Student - October 15, 2015

Jury chair Teacher of the Year: reward the gem teacher

Linda van der Nat

In a few weeks the Teacher of the Year elections will start. Jaco Slingerland, chair of the new student jury for the yearly prize would like to see new faces on the list.

The jury of the Teacher of the Year Award. From left to right: Maaike Vollering, Sina Alea Kugis, Douwe de Vries, Jaco Slingerland and Vincenzo Calabrese. Teun Fiers is not present on the photo.

From the 28th of October until the 6th of November students that have studied for longer than one year are allowed to vote for their favourite teacher. Subsequently, the student jury, made up of six students of different studies, will hold extensive conversations with the fifteen teachers that receive the most votes. Based on those conversations the jury will make a shortlist of five best teachers. And one of them will win the Teacher of the Year Award.

The list of favourite students often contain the same names. Understandable, says Jaco Slingerland. ‘I also had lectures from Teachers of the Year such as André van Lammeren, Arie Terlouw and Dolf Weijers and those lectures I remember best. And still he thinks that the Teacher of the Year Award is a nice opportunity to put a teacher in the spotlight that because of top-ranking teachers such as Huub Savelkoul, Frits Claassen and Gert Peek they generally do not win. ‘The focus might be too much on the best, while there are plenty of good teachers
walking around in Wageningen,’ says Jaco. ‘The price is a great initiative to reward the teacher that does his work really well, but it is also an ideal concept to stimulate teachers to keep on developing themselves, so that they can also join the top.’

This does not mean that the jury will avert former winner or former elected teachers, Jaco emphasizes. ‘When putting together the shortlist we will focus on the question: ‘What is the teacher doing to improve himself and the students?’ The six students for example want to know if the teachers follow recent developments, if they use social media, stimulate students to think outside of their profession and if they also have an eye for personal development of the student, besides academic development. ‘Teachers can influence, they are the ideal example for students to advance.’

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