmark Hub | EUROPE

In my daily job, I work as a vice principal at a Danish public school with about 800 students and 100 employees. I am the daily leader of 0th to 5th grade both for the students and for about 40 teachers. In my leadership, I am responsible for the cases considering children with special needs. I work interdisciplinary with, among others, caseworkers and family therapists. I work with the school’s supervisors and the development of these and then I am part of a municipal network that works with the school of the future.

I began my career as a teacher of Danish and music in an area of Copenhagen that is often described as relatively rough. The families and children in that community helped me raise my awareness of the consequences of the stress, relative poverty and inequality they experienced on a daily basis.

I have during the last 15 years worked in a city next to Copenhagen with the same kind of families and children. Working with those families and children makes sense for me. In my everyday working life, I enjoy seeing how our teachers develop and challenge our children based on the prerequisites they each have. I see school and education as a very important thing in children’s lives, and I see it as our most important job to educate our children so that they have the opportunity to make the best use of their potential, regardless of their socio-economic background.

In the years I have worked as a vice principal, I have continued to educate myself. I have a diploma in management and systemic thinking and last year I studied at a Danish institute, narrative pedagogical management. The narrative approach has inspired me and I use the thinking and methods in my everyday life when I work with the staff, the children and my management team.

At a workshop in 2020, Mette Miriam Böll introduced me to Compassion Systems. The whole thinking and mindset of Compassion systems inspired me and made me want to learn more. I have an idea that the program will greatly help me inspire the teachers to work with the compassionate system for the benefit of our children. When you teach children – and adults – to think in larger contexts, be curious and explore everyday problems, then I think it will help develop our children’s empathic abilities and will teach them to understand their own feelings and be able to talk about them. When you learn to give words to your own emotions, it might become easier to understand how others feel. I think that, in the end, it will give our children a much broader view of the world around them. However, for all this to succeed I have to start somewhere else and that is with myself. I look so much forward to the journey.