Planting seeds of knowledge all over the world
I love biking as a way of transportation: it is the perfect way to wake up in the morning and to clear your head in the afternoon. I used to bike to work all the time when I lived in Ede. Unfortunately I live further away now so I don’t do it every day. I recently bought an E-bike (a mountain bike type of bike), so I will hopefully do it more often in future. It is also a great way to be in touch with the seasons and your surroundings, you can see so much more detail compared to when you’re travelling by car. I often stop to study for instance the water level of the Rhine river, or a drought –struck heather field on the Posbank. They are perfect places to take pictures for my next lecture.
Finding connection with students
I love being a teacher. It is such a joy to help students really understand a process. Sometimes people wonder if it doesn’t become tiring to explain the same thing over and over again. But I don’t mind that at all, because it doesn’t feel like doing the same thing. Every group and every student is different. It is really a matter of finding the connection with them. When I am teaching, only part of my brain is focussing on the contents. The other part is trying to see if the information I’m telling actually sticks with the audience. As soon as you have an click with your audience, you can lead them from there. I think it is really important to communicate the understanding of the bigger picture. Maybe sometimes colleagues stay too long in explaining the details of uncertainties or the focus on equations. I think it all starts with the real understanding first, and the rest follows afterwards. And by understanding I do not mean the ability of a student to reproduce something, but to really understand a process, to get infected with the enthusiasm and knowledge and be able to use that knowledge in other situations. To say that I like seeing when it clicks for a student would be an understatement.
Spreading knowledge across the world
The topic of water is now more important than ever. For instance this summer we had droughts in the Netherlands, but at the same time floods in other parts of Europe, and not to mention problems with water quality. Water has always been important and it will only increase in the future. I try to contribute to solving these problems but I cannot change the world by myself. I think the core of Wageningen is that students come from all sides and places of the world and also go to all different places after their time here. I try to plant little “seeds of knowledge” with this variety of students. If I can give a little bit of understanding about how water systems, from glaciers to groundwater, to rivers, work to all those different people spreading their knowledge across the world, my mission is accomplished.