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10 Questions with...Carl Lander
  • 10 Questions

Carl Lander is Principal of Azerbaijan British College and a COBIS Board member.

1. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

When a spontaneous smile naturally and unexpectedly lights a teacher's or student's face when they achieve something they thought beyond their capabilities. Especially when I knew they could achieve this and more.

2. What/who inspires you?

People who are passionate about what they do. Whether that is a thirst for learning, playing a sport they love, debating a topic they feel strongly about or pursuing with vigour, whatever interest they have. The drive and energy they show inspires me and reminds me that life is to be lived to the full, whatever you do, do it with passion.

3. Which living person do you most admire?

Kurt Hahn! In the foundation of the IB and his contribution to co-curricular learning. His ideas, philosophy, passion live on. His legacy lives, his achievements live. 

4. What is the best part of your day?

The morning. I am an early bird. Arriving early at work greeting and engaging with students, staff and parents at the gate.

5. Which talent would you most like to have?  

There are still many talents I would like to develop further and new ones I would like to learn. Being able to communicate with people in their own language offers an insight and the ability to understand more deeply their culture and outlook. I would like to develop my linguistic abilities and learn more languages.

6. What is your favourite thing about the country you live in now?

Undoubtedly the rich and wonderful layers of history of the Caspian region.  From the important foundations of the Armenian and Caucus Albanian Kingdoms, the influence of the Byzantium and Persian Empires and the Islamic Shirvanshah and ultimately Seljuk conquests. These have all left their mark on the geography of the region that is easy to access and discover. More recently the Golden Hord of the Mongols came and then succeeded to Iranian and eventually Russian rule. Of course the Soviet Union stamped its mark and in 1991 the modern country of Azerbaijan came into being. The architecture and archaeology are in plain view on every corner on this wonderful region.

7.  What do you consider your greatest achievement?    

Raising my three children to become the independent young adults that they have become. I am very proud of their choices, progress, humanity and achievements so far.

8. What part of the COBIS network do you value most?

The support and contact with fellow heads and leaders, whether to bounce ideas off, steal ideas and good practice, share difficulties or develop networks to link our schools. The Black Sea Schools Group has been an inspiration and help, from Dave in Kiev to Stephan in Tbilisi

9. What advice would you give your younger self? 

Enjoy it, worry less, it all works out in the end.

10. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Whilst I have done some very unusual things in life, and lived a life that is less than ordinary, those that know me would find no surprise in my antics. However I was possibly the least academic or able learner and was the most frustrating, unmotivated and difficult school student my teachers ever had.