Humans of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

Egbert Bol

Perhaps I have known since childhood that teaching was the thing for me. Or rather: already when I was young I couldn't resist teaching my classmates what I knew. That has never changed. I get a lot of energy from the mutual inspiration that education offers. To light the proverbial fire in a student, and then to keep it burning, is an incredibly valuable experience. That is why I like first-year courses so much: during that period, you can really help build the student's foundation as a professional, but also as an adult. And when you can see the result of that effort after a few years, that is something magical.

Good education is a joint journey of discovery. During my tutorials, students discover the profession, but afterward they have to do their own thing with that material. That's also how I did it myself as a student. For me, a lesson is more successful if the next week I get a question and think to myself "my goodness, I've never looked at it like that before!” These new ways of looking at my field are the discoveries I make. I see a kind of beauty in that, that moment when students have mastered the material.

For me, the crux of good teaching is in the contact with students, for example during a coffee break. Those are also the moments when you get to know and understand the other person better. So despite the fact that digital means have a lot to offer for good education, I cannot imagine that a study will be completely digital in the future. At least I hope not!

As long as a student doesn't give up, I don't give up either

When I stand in front of the class, I transform. Maybe it's theatre, or just another side of my personality, because I feel at home in that role. Whatever it is, it’s passion, at least in part. As a teacher, I could not live without it. Which is not to say that there is one best way to teach - far from it! Every teacher has their own colour, and the trick is to find it and use it.

Although I am much quieter outside the lecture hall, I try to surround myself with students. To share in the triumphs, but also the defeats. Sometimes things just go wrong: if someone’s grade is a 3, that is of course very disappointing. But then we know exactly where someone stands, and from where we can build further. The keynote of education must be motivation. As long as a student doesn't give up, I don't give up either. Then I keep supporting, helping and assisting, as long as it takes to succeed.