Picking students from the program too early is not a good idea for anyone.
Picking students from the program too early is not a good idea for anyone.

Picture: Nanne Meulendijks

Student in front of class is vulnerable

Many students are in front of the class even before they have graduated. It is called 'Groenpluk' when students get a job before they have obtained a diploma. Nine questions about a practice that is popular among employers because of the teacher shortage.

When does green picking occur?

Green picking is when a student gets an appointment and starts working at a school before he is able to start. “We are seeing more and more that even first- and second-year students are teaching,” says Pascale Lucassen, project employee of Platform Training & Professionalizing Together. “Certainly for the shortage subjects of German, technology and Dutch in secondary education.”

She says students are more than happy to say yes out of enthusiasm if they are offered a job; they often take it as a compliment. “They prefer a job in education to a part-time job in a supermarket, for example.” It is more difficult for students to see that there is also another side, says Grietje Dijkstra, Dutch teacher at MBO Amersfoort and chairman of Groene Golf, the AObaction group of young teachers. “If you get an offer where you will earn more than with another part-time job, you have to be firmly in your shoes not to do it.”

Are you a teacher trainer or are you involved in a different way with starters (for example as institute trainers, school trainers, or workplace/internship supervisors)? Then talk about green picking!

How often does it happen?

From a survey of six hundred young AObmembers in secondary education and from discussions with novice teachers, trainers and administrators in the sector, Investico, the platform for investigative journalism, concluded last year that about 60 percent of young teachers were offered a paid job during their studies. In Rotterdam there is said to be 'student robbery'. For example, 95 percent of the second-year students of the physics teacher training program at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences have already been appointed. This meant that schools could not take on new trainees, because they can only be supervised by qualified teachers.

'You still have a study breathing down your neck'

What makes a working student vulnerable?

Coba van der Veer, teacher trainer and teacher of Dutch at the PABO of the Christelijke Hogeschool Ede: “Of course there are good students, but even if you are very good, you have to watch the shop with such a job. You fill in gaps. You don't have an overview of the individual learning processes of children over the whole week. You also have no overview of the social-emotional side and private files and you lack insight into group processes. And what if an angry parent walks into your classroom before class? It is not easy even for a starting teacher to react adequately in such a situation.” It is also questionable whether a student who starts work early will get a good picture of the profession. “You don't know many things yet and you always have a study breathing down your neck. You will experience even more work pressure, which makes it easy to think: This is a madhouse.”

What are the consequences of green picking?

Although there are no concrete figures, study programs state that the group of long-term students is increasing. This would be because students already have a job in education. There is a chance that these students drop out prematurely. Lucassen: “In the first five years, the dropout rate among teacher training graduates is about 25 to 30 percent. That's big. Green picking makes extra vulnerable.”

“It is certainly not only bad if you appoint students”

What does Groenpluk do with the quality of education?

That is a complicated question, says Lucassen. “Because it is certainly not only bad if you appoint students. They are young, enthusiastic, feel very involved with students and often have a lot of experience in providing digital education. So they also bring energy. We do know that if people have small working time factors, they make a smaller contribution to the school as a whole.”

Is green picking wrong by definition?

Groenpluk can indeed have a positive outcome. This has emerged from the doctoral research of Izaak Dekker, researcher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He researched the study success and well-being of students. This also concerned the consequences of green picking. Together with Erik van Schooten, lecturer at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Dekker looked at the credits earned over four years by all future teachers who started at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in 2016. In the accompanying survey, 132 students reported how much time they spent each semester on paid work within or outside of education.

At the start of their studies, 71 percent had a job outside education. At the end, 55 percent had a job in education. Dekker saw that students who did paid work in education did not slow down on average. “They actually did better on average than students who did not work in education.” The researcher was surprised by the results. “I knew the stories of students who got into trouble because they were pushed to add another class.” Is the conclusion that we think too negatively about green picking? Dekker qualifies: “I did the research at a university of applied sciences that actively tells schools that they should only offer jobs to students who are doing well and who are on schedule. You can say that green picking in this context does not seem to have a negative effect on average.”

Students need more backing

Is there a success formula for green picking?

A strong back-up at school is crucial, according to Rob Witte, who was appointed as an economics teacher at the Alkwin Kollege in Uithoorn during his studies. “I had a section with experienced teachers with whom I could consult; if I ran into something, there was always someone I could turn to. The guidance for all starters is well organized at the Alkwin. They get together every week to discuss.”

But even with good supervision, it differs per person whether the combination of study and an appointment works out well. So says Lieke Kievits, biology teacher, school educator at the Alkwin and member of the AObnetwork Training teachers. “If people overestimate themselves and ask for little help, they can still get into trouble.”

“What also helps is that I have already gained some life experience,” says Witte. “I first worked as an IT manager. I now know that I can manage in a new work environment. For someone in their twenties, that is a completely different story.”

What has to happen?

As long as there is a teacher shortage, there will be green picking. The most important thing is therefore that a solution is found for the teacher shortage. Lucas says. And until then: “Being and staying in conversation with each other. Students must be well informed about their rights. No, you are not a bad employee if you cancel because you have to fulfill study obligations. And if you reject an offer, it may not affect your internship. Students need more backing. Education, in particular, can play a role in this. We also have to call on internship schools: if you really want someone, make sure that they can first get their diploma.”

'Recruiters often work coercively and shamelessly'

And the recruiters?

Recruiters must be given notice, says Lucassen. “The use of recruiters is a handy cloth for the bleeding, but they often work forcefully and shamelessly. It is difficult for a student to argue with someone who has been trained to sell you his services. Boards have large HR departments. Let them recruit more actively instead of hiring expensive workers. And dare to give people permanent contracts and not always an annual contract. There is enough work.”

Are you following a teacher training course? Then fill in the before February 17th AOb starters survey on guidance and (internship) allowances. Go to the questions

On Monday, February 20 at 16.30:XNUMX p.m. it organizes AObnetwork Educating teachers an online meeting about green picking. 



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