A shortage of teachers is becoming apparent in Eindhoven and the surrounding area. Martin van den Berg, director of Christiaan Huygens College is sounding the alarm.
According to Van den Berg, the time when schools will face serious shortages is getting closer. “Good education starts with a good teacher. Not in the next week or month, but it is coming. We are already noticing that. Where we used to have ten applications for every vacancy, with let’s say five to eight good candidates. Nowadays we only have two applicants and then we just have to hope that the right person is among them”.
‘Not an easy profession’
In order for more people to make the switch to teaching, something needs to be done, above all about the image of the profession, Van den Berg believes. “We all need to get to work to do something about the job prospects. After all, it is a very beautiful profession, but not an easy one. When you have twenty-five to thirty adolescents sitting in front of you for six to seven hours a day, it requires some skill. And then you have to know your trade, which also takes skill”.
To find the right people, Van den Berg and Christiaan Huygens College have been doing a better job of recruiting in informal circles for some time. “We already started some time ago to ask among colleagues ‘if you know someone, take him or her along to the school, introduce him or her to the location director and have a conversation’ “, he says.
“And we are now going to expand that to parents”, Van den Berg says. “Think about parents of expat children. It should be known in those circles that if you master or want to master the Dutch language, you have an opportunity with us. Especially if you were already a teacher in your country of origin, then it may well be that we will soon put someone from India, for example, whose husband works at ASML, in front of our class”.
This is important, the director thinks. Because in some subjects the shortages are greater than in others. “In physics and chemistry teachers, the shortage is going very fast. Perhaps not surprisingly, I have seen contracts of €6,500 that a student received. For that you have to have spent 18 years in the classroom with us. These are top students, people who are very good at research. Those aren’t the types we need either, but it does show how hard people in that sector are being pulled”.
Making a fist
“We work together in Orion (multi-school partnership, ed.). And also with the Brabant administrators we are going to put our heads together with all the school boards. I hope that in this way we can better make a fist towards the Ministry of OCW (Education, Culture and Science, ed.) and the unions: what should we do to change the professional image of the teacher?”
And that’s not just about the image attached to the profession, Van den Berg says. “It is then also about the space to shape your own education, and a little less about the salary. Although unions may think differently about that”, he said.
Translated by: Bob