From salesman to teacher, interview with Joris van der Straten. Nominated for “Teacher of the Year”
Who is Joris and how did you end up here?
I am Joris van der Straten and I have been working at Fontys Hogeschool ICT as a teacher in the ICT & Business team for 2 years and 2 months now. Before that I was working in sales, something different altogether! But that never really made me happy, it didn't motivate me. My sister was already working at Fontys in Tilburg. I said to myself: I'm not going to do that, maybe once I am 60 years old! I moved to Eindhoven and somehow things got rolling. Before I stared working here, I travelled a lot for my job and I had some really cool experiences. There was also a downside to it though. I teach the subject Business Administration ICT, informatics subjects, subjects in the start semester, guidance in internships and I am a so called 'blokeigenaar' of one semester. In this job it's all about people and not about money, like my previous job. That really appeals to me. The ICT & Business team is fabulous!
Why do you think students signed you up?
I teach subjects that can be pretty complicated and tedious at times. Many ICT & Business students are not really into my subjects, but it's part of the game. It's a satisfying thing to see students actually understand, and to some degree liking the matter at the end of the semester. That's what I'm aiming for. Last week I even ran into a student who said: " I didn't pass your subject, but I nominated you anyway". I consider that a great compliment.
Students say the following about you:
"Joris is not just very accessible to students. Students easily grasp the subject matter, because his lessons are structured very well."
"Joris is very motivated to teach his students new things. He also helps those who are already a bit more advanced to grow even further, he really does what he can to facilitate that. But he's also there for students who are having a somewhat harder time fully understanding the subject matter. His lessons are unique and he constantly has your attention."
"To me, Joris has been the teacher of the year from the start on."
"To me, Joris van der Straten really is the teacher of the year. The other teachers cannot compete with him, not just because of his enthusiasm and humour, but especially because of his extensive knowledge of the subject and the fantastic way he is transferring this information. He is also very involved with his students and able to motivate everybody in such a way that it brings up the best in them. Our SQL-king deserves it to become teacher of the year!"
What do you think of these quotes?
Obviously, that makes me proud. And it's really nice to read this! I'm curious which students said these things.
Do you consider it an honour that students have nominated you?
Absolutely, I had never expected that. It's also a motivation to go on. I also think it's important to tell my own story to students and to motivate them during their studies. For instance, I didn't pass my propaedeutics in one year and I often considered my study to be of secondary importance. At that moment I was busy with other things like music. I often see myself in students. By telling my story, I hope to inspire them to really go for that degree. Because that's very important, it enables you to be successful. It doesn't harm to try.
How did your family react to your nomination?
Of course my girlfriend is very proud! And my sister of course is hearing all about it, because she's working at Fontys herself. She just sent an email to my parents reading "proud sister." Really nice to read.
What, to you, is the best about your work at FHICT?
In my previous job, all contact with other people was quick and shallow. You just had a few objectives and once you reached them, you went on. A really good salary, but that's not all there is. As a teacher you're helping the same people for an extended period. That's something I really enjoy. You have to motivate students and of course laugh a lot. Within the B-team, everybody really cares about each other, a really nice group of people.
Students can vote until (and including) Monday 7 December 23:59. Are you going to promote yourself?
No, not personally. I consider it a great honour to have been nominated and I think it's okay this way. I'm keeping cool about it. It's funny to see all these posters with my face on it throughout the building, and some colleagues are actively busy collecting votes for me. I take that as a compliment. I think it's nice that Fontys Hogeschool ICT is in the spotlight more now, but personally I don't really have to be there. Even though, of course, I am very proud to be nominated!