I work at ArtEZ University of the Arts. In this huge academy you can study architecture, creative writing, dance, design, fashion, fine art, theatre and music. As a musician, teacher and coordinator I work for the music department.
It’s the school where I started as a student in 1990, where I really learned how to play the piano, where I witnessed at least 5 different directors (and even more ideas how to run such an organisation) where you can get lost in the building, where I lost and found love and where one has an amazing view over the river forelands: by far the most beautiful place to teach, play and organize. My main job is in Arnhem, with international, creative, authentic and gifted students and ditto heads of the 2 different departments (Music Theatre and Jazz&Pop).
In 2013 the Jazz&Pop department changed their Dutch curriculum to an English one. This is a substantial difference with a lot of consequences. Students from all over the world come to Arnhem nowadays and can follow all the lessons in English. They don’t have to learn Dutch anymore, although several still do. That’s quite handy if you want to get a teaching job in Holland after your study. So the programme changed, the students as well (more Spanish, Italian, Korean and Chinese) but the teachers have stayed the same. We Dutch think that we rule the world and speak fluent English, German and the language of knowing better (no doubt about the last one). I’m Dutch as well and I had a clear idea about my capacities concerning the English language: definitely better than the French.
Next to my job as a coordinator I teach education to the first year Jazz&Pop students. I love that job, despite the fact that not every student has an intrinsic motivation for that particular subject. Three groups of 15 students, partly motivated, three times 75 minutes, starting on MONDAY MORNING at 8.45. I try to let them play as much as possible, but most of the time we discuss education subjects. In English. Not always easy.
The vocabulary of education is not so difficult and different from common language but to explain everything in at least two different ways, to think fast (and react not too fast), to give subtle feedback and thoughtful suggestions in English is a different cup of tea. I don’t want to lose any quality as a teacher, using another language, but I have the feeling that I do.
Back in secondary school the teenager I was, exulted with every sufficient mark. There were more important issues at that time (take a guess…) than getting high marks. (Nostalgic images flow through my brains right now: “so foul and fair a day I have not seen”) But nowadays I’m not, now I want to know and learn. ArtEZ supports that: together with the head of the Jazz&Pop department I attend the intensive English course at “in’to Languages” at Radboud University.
So I will do my homework: write a 500-word blog every week. I’m almost there. It took me more than 2 weeks to start and 2 hours to write it down. Feels like 30 years ago.