"My union membership was a matter of course."

Passion for teaching is timeless

These former teachers have been in the classroom for forty, fifty or sixty years and have been members of the AOb. Much has changed, but their love for the profession has remained.

Margje Cornelissen-Meelker (62) has been a member of the AOb:

'Who knows, I might take another year with me'

“I can still see myself on my very first day at work. After all kinds of internships, I had my own classroom for the first time, as a substitute teacher, but it didn't make any difference to the feeling. I opened the windows and was very aware of the fact that I was going to do it all myself from now on. That it was my class with my students.

It was always clear to me that I wanted to be a teacher. My mother, aunt and grandfather worked in education. My own three children have consciously not done that, so it was not so logical that you pass it on to the next generation. Because I come from a real red nest, my union membership was a matter of course. In my experience I was even a student member while I was studying at the pedagogical academy.

No job to be found

I started working at a time, in the early eighties, when there was absolutely no job to be found. After a year I was offered a permanent contract in Alkmaar through gathered hours as a permanent substitute at Montessori schools in Amsterdam. After ten years of Montessori education, I started at a regular primary school in Wormer, the place where I lived with my family. There I had a job-share with a permanent colleague for over ten years.

'It's such a cool job'

We did group 3 together and fit together perfectly. She: creative, impulsive and messy. Me: also creative, but structured, tidy and of the fixed lines. Then I came into the classroom after her day at work and it was a big mess. I couldn't get angry at all because she had left a beautiful blackboard drawing on the chalkboard that matched the theme we were working on. I could so enjoy her creations: themed corners, crafts, blackboard and window drawings.

A fantastic period to look back on. I haven't been in front of the class for years, I'm for the AOb go to work. But who knows that I will take another year in the future. It's such a cool job.”

Arnold Moerman (76) has been a member of the AOb.

'It was terrible that the school burned down'

Moerman: “Because I hadn't taken geometry and algebra subjects at secondary school, but trade subjects, I couldn't go to the training college. That's why I started in the early eighties with an office job in a cannery, but the desire to become a teacher lingered in the back of my mind. I had a Ciske the rat idea when I was a teacher. Then I would help children who were not having a good time at home. After having picked up my maths with private lessons from a former teacher, I was still allowed to go to the evening nursery school and within five years, in addition to my work, I still obtained my diploma.

'I had a Ciske the rat idea when I was a teacher'

I started in 1972 at a primary school in IJmuiden, where I worked until 2005, and attended the first class. In the new school year that became class 6. It has remained my favorite class throughout my career, especially the school trips were highlights. The Ciske de rat effect has certainly occurred. Sometimes in a violent form, with children who had an aggressive father at home and came to school with a black eye. But also in lighter forms, with students who were not seen, but who certainly had something to offer.

Not to move

For example, I once had a boy in 8th grade who just stared into space and couldn't be moved no matter what I tried. He went to lts and came to me years later with a hts degree and eventually became a director of a large company. We've always kept in touch.

The worst thing that happened to me in my career is that the school in IJmuiden burned down in June 1982 after an arson attack. We had been to the Simon & Garfunkel concert with some colleagues and got home late. Around three o'clock in the morning my neighbor was at the door: 'If you still want to see the school, you have to be quick!' That night everything was burned, terrible. It took years before we had a new building again.”

Leendert de Jong (84) has been a member for 60 years AOb.

'I would like to apply Dalton education for a while'

Leendert de Jong: “When I look back on my career, I feel great happiness. I have planned little, much has come my way. Then someone would say 'They're still looking for a music teacher there' or: 'You should call them'. And then something beautiful always came out. For my very first job I ended up in North Holland from Apeldoorn. It was 1960, I had finished the teacher training college and there was a major teacher shortage, comparable to the situation today.

I applied to a primary school in Alkmaar and was accepted. It was a wonderful folk school with spontaneous children. At that time there were still those fixed wooden school desks with an inkwell in the middle. During my studies I had made a paper about Dalton education and I thought I would apply it for a while. I did that in my second year when we got separate tables. The principal of the school was fine with me putting the tables in groups of four, but that didn't work at all. It became a big chaos. After half a year everything was back in a row two by two.

'As far as I'm concerned, there is now too little singing in the classes'

As a teacher, as it was then called, I already gave music lessons and sang a lot with the children. Folk songs like Three geese in the oat straw en Nobis Pacem were in the repertoire. Wonderful songs to sing as canon. As far as I'm concerned, there is now too little singing in the classes, it helps to relax and start the day well. In the end, I retrained as a school music teacher in the evenings and switched to secondary education.

Naughty little boy

I enjoyed working at various schools in the area, from Alkmaar to Sint Pancras. Sometimes I run into former students at the bakery or see a well-known name in the newspaper, of a man in his sixties who I know was once a naughty boy.”

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