As we are both teachers, we are very interested in the education systems in other countries. We would love to visit schools in the countries we visit and we would certainly like to learn about their teaching style. Maybe, we can even share experiences with them, so we can learn from each other.
On this page we would like to share our teaching experiences from all the schools we will visit. However, we will first tell you something about our motivation for teaching.
As a young child I had always wanted to be a teacher. I even made notes to myself in primary school, writing down the do’s and don’ts for teachers. But what are the do’s and don’ts in teaching? How do we prepare the kids we teach today for a future that is yet to be written? With technology going as fast as it is today, how can we keep up? My last group of sixth graders will be attending high school next year and some of them will start working in 7 to 10 years, but what jobs will exist by then and what is needed?
One of the most important things I’ve learned, is that a child needs to feel safe and respected in school. A teacher needs to provide a warm, kind environment for a child to really be able to develop in a social and cognitive way. It was during my Erasmus study in Sweden where I first got this idea, besides reading it from the textbooks. Going into a school in Orebro, felt like I had walked into a home, but it was actually a group of 3th graders with their teacher. They were so motivated and eager to learn and the whole environment was relaxed and laid back. It was not as if the kids could go around and do what they wanted though. There was a strict schedule and the rules were made clear. I think children really need boundaries, but they should be able to experience with those boundaries and should be allowed to make mistakes. Beside this, I think it’s important to be clear about your expectations as a teacher and to be real and open about it.
It is my job to make sure the kids are safe when they are in my care and that they grow as much as possible. They don’t just grow by ‘filling them with knowledge’, but also as a person, making mistakes and discussing all sorts of subjects. I think it’s important that I am in charge in the end, but I always want my children to be able to form and share their opinion.
After having taught for 11 years and finishing my Master degree in Theoretical Education I can state that I’ve learned and know a lot about teaching at primary schools. I do think there is a lot more to learn and can’t wait to talk to other teachers around the globe.
When I was young, I had never thought I would become a teacher. I had always dreamed of being a veterinarian, because I loved animals more than I liked my classmates.
However, from age 15, I started to do voluntary work with children/teenagers. I went to Romania a couple of times and joined a Dutch organisation for summercamps. The combination of summer activities and children suited me very well. I was able to share my enthousiasm for games and nature and I found out that I really enjoyed working with like-minded people.
When I was studying for my master’s degree in biomedical sciences, I noticed that I didn’t like to work in a research environment. I also learned that sharing my knowledge was something I was good at. I was so interested in my field of expertise that I was able to transfer that interest to teenagers in high school.
Although I am not yet a very experienced teacher, I have a lot of experience in working with children. I am very interested in the many different ways that children learn, but mostly I am interested in how their learning environment affects their motivation to learn.
I believe that when children feel safe, accepted and stimulated, they will always be eager to learn. I also believe that they need clear and strict boundaries. I put a lot of effort in getting to know my students and making them feel welcome in my class. And of course, a happy teacher means happy kids.