In conversation with educator Bas about It Starts With ME

In conversation with educator Bas about It Starts With ME

“It has been 6 years since you did the IT STARTS WITH ME training, I am curious what influence the training had on you as a person and as a teacher.”

Bas: “The training has given me direction, it was the beginning of a quest. A quest for balance in my life. My children were still young when I followed the training. When you become a parent the dynamics change because there are more factors that you have to take into account. You now have to make different choices and you weigh your own interests against what is important for you and for your children. The training gives you tools to find the balance that suits you, your children and your work.

I have become more aware of the influence I have on my own children and on the children I teach at school. As a parent and as a teacher you have a huge impact on the lives of children. The training use the visual metaphor of us being like a drop in the ocean than creates a ripple effect (your environment). I know this is true. This letter that I just received is a clear example of that.”

Is there a specific topic or theme that stuck with you?

Bas: “Hmmm, there isn’t really only one thing… or actually there is now that I think about it. During the training I had to add a pronoun to my name that best described one of my characteristics. I chose  ‘Connecting Bas’, and I still think of that today. Connection is really a leading element in my life and connecting with people is very important to me. Sometimes you also have to let go of something or someone in order to move forward too find what suits you best.

Coincidentally, after the summer and after 25 years, I will leave secondary education to start teaching at Fontys teacher training course. I will train future teachers on my own Geography subject and guide them through their internships. In addition, I aim to increase the resilience of my students. Although I no longer stand in front of the class, I will contribute with all my knowledge and experience to the core of education, namely the teacher. It is important to make future teachers aware of the positive impact they can have on children. As a teacher you do not only share knowledge, you have the ability to impact and make a difference in children’s future. Even if you only touch the life of one learner a year, it gives great satisfaction! I want to pass-on that passion to the future generation of teachers.”

“Can you tell us a bit more about your experiences in education over the past 25 years?” 

Bas: “I have recently noticed that education is becoming very ‘business-like’. Due to the increase of the size of management boards you see that, for example, stricter rules, regulations and registrations are implemented to ensure that you enter your hours correctly. In response, you see that teachers are much less inclined to walk the extra mile. It has created an attitude of: ‘I don’t do everything for charity!’ Sadly children are drawing the short end of the stick and become the victims of this situation.

Personally I don’t like that structure because the impact you make is what is most important to me. When you connect with each other you do not have to be so business-like and formal. It is when teachers are more aware of what they find important and of their own influence, that they will be able to have greater influence on the interpretation of their own work. I have experienced this myself and I want to pass it on to other (future) teachers.

What also struck me over the past 25 years is that general life has become faster. There is an urge amongst society that you have to and want everything. Parents want to be happy, be healthy, run a marathon, take good care of themselves, have a career, etc. In this race parents sometimes disconnect from their children.

It is especially in the double income households where parents have now started to demand more and more attention from teachers. They tend to place the responsibility for the development of their child on the school. This is at the expense of children that comes from families where there are fewer opportunities, as these children have a bigger expectation to get attention from the teacher. That is why I think that education can benefit when parents follow the It Starts With ME training.”

“How beautifully said Bass! What also strikes me is the similarity in our ambitions. It Starts With ME and education can and will both contribute to reducing the inequality of opportunities amongst children. I therefore hope that in the future we will be able to work together on our shared ambition!”

Our conclusion after this conversation

It is important to be aware of your influence and therefore the ripple effect and impact you are creating in that process. Only you can strengthen your influence and impact by choosing a good balance. Your ripple will then merge with those rippling alongside you and that is when we find connection with each other to create mutually beneficial opportunities for positive attention and development.

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