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> Maths teaching

That, as they say, was that

2008-06-23 20:54:00

*sigh* That was it...

Today I had my last two exams of this school year and, barring any mishaps, I won't have to redo them. Meaning that now my college career is officially over... For now. *sniffle* I'll definitely miss it.

Ah... *stretch* I'll be back in a few years; no doubt about that. Now! Off to do some work around the house!


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An exciting week up ahead!

2008-06-01 20:16:00

Little D, having a hard time sleeping. Courtesy of sinfest.net.

Man o man, is this week going to be exciting and busy! ^_^

For starters, tomorrow will be completely jam-packed! I'll start off with a morning at one of the schools I'm interviewing with, to get a taste of their atmosphere. After our very pleasant meeting two weeks ago, we wanted to make sure that I like the school well enough before getting down to real business.

I'll then head off to school, which lasts from 1200 until 2000, mixing three different courses with a small project that we're working on. After that I'll meet up with my ever-so lovely guidance counselor, to have a chat about my progress at school. She's been of great help to me this year and I think we can both be pleased with the progress I've made. :)

Tuesday, thursday and friday will be spent at the office, doing what we always do :) I'm working on a rather important project, which consists mostly of paperwork, to ensure the SOX compliancy of $CLIENT.

Wednesday will be a rather special day... I've taken the full day off from work (man, school is really cutting into my vacation hours!), to tackle no less than three interviews!

In the morning I'll visit a school here in Utrecht. They're pretty big on that New Learning thing and I'm quite interested to see how their school works. My classmate Badegul has told me a little about their school and they seem like a rather interesting lot! They're on the up-and-up when it comes to modern teaching methods.

Around lunch I'll pay a visit to Red Five in Woerden. They're the software developers and hosting company behind most of Ephorus' products. I spoke to Ephorus' director a few weeks ago and he set up a meeting for me at Red Five. Maybe I'll be able to provide some consulting on the side for these guys, while I'm working in education. Who knows? ^_^

Finally, in the late afternoon, I'll have a second job interview at a school in Maarsbergen. They only focus on the VMBO level of high school education, meaning that they're focused on getting kids ready for blue collar jobs and the service industry. Their school seems very nice, insofar that it's a bit small and everyone's acquainted. Also, their school's located in an old monastery in the middle of the woods. How cool is that?!

Finally, finally, next weekend will be Snow's annual summer get-together. This year, the whole company will gather on Texel (one of the islands on the dutch coast) to have some fun in the sun and sand. A whole bunch of them are going skydiving, but I opted to take along my homework and to ride my bike around a little bit.

So! Busybusybusy! But I'm actually feeling quite well under all the stress! ^_^


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Interviewing at regional high schools

2008-05-22 21:49:00

Today I took a few hours off from work, so I could go out for an interview at Oosterlicht College high school. I'd seen on their website that they were looking for math teachers and thought I ought to give it a whirl.

Their school is quite large, with around 1800 students at their main location, but I've heard good stuff about them. Besides, the school's been divided into two virtual departments, meaning that I'll only interact with about half of that number of students. In this case the job I'm shooting for is part of the VMBO track (the bottom of three ranks in the dutch high school system).

I had a nice talk with the section chief and the head of the maths team, which lasted for about 75 minutes. I think they were at least moderately interested in having me on their team and we agreed that I'd come and observe the school in full swing RSN(tm). If, after those few hours, I'd still like to work at the OC, then we'll have our official talk about the terms and such. So far, things are looking good :)

I was also reassured that, as a teacher, I wouldn't have to earn a lot less than what I'm getting right now. In the dutch educational system (primary and high school), personnel is divided into four salary groups: LA, LB, LC and LD. As a high school teacher I'd rank in LB, meaning that I'd start out at 2250 euros a month. However, since most schools are willing to match your current paycheck if you're leaving another field, I'd be making more. This would put me over halfway of the salary playing field in the LB class. In the end, this means that I won't be taking a pay cut, but that there is definitely less space for me to grow in the future.

Anywho... I'm quite excited about my first interview in the educational system! I was a bit anxious before we got started, but I soon felt at ease. It was just like any other interview I'd been too. Just a bit friendlier and for once I wasn't the stronger party :)


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"Banenmarkt", what an afternoon

2008-05-14 21:08:00

Wow, I am -beat-! =_=

The 1.5 hours I spent at the Banenmarkt at college really took it's toll on me :) It was a great gathering and I managed to speak to everyone I wanted to just barely within the time limit.

I dropped off a total of eight resumes, spoke to reps of eleven schools and have a few very good prospects. I also spoke with folks from three other educational organisations and their information was rather valuable as well (such as the perfectly swank Het Utrechts VO in kaart booklet).

A few reps seemed moderately positive about my suggestion of combining a teaching position/internship, with a full-time supporting role at their school. So that's a good sign :)

Right now, while I am still able of forming coherent sentences, I'm making sure I get all their contact info into my address book, so I can't lose it. After that I'm off to bed... I need some sleep...


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"Banenmarkt" at Hogeschool Utrecht

2008-05-14 09:27:00

A blouse, my resume and some calling cards.

An ironed shirt, a stack of resumes and a pouch of calling cards... This can only mean one thing! We're going networking again! ^_^

Today my department in college (hint: the .edu dept) 's holding their annual banenmarkt; call it a "career day" if you will. For about three hours, students will get a chance to talk to reps from all kinds of high schools in our region. The objective, of course, is to get your foot in the door for an internship or a teaching position.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm on the lookout for a real teaching position. I need the experience and I'm anxious to try my hand at a steady teacher's job. So, while I will definitely grasp any internships I can get, I will be on the prowl for fulltime jobs. Or at least to get my name out there.

This is going to be interesting! :)


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Teaching is popular. Maths even more so.

2007-08-31 07:00:00

Last night was the school year's official opening at Hogeschool Utrecht. Around 17:00 all aspiring tweedegraads teachers gathered in the cafeteria for a speech from the rector. It was interesting to see that the group was both large and varied. I reckon there were about a hundred people there, maybe one-twenty. Aged between twenty and somewhere in their fifties I saw a lot of caucasians, mixed in with a few turks and moroccans.

One startling realization was the fact that almost 50% of the group were there for the same degree I was after: tweedegraads maths teacher. I guess either it's a popular passtime, or people have caught on to the fact that maths teachers are sought after. All in all there's sixty people starting the maths course this year. Wow!

After the whole introduction and a tour of the school building (which we'll be leaving come January, to move to a new one) there were drinks. I finally got the chance to meet some of my fellow students. It's slightly daunting to know that a whole bunch of them are already in education, but I'm not going to let that get in my way :)

So far they seem like a nice bunch of people! There's the strong-and-silent guys, the rowdy drinking-after-playing-footbal guys, the silent-and-mousy women and so on. There was also this one woman (I think she's in her forties though I'm horrible at guessing ages) who's great! She's absolutely bubbling with enthusiasm for the course! Kind of like how I felt after my intake with the coordinator :)

Yes. This is going to be an interesting year!


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It'll be a grand year!

2007-08-22 08:58:00

My roster for this school year

There you have it: my school roster for this year. It may be a bit hard to read the first time around, but let me break it down for you.

The table shows all courses for both the first and second years of my study (english math teacher). All course are given on Monday and the appropriate times are shown on the left. The four columns to the right indicate each semester: there's four in a year and most courses are only given once a year.

Due to my prior experience and BCS in electronics I get to skip on approximately 100 - 130 ECTS out of the 240 ECTS required for the whole study. ECTS are the pan-European equivalent of America's credits. Because of that I can manage to squeeze in some of my second year courses in the first year. W00t! /o/

SEMESTER 1:

* Statistiek 1. I'll need to study both the math and the didactics behind statistics and the calculation of changes.

* SLB. This roughly translates as Study career guidance. We'll discuss my progress, the school itself, the materials. It's a bit of a meta-course.

* Vakdidactiek 2. A second year project on didactics and the interaction with students. I'll need to find out whether I can take this in the first semester without any big problems.

SEMESTER 2:

* Analyse 1. I can skip the math behind analytical math (differentials, integrals, logarithms), but I'll need to study the didactics.

* SLB. The same as the first semester.

* WER. Preparing for my internships, later in the year.

* Kijk op leerlingen. A project on the psychology and behaviour of students.

One challenge that I'm going to have to tackle is this. In my first two years I'll have the course WER, which stands for Work, Experience, Reflection. The second-year WER requires me to teach ten consecutive classes, one a week. This would mean that I'd have to convince Snow to allow me to take ten three-day work weeks. Ouch. So far I don't know how or when all of this will take place, but I'd better prepare a good story for Snow :)


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College applications take time

2007-08-16 10:28:00

Damn. I should've seen this coming.

I just phoned the IBG to check up on my college application. The school coordinator'd told me that my application would come through in time, but I decided to check up on it anyway. Nope. No sign of any application or registration yet. Apparently they take three to four weeks to process. Ugh!

Now I'm going to have to make arrangements with school to either study there unregistered, or to do some other red-tape trickery. It'll work itself out, but it still feels a little stressful.


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Big career changes: submitting my enrollment

2007-08-07 07:55:00

An envelope lying on a table.

Well, now there's absolutely no way back: I've sent in my application form for the local college. Hopefully I'll receive more information in a few days time.

I have to say that I rather dislike the application process though. In the Netherlands, there's one big organisation that handles 99% of the college and uni applications: Informatie Beheer Groep. They also take care of all student loans and grants and the resulting debts. As they are a governmental organisation, they allow one to log in using one's national DigID. This DigID is tied to one's social security number and allows one to get a lot of stuff done through the web. Thus one will not have to fill out endless forms, or to wait for hours at city hall.

Theoretically speaking that is. Because for some reason the IB Groep doesn't allow you to any applications online. Oh sure, they've made a very nice web app that'll walk you through the process of filling out the form with all the requisite data. Sure! But once the whole process is done, you're still going to have to print the form, sign it and send it in. :(

I thought we were getting that DigID (which includes SMS verificatin) to sign crap like this?

Anywho: the application is on its way! /o/


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Big career changes: talking to the college

2007-07-11 09:16:00

So far I've talked to the people in the field, the folks I should end up working with. Now, in order to get there I've started talking with the college I'm eyeing.

First off, here's the pages for the two courses that I need to decide between:

* Second degree teacher in English

* Second degree teacher in Math

I've talked to the secretariate of the english course. They told me I'd be able to enroll until the end of August, so that seems fine to me. They also suggested that I e-mail the course's coorinator to pose specific questions and to arrange for an intake meeting. At said meeting we'd discuss my curricilum and how it can be adjusted to fit my prior experience.

So. Off to send an e-mail I am!


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Big career changes: talking to the experts

2007-07-10 23:47:00

I can heartily recommend anyone considering a career switch to go and have a chat with people who work in their aspired field.

I made a little visit to my old high school this morning, to talk to their HR guy. He gave me a lot of valuable tips and suggested that a part-time study would indeed be the best and safest option for me. He indicated that it would be nigh on impossible for me to get a zij-instroom position, due to my lack of experience.

He also suggested that I go have a talk with the CWI (Centrum voor Werk en Inkomen), the part of the dutch government charged with work and job security. He reckoned that I might strike a lucky deal with them, getting a subsidy for hours I didn't spend working for Snow. In order to make time for my education I'd need to cut back on my working hours (and thus my monthly wages) by about 40%. This grant might help cover for at least part of the money I'd miss out on.

Tomorrow I'll also make a phone call with the CO of another high school. His number was given to me by my father's girlfriend who happens to work with the fellow. I'm curious if he has some other useful tips for me :)


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Big career changes: where do we go from here?

2007-07-10 23:34:00

Now that I'd decided to become a teacher, it left me with even more questions (duh). Which subject would I teach? At what kind of school? What kind of education do I need? Where do I study? How will this fit in with my job? Will I even be able to keep my job? OMG, will we be able to pay our mortgage and still have food on the table?! ONOZ!

Stuff like that.

Well... I quickly decided that I'd like to teach english or math at a high school level. I can wax lyrically about both subjects and both fields offer me with loads of new stuff to learn and explore.

So... How do you go from having a completely unrelated job, to being a teacher? Here's how... (mind you, all of this applies to the Netherlands).

You start out with two options:

1. You take up a part-time or full-time college education. (deeltijd or voltijd in dutch).

2. You take up a part-time teaching position and follow additional classes to become a real teacher.

This second option is called zij-instroom in dutch and really is only an option if your ambitions lie in teaching the same field you worked in. So for example, I could get a zij-instroom position teaching Comp Sci at high schools, whereas a biologist could start teaching Biology. Zij-instroom however requires you to have real and provable experience in said field, including the degrees that come with it. You will also need to take an entrance exam because they won't let just everybody start teaching. Should you be accepted for zij-instroom, then you'll get a two-year teaching permit, which is directly connected to a contract between you and the school in question.

Anywho... What with zij-instroom not being an option for my two chosen fields (I have neither a degree, nor work experience in english or math) I have to opt for the longer path. Getting into a full-time education (voltijd) really isn't an option for me anymore: I wouldn't have any income, I'd be bored stiff and I'd be in a class full of eighteen year olds. Which automatically guides me towards a part-time education.

Luckily every college in the Netherlands offers deeltijd educations for professionals looking for a career switch, or an upgrade to their knowledge. The Hogeschool Utrecht offers teachers educations that are actually reputable and it's close to my home as well! Now all that remains is to convince my employer to let me work either three or four days a week. *gulp*


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Big career changes: prelude

2007-07-10 22:25:00

This blog post was made invisible initially. It has now been made available to the Internet at large. Sorry for breaking continuity :D

Back in April, I felt like crap. Then, in June, it came back. Now, with the start of July I've made my decision:

I'm getting out of IT.

That day in June something snapped inside of me and I decided that I could no longer carry on working as a sysadmin. The work no longer motivates me, nor does it offer me some shine of glamour. I know that, while there are still endless, uncharted seas for me to discover, this field no longer holds a challenge for me. I know that whatever I'll need to learn, I'll be able to do so in a few days. Lather, rinse, repeat, until I grow old.

No thank you.

No longer will I be shifting bits and bytes around, being a faceless peon in a huge corporation. No longer will I be burning midnight oil at the altar of Unix.

Instead I will make difference in this world and I will be of use to the general public. I will try to educate this world's children, nudging them into directions they might otherwise ignore.

I have decided to go into education and become a high school teacher.


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