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A different course

Nederlands

Erik van Dijk (31):

A driving instructor who changes his course - it's a perfect fit!

Are you dreaming of a career switch, but are you unsure whether a part-time study is right for you? In this section, we explain that there is a flexible part-time study for everyone. Take Erik van Dijk (31), for instance, who plans to finish his part-time bachelor programme Physics Teacher this year. "I am no omniscient rocket scientist, but explaining is the best part of my job."

With the big blue L on the roof, the car from driving school Van Dijk stands out in the car park of the CSG Comenius school in Leeuwarden. Erik has owned and operated a driving school for cars and motorcycles in Leeuwarden since 2011, and it has been a success. Nevertheless, he decided to set a different course five years ago. "I don't fancy myself giving driving lessons until the age of 67, that's just not for me. That is why I decided to combine my passion for teaching and my fascination for engineering in a new challenge: physics teacher."

Rocket scientist

Physics - it used to be one of Erik's favourite subjects. "I was fascinated by engineering in those days. I would get excited by anything with an engine, whether it was a plane, a car, or a ship. My study Automotive Engineering at the Higher Institute of Technology was a very deliberate choice. And now, I can apply that knowledge in my physics teaching. I am no omniscient rocket scientist, but explaining is the best part of my job. I am always looking for a challenge, and education is the best industry for that. Every day is different here."

Erik is back in the classroom as a physics teacher, 15 years after he himself graduated from the CSG Comenius. "There are a couple of teachers that I remember. And they remember me," he adds, winking. "I have to admit that I was no model student. I preferred doing things my own way, and teachers did not always understand me. But now that I am a teacher myself, I am facing the same challenge as they did; to find that connection with the students. Recently, I became a mentor as well. I am really attracted to that personal element, to being more than just 'Mr Van Dijk'."

"I am really attracted to that personal element, to being more than just 'Mr Van Dijk'."

Home stretch

By now, he has been teaching for three years, which he combines with two days of driving school a week. He is very happy with the combination. "I am lucky, because the two professions are a good fit, as they both have a didactic element. Teaching is a central theme in my life. During my studies, I expanded my didactic skills. I enjoy the subject physics, but I love the pedagogic component the most."

Now that his graduation project is all that remains, his studies are almost finished. "I want to be done before the year ends," Erik states. "But that home stretch is not easy. Especially since I am teaching already, actually graduating has lost some of its urgency. But I always tell my students to finish what they have started. So I had better practice what I preach!"

"I always tell my students to finish what they have started. So I had better practice what I preach!"

 

Do you want to realise your ambitions as well?

Are you occasionally plagued by a nagging voice in your head? Do you want to find out whether a part-time programme would suit you, or are you finally ready to take that step? Visit one of our Part-time Information Events.

Are you an NHL Stenden part-time student, and do you want to share the story of your career switch? Let us know by sending an e-mail to socialmedia@nhlstenden.com.