A private teacher at home

Children running rampant around the house, colleagues on your computer screen. The combination of working from home and home schooling is a big challenge for many parents and children. Two staff members of the HRM department came up with a win-win situation: mobilising Educational Theory students as home teachers.

‘Many parents are having a hard time keeping all the balls in the air during lockdown,’ explains programme manager Yvonne Boender. ‘And this situation seems to be lasting quite a long time,’ according to HR business partner Miranda Mellegers. ‘It’s a true test of self sufficiency and perseverance.’

At home

Because of the lockdown, work and home life are much more intertwined. While parents are very busy, many students find themselves at home with a lighter study load. ‘A number of students have been unable to start an internship or find an internship position,’ explains Dorien Pool, lecturer Educational Theory. ‘There have been many rejections because of the 1.5 metre distance rule and people working from home.’

Time for lunch

The idea for home schooling quickly emerged during an online meeting. Yvonne: ‘We see many colleagues struggling to focus on their work and also give attention to their children. At our university of applied sciences, many colleagues and students want to contribute out of a community spirit. ‘It began with a half hour activity, such as a drawing class, so parents would have time to eat their lunch.’

Share the idea

Yvonne and Miranda reached out to the Educational Theory degree programme to ask if students could be mobilised to provide a more comprehensive form of home education. And the idea quickly spread throughout the entire organisation. Dorien: ‘The idea first found its way to the internship coordinator and then we heard about it.’ And it was the perfect fit. ‘At our Educational Theory programme we have an elective course in the foundation programme, where students can earn 1 credit by working on a professional educational task.’

Student in the house

After an assessment, we set up a pilot group with 12 colleagues and students. Both the parent and the student could express a preference for online study support or having the student come to their house. And there is a huge need, Dorien observes. ‘Within one day we had matched all 12 students to our colleagues.’

Win-win-win situation

This has resulted in ‘a wonderful win-win- win situation,’ explains Miranda. ‘We have a lot of colleagues with elementary school-aged children.’ While the parents can dedicate more time to their work at home, the children receive education and play activities at home. And the student acquires much-needed practical experience. Dorien: ‘Many first-year students are stuck behind a computer and experience fewer social interactions.’

Laughter

First-year Educational Theory student Marilja Teixeira recognises herself in this description. ‘At home I am easily distracted. My internship at a daycare was also cancelled. It feels good to help and it’s good for my own development.’ The first reactions from the parents confirm the idea’s success. Miranda: ‘I received an email from a colleague who wrote that she was able to work upstairs while she could hear her son laughing downstairs with his own private teacher. That really made me happy.’

Jungle gym in the living room

Yvonne and Miranda are planning to scale up the idea. ‘We will soon reach out to a broader group, starting with the degree programme for Physical Education Teacher Training. I can picture us building jungle gyms at home.’