As the month of April arrives, thousands of high schoolers find the national school-leaving exams bearing down on them with alarming speed. Owing to the corona measures, it has been a strange final-exam year for these students, with regular interruptions to their schooling. Those among them who could use a little extra help, particularly when it comes to science subjects, can call on a TU/e student as Eindhoven School of Education (ESoE) is participating in the national campaign ‘Studentinzet op school’, which places student tutors in schools.
Professor Jan van der Veen explains that the campaign was launched at the end of March. “The Ministry of Education has made some additional funding available for the initiative so that schools can hire students to help final-exam students with the last push. Help with science subjects in particular is being requested, which suits many TU/e students just perfectly and we are seeing plenty of enthusiasm.” More than two hundred students have now signed up and there is still time to register. Van der Veen says he is slightly overwhelmed by the size of this number.
With this large number of registrations comes an incidental benefit, so he believes. “This is one way students can discover teaching, and then we can encourage them to consider a teacher training program at TU/e.” Before the students can get started supervising the high schoolers they are given intensive training to give them a good grasp of teaching theory. “During the training course we introduce students to every aspect of teaching and, of course, these areas are dealt with repeatedly during full-length teacher training. We hope this catches on and that the students are keen to learn more,” says Van der Veen.
Undeniably, though, for many of the students who have registered simply having paid work again has been a very important factor. With the outbreak of the corona pandemic many of them lost their regular student jobs. Hospitality and catering has been closed for months and for many students that is one of their biggest employers. With as yet no sign of any relaxation to come in this sector, they are looking for alternatives - even short-term ones.
One of these students is Laurens Verhart, a third-year bachelor's student of Biomedical Engineering. Verhart: “This job was more than welcome. Even though it is only for a little while. My social contacts have been diminishing steadily this past year. I live in a studio and that can be lonely if you're also having to follow lectures online.” In short, the chance to escape the routine of daily life for a while by tutoring one or two high schoolers seemed like a nice change, thought Verhart.
The same applies to first-year student Jesse van der Meer. For this student of Psychology and Engineering the chance to help others was the main appeal. “I've got time on my hands now and I'd like to offer some support to other people. This is a nice way of doing that.”