When my own children started their secondary education, I decided to go back to school myself. I first took part-time training at Fontys PABO to become a primary school teacher. After starting this programme, I soon discovered that I had a particular interest in the needs of children who in one way or another could not follow along with the rest of the group in a classroom environment. This inspired me to train to become a remedial teacher.
Subsequently, I trained as a behavioural specialist, which for me was a logical continuation of my increasing focus on remedial teaching. In June 2008 I graduated as a Master of Special Educational Needs (M SEN) at Fontys Hogeschool Tilburg.
In January 2007 I started my remedial teaching practice. Initially, it was straightforward to combine this with teaching at primary schools in Veldhoven. In addition to supply teaching, I also helped children with special educational needs (LGF/’rugzak’). However, over time my private practice grew to such an extent that I was dividing my time between guiding children one-to-one, exploring all the innovations in education and researching and developing auxiliary materials. I also spent a great deal of time studying methods for teaching children with dyslexia and dyscalculia. These days my one-to-one remedial teaching practice keeps me fully occupied so I no longer have the time to teach in a classroom environment.
Through regular consultation with the teachers and schools I work with, I keep abreast of developments in education and I am able to attune the guidance I give to each child to be consistent with the methods used within their school. This is very important for the children so that the techniques used in their one-to-one sessions compliment, and are consistent with, the methods they learn at school.
In recent years I have been receiving more and more requests for help from secondary school students. These requests are usually centred around extra support and guidance for homework, as well as studying for tests and exams. Methods for planning, summarising and establishing self-confidence are usually key areas of focus in these cases. By making a good plan together and practicing with past exam papers, these students are able to start their exams with greater confidence.
For homework, I help students take maximum advantage of the instructions given by their school. Repetition and practice are essential in this case.
During these times of crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, I have begun to explore the possibility of supporting students remotely. I still always prefer to provide in-person guidance wherever possible for maximum benefit to the student, but can also provide one-to-one guidance via video conference where necessary.