So I’ve dedicated this post to our teacher of the two weeks at the Dutch Winter School 2017, Kirsten De Gelder.
Some of you may or may not know that Kirsten is behind most of the content of #dutchgrammar, the amazing online Dutch course available on learndutch.org. So far, there are two different proficiency levels of Dutch grammar that have been released, one and two. Kirsten is currently working on number three together with Bart, along with the Dutch Winter School and her own classes. You can imagine how much work that is, not to mention that the #dutchgrammar content is second to none and created to a standard that makes it easy for Dutch learners, like myself, to understand. Kirsten actually taught two groups, two lessons each day. That’s eight hours of teaching. Not many people would be able to cope with that and keep a smile on your face, unlike Kirsten of course.
It’s visible from the student’s point of view how difficult it is to teach a language to non native English speakers, to be able to keep everyone on track and answering their questions day in day out, and there’s a lot of them. Many of us have struggled to understand some of the grammar of Dutch due to its complexity in some circumstances, also remembering the vocabulary. Through various activities and active teaching, Kirsten kept our minds on top of it all as well as our motivation, which noticeably plays a huge role with progress. It was hard work over two weeks, especially with the homework, and you could notice the exhaustion increasing over the weeks. However, Kirsten made the lessons something to look forward to, something worth waking up early on a Monday morning for – or everyday for the matter. The humour that was integrated into our lessons maintained that smile on our faces and really made the two weeks worth while and memorable.
You won’t just hear that from me but from my group and the other group. On various occasions, I would talk with members of group two and every time they would share their praise for Kirsten and her wonderful method and attitude towards teaching us. Emily shared to me how they collectively put funds towards a present for her as their way of saying thank you for their experience. Now how I wish I had known about that, but I can totally understand their motive for it. I’m not quite sure how she managed to cope with 10,000 questions in a day – many of them repeated – but she was always patient and understanding. Our lessons were extravagant and enjoyable, there was a method to her madness!
I can happily say, as a college student, that Kirsten has been my favourite teacher, I feel that I have made an incredible amount of progress in such a short space of time. I will definitely miss our lessons everyday and our entertaining method to learning. It is a motive for me to sign up for this year’s summer school. Maybe you can join me on that one too?