Teaching like a champ

Jonathan Bergh
10 February 2020

Jonathan Bergh tells about his experience of becoming a high school teacher during his Econometrics study

I am Jonathan Bergh, a third year econometrics student. I live at Uilenstede together with 13 amazing roommates. One of my hobbies is playing futsal, which I play with my study mates in the ninth division at Uilenstede. In the third year, students have to do a minor. I decided to do the educative minor, this means becoming a teacher, in math. The easy way of choosing a minor is to choose the econometrics minor, but I wanted something else. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone to challenge myself. pupils respect me and I respect them.

I am football trainer at Procamp so I had experience working with teenagers. Teaching football is not the same as teaching math but the principles are the same. A good teacher is respected by his students. If there is a poor relationship with the pupils it is very difficult to teach. In my situation, my pupils respect me and I respect them. My relationship with them is good so they listen to me and do as I tell them.

For my minor, I worked two days a week at IJburg college in Amsterdam. I teach the third class VMBO t, third class VMBO kader and the fourth class VMBO t. At IJburg college there are 80 nationalities, so it is a very diverse school. Which is very different from Maarn where I grew up. Maarn is a classic village with not that much nationalities. During my internship, I learned a lot about diversity and different cultures. Besides, I liked teaching on the VMBO level. It is a really nice thing to do. For me, VMBO might be the best level to teach to. I personally think that I can learn most from teaching at this level. All teachers say: "if you are able to give good lessons at IJburg college in the third and fourth class of the VMBO, you can be a good teacher everywhere". Outsiders always say that the pupils are difficult, but I would never say that. Some of them have difficult home situations, which affects their behaviour. 

The school has stolen my heart.

The pupils are really polite to me. I respect them and they respect me. My reviewers say that I have a great future as a teacher because of my pedagogically acting. The school has stolen my heart, if I ever become a teacher I want to work there.

Doing this minor was a good choice. I would recommend doing it. Even though you are the one that becomes a teacher, you learn a lot as well. You learn a lot about presenting, dealing with teenagers, how to explain math and about yourself as a person. Moreover, during the lectures I learnt a lot about psychology, pedagogy and didactics. 

The minor is quite intensive. On Monday I had lectures from 9:00 till 16:30 and then on Wednesday and Thursday was I working at IJburg college. During the other days was I busy with preparing the lectures, checking exams and meetings. Next to the minor, I also decided to do Numerical methods and Empirical Economics at the VU. I was really busy with studying, teaching and social activities. Fortunately, I like to be busy. So that half a year was a really nice time for me. The combination of teaching and studying was good for me, since teaching is a practical thing and studying is theoretical. This combination of both made my week varied. Moreover, being a teacher is nice because of that no day is the same. The job is very dynamic. I have experienced a lot of nice things, many funny conversations with the pupils and really nice excursions.

Learning how to explain is useful skill to have. It is not only useful as teacher but also for example for when you work at a company and have to explain models.

My advice is to challenge yourself when choosing your minor. The minor is a unique opportunity to do things that you would not otherwise do. Try not to always take the easy way. 

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