Student - December 13, 2012

Who is the best teacher

Who? Jiska van der Reest, student of Molecular Nutrition
What? Chair of the Teacher of the Year Award jury
Why? Will be figuring out who is the best teacher at Wageningen.

So? A busy time of it?
'It is extremely busy, much busier than I had expected. This year we are on the late side, so everything has to be done quickly. In the next two weeks we'll be interviewing the teachers on the long list: 16 of them in total. And they are all around the world: in Japan, Hawaii, China, America. So I'm on Skype a lot. They all feel very honoured to have been nominated - they call it the nicest evaluation they could have.'
This year the system is a bit different. Students could nominate any teacher, so there was a choice of 1088 candidates. Does that lead to some surprising names being put forward?
'There are a couple of new names on the list. And they react with great surprise, sometimes because they have only been teaching here for two or three years. But of course you also see the names coming up of teachers who have been nominated before. They are teachers with such a passion for their subject that students get enthusiastic about their classes every year.'
What do you pay attention to in assessing the nominations?
'We have standard lists of questions about their background, the way they teach and how they interact with students. We also ask them about their intrinsic motivation for teaching. That is very important to students. The jury is made up of both Dutch and international students from a range of different backgrounds. That way we all pay attention to different things. I have set aside a whole evening for the final jury meeting when we will decide on the winner.'

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