Although she knows that teaching is not a high-status profession, Merel has always wanted to become a primary school teacher.
After graduating from high school, Tessa hesitated between a BA in Education in an HBO or a BA in German at the University. Now that she’s got a Master’s in German translation, Tessa decides to take advantage of the teaching scholarship available for graduates with a Master’s who want to enter teaching. She is also aware of the high need for language teachers.
Hans has been working as an engineer for 10 years but he dreams of becoming a technology teacher. He wants to try to switch to teaching following the vocational route, which he hears is diversifying.
There are few university-level courses for primary teachers, so Merel applies to the University of Applied Sciences (HBO). For entry into HBO, Merel must graduate from senior secondary general secondary education or vocational senior secondary education . To enter primary teaching, she is required to have a certain knowledge of history, geography and science & nature.
With her Master’s degree in German, Tessa can enter a 1-year Master’s in Education where she will learn about pedagogy and didactics.
As Hans already has a degree and some practical training, he applies for a job at a vocational school. The school will ask him to complete an aptitude test and meet other selection criteria before giving him a job position. In addition to teaching Hans must attend 1 day per week at a HBO in order to get his PDG.
Merel has chosen a school-based programme that involves around 50% practical training so that she can get a better grasp of what the profession entails. The study load is 240 ECTS credits over 4 years, full time. It consists of a propaedeutic part (an introduction of 60 ECTS credits) and PCK part organised around 14 knowledge bases, which are regularly revised by teacher educators: Dutch, Mathematics, Fries language, English, history, geography, nature and science, religion / humanities, handwriting, visual art, sports, dance and drama and music. As a primary school teacher, she is expected to master all of these knowledge bases. By the end of her first year, she had to take a test to establish whether her Dutch language and numeracy skills are up to scratch.
Tessa must spend half of the programme in schools on an internship. The other half of the course consists of compulsory courses of pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogy, educational sciences and practice-oriented research. Tessa will also have to master the knowledge base for the Master’s of German language.
The HBO has the flexibility to develop its own PDG programme according to the Adult and Vocational Education Act (WEB) but partnerships between the HBO and upper secondary vocational schools seek to collaboratively develop pathways adapted to the candidates’ prior knowledge. Hans is looking forward to the job position, which is 4 days per week. He will only spend 1 day per week on campus for general content knowledge, PCK and GPK training.
All students’ ITE courses have been evaluated as part of the 6-yearly formal evaluation of higher education institutions undertaken by the Netherlands-Flanders Accreditation Organisation (NVAO). In addition, all ITE courses must meet the requirements of the Dublin descriptors, which describe the 7 required competencies of graduates. All students much also complete a detailed questionnaire on their ITE programme, which feeds back to improve ITE programmes.
After completing her 4 years of study, Merel is awarded a primary teaching certificate by the Primary School Teacher Training Colleges (PABO). Certificate holders are fully qualified to teach all subjects and all age groups at primary level, including special education. She applied directly to a school board known to have a good induction programme for new teachers – and was hired after an interview and mock lesson.
After completing her 1-year course, Tessa obtained a certificate to teach German to students in both lower and upper secondary school in senior general secondary, pre-vocational secondary and senior secondary vocational education. She was hired directly by the school where she completed her work placement as Tessa was an excellent fit for the school.
Hans was awarded a certificate after completing the PDG though he can only teach in senior secondary vocational schools. Though there is a need for technology teachers in other parts of the country, there were no permanent positions available in the senior secondary vocational education school after he graduated. So the school gave him a temporary contract.
Merel’s school board has a partnership with an HBO (University of Applied Sciences) to develop an induction programme for new teachers so Merel will work with a support team of trained school- and university-based mentors to monitor and improve her teaching skills over the first year and provide coaching, peer-support, lesson visits and thematic meetings. Like all new teachers, according to a collective labour agreement, she will have a 20% reduction in teaching tasks in the first year if she is teaching in secondary education. If she teaches in primary education, in addition to the personal budget for sustainable employability, she will be entitled to 40 hours of extra hours of “sustainable employability” per year (pro rata employment). Those hours can be spent on professionalization. In addition, she will be entitled to guidance by a coach (that may not be the direct supervisor).
Like all new teachers with a contract, as part of a collective labour agreement, Tessa will receive 1 year of induction, accompanied with a 20% reduction of her tasks. She’ll receive support for professional development planning, joint lesson preparation, classroom observation and mentoring.
As a temporary teacher, Hans is not eligible to participate in the school’s induction programme. However, he hopes that the new partnership agreement between the HBO and his school, which means that new teachers will be appointed a school mentor and HBO tutor to observe new teachers teaching, will help them set learning goals and provide feedback. In addition to reduction in work hours, the 40 hours induction will provide good support for him once he has a permanent job.