About my career in education.
As a young girl I knew I wanted to be a school teacher, and that is how it went. Being Roman Catholic and with no Catholic teacher training college in Groningen, I was sent to a boarding school in Steenwijkerwold, where I got my teacher certificate. Getting my first job turned out to be quite easy. In 1959 there was an enormous shortage of teachers. At one point three heads of Roman Catholic schools were knocking on my parents’ door. I opted for the Ludgerus (Sacred Heart) School, a school for girls and boys. But my class had only boys in it. I worked there for twelve years and enjoyed my teaching job very much.
In 1971 I became a mother. In primary education part-time work was not possible in those days. Before long the principal of the Roman Catholic Martinus Mavo was on my doorstep. They too had a great shortage of teaching staff. We made arrangements at home for the baby so that I could start my career as a History teacher at the Mavo. Simultaneously I started my study for History teacher. I was very happy at the Mavo and continued teaching there for twenty years. Every school year I was a class teacher for one of the forms. I considered it my most important task to teach pupils how to study and thus increase their confidence and pleasure in learning.
After twenty years this career came to an end. My school merged with Sint Maartenscollege and I had to say goodbye to many colleagues who could retire because of their advanced age. I was eight months too young to retire! But the transition went smoothly. I felt like a fish in water at Sint Maartens’. I was class teacher again and taught exciting classes about the ‘past imperfect’.
After a beautiful farewell-party in the year 2000, as Her Majesty with a proper Queen’s Speech, I retired. Pupils sometimes asked me if they could call me by my first name. My answer always was: ‘One does not address H.M. by her first name!’
I never had to write a letter of application. I was always asked for a job. I can look back on a wonderful educational career.
A visit from the school inspector!
When I was teaching my first primary school class (56 boys!), we got a visit from the school inspector. He opened the door, looked around the room, said: ‘Oh, I see…’ and left. I went after him and urged him to come into my classroom. I said: ‘My pupils are literally up against the walls. This is maltreatment of both children and teacher. I will file an official complaint with the union.’
After the Christmas break my class was split in two.
Goodbye Martinus Mavo and Hello Maartenscollege.
All the colleagues of Martinus Mavo organized a farewell-party for the pupils. It turned out to be a roaring event.
Back home I discussed the options I had. My daughter came up with the idea of a Tina Turner impersonation, since I had done that informally at home. I suggested it to the organizing committee. They reacted with enthusiasm. Next day there was a large poster of Tina Turner on the front door of the school: COMING SOON TO THIS THEATRE!
I was scheduled for the grand finale. I practiced seriously with my daughter. I dressed and was made up like Tina Turner; a sexy miniskirt which my husband came up with and a ditto blouse I already had. Somebody waved a banner: ‘Mum, you are the best!’ quoting Tina Turner. My performance was a great success. Back at Maartenscollege the word had got around: my students wanted to see my act too. But I never repeated it. Never repeat your finest performance!. Ex-pupils sometimes remind me of that evening. Sweet memories.