On Tuesday 17 January, the Teacher of the Year 2012 will be announced. The five nominees are all good at explaining things and are enthusiastic about their subjects. They also know how to pass on their enthusiasm to their students.
Third Year BSc Business and Consumer Studies
‘I did the course on Decision Science with Frits Claassen. He gave very clear and well-structured examples, which meant that when you went over your notes you got a good overview of the material. His clear way of teaching makes him Teacher of the Year for a lot of students!'
First year MSc Animal Sciences
‘I have never had a teacher who went to such lengths to convey the subject matter as Frits Claassen does. He teaches enthusiastically and works clearly, using coloured chalks - ‘very convenient' - on the board. He explains the theory in the book clearly, gives good examples, and outlines in detail the steps he takes in his calculations. What is more, he senses when he's going too fast. Then he says, ‘I'll step on the brake'. I found the course difficult, but if I don't pass it's not the teacher's fault.'
Third year BSc Soil, Water and Atmosphere
‘Jan Willem van Groenigen should win the Teacher of the Year award because really he's still a bit of a student himself. He is younger that most teachers and that makes him easier to follow and to understand. He thinks along with the students. What was really noticeable about his classes was that right from the start you were on first-name terms and you worked on practicals more like colleagues, really. At the end of the six weeks the students and teachers went to the Vlaam for a drink. That is pretty unique isn't it?
Boyen van Gorp
Fourth year BSc Soil, Water and Atmosphere
‘Jan Willem van Groenigen is the earthworm expert in soil biology, and he does experiments with them. Even when he's on holiday he takes the time to check what the earthworms in the area look like. Jan Willem always has bets with his fellow teachers about how the soil fauna will react in an experiment. If the earthworms have a negative effect, the tradition is that Jan Willem has to buy a round at the Vlaam.'
Rick van Meurs
Second year BSC Forest and Nature Management
‘Marthijn Sonneveld can explain things very well; he's very to the point, and doesn't tell long-winded stories. He can answer your questions in a couple of minutes. During practicals he is a clear-headed tower of strength. If he is one of the supervisors, I would always rather ask him if I have a question. He really helps you. If you are completely stuck, he answers straightaway, but if you are nearly there, he asks questions which help you figure it out for yourself. He has a good sense of what a student needs in order to understand the subject.'
Pieter-Bas van der Lei
Second year BSc Forest and Nature Management
‘Marthijn Sonneveld is a good teacher, totally dedicated to his subject. He explains things clearly by using his hands while he talks to make it come alive. When he explains how to spread the soil over your hand, he makes the gesture with his hands. During his lectures you can also see the soil and the methods on the slides which you will be dealing with in the field work later. It's very nice, the way he connects the theory and the field work. I think he thoroughly deserves to win the Teacher of the Year award.'
Sixth year Animal Sciences
‘It doesn't surprise me at all that Huub Savelkoul has been nominated again for Teacher of the Year. He is very enthusiastic and can explain complex things both simply and in detail. He makes an abstract subject such as immunology clear through good visual aids. For example, he illustrates an antibody by standing with his arms spread wide in a Y shape, and then he explains that each of his hands can now bind one antigen. That image stays with you better than the lecture slides.'
Fourth year Biology
‘Huub Savelkoul is a warm and friendly man. He's got something he really wants to tell you and he does that with such enthusiasm that you would almost feel guilty if you skipped his lectures. He uses good examples that you really remember. Like the way he calls the thymus, where T cells are produced, a ‘military academy', and he compares natural killer cells to Al-Qaeda - the body's terrorists. I still remember that two years after his lectures.'
Sixth year Leisure, Tourism and Environment
‘Ljiljana Rodic-Wiersma knows how to interest the whole class with her enthusiasm. You would never fall asleep in one of her classes. If you ask a question, she rephrases it so that you come up with the right answer yourself.' That is a very nice way of teaching because it teaches you to think about the subject matter yourself. According to Ljiljana, we are here to learn, so she always has time for students with questions after the class as well.'
Renske den Exter
Second year MSc Urban Environmental Management
‘I nominated Ljiljana Rodic-Wiersma as Teacher of the Year because she can explain things so clearly. She teaches you to think logically in a way that makes difficult problems simple. She asks a lot of questions so as to involve everyone in the classes, and she uses photos and examples from different countries, so as to appeal to international students as well. She travels a lot herself and uses her own photos in lectures. If students go on a trip abroad they also send her photos, so that her lectures are never the same twice. Personal stories are brought in as well, which brings the subject to life more.'
Fifth year Nutrition and Health
‘I never vote for Teacher of the Year because I don't know most of the teachers. If a teacher only has a small number of students because he teachers a highly specialist subject, or doesn't teach all year round, he will be less well-known and therefore less popular. And a teacher of an unpopular subject such as Maths T is also less likely to be nominated. It is just much easier to make yourself popular when you teach a subject students have opted to do. But it is precisely the teachers with the smaller classes who often have more time for their students, but these teachers don't get nominated because their sphere of influence is much smaller.'
Agnes Tol and Suzanne Overbeek