During the first three weeks of April our academy, the teacher training college for primary education at Avans University of applied sciences in Breda, * gasps for air * is hosting
This intensive program teaches students from Belgium, Turkey, United Kingdom, Slovenia and Holland how to go about teaching English to Dutch elementary school children with a variety of cultural backgrounds by means of drama and music.
After nerve wrecking last minute interventions by professor Agnes Taks (the driving force behind the project) finally all visa were cleared and last Monday the participating foreign students of Moving Targets arrived at Schiphol Airport, safe and sound. Amongst other things, the group visited an elementary school to see what Dutch schools are about and had time to enjoy the beautiful city of Amsterdam.
Then yesterday at 9 AM the twenty five students walked into a classroom of Avans university in Breda. The room was brightly decorated with colorful flags. The whole group had spent the night at a house in the neighborhood of Breda, which was filled to the brim with rented bunk beds. Some of them look really tired, but everyone had a big smile and was eager to start with the program.
Agnes opened the meeting by telling a beautiful anecdote about Martin Luther King, and concluded with saying that there is only one race: people; that there is only one country: earth, and one language: love. It was great to see the impact of these words. Our dean Nicole van Son introduced herself and welcomed all to the Avans University, after which professor Muzaffer Yanik spoke a few words. Carla Nijlunsing (drama), Margriet Veenbrink (English) and Kitty van Gulick (music) were also present.
Like last year, I was asked (as bilingual writer) to recite my poems. In 2010 accompanied on piano by Kitty in a wonderful way, but yesterday it was only my voice and thirty pair of eyes. Plus an extra lens of the camera. Increasing the volume of my voice to the crescendo needed at the end of the first poem could pose a bit of a challenge, since my trachea decided to entertain me with an insistent tickling since last Sunday. Bad BAD trachea! Luckily a cup of licorice tea sweetened the coughing fits into temporary submission.
For this special occasion I chose:
Where The Wind Sleeps
After a brief intro, in which I led my audience along the road I had taken to end up writing in English, my poems were handed out on paper.Then I started with Where The Wind Sleeps, forcing myself to speak slowly. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins at an intense pace and my face was glowing. Everybody listened and absorbed my words in silence. When I finished, they spontaneously started applauding ooooh WOW that was so nice! The same with my second poem Spring oh Spring, you are not lost! *happy smile*. I ended by wishing the students great, joyful and instructive weeks and fell down on my chair again. Pfew. Icy cold shaky hands and the rest on fire haha. But it was exhilarating and fun to do.
Language uniting people from all over Europe! I will try to share photos and perhaps films of this wonderful program in the weeks to come.