Future Teacher of the Year

You know that teacher you’ll never forget?

The second-grade teacher who turned the class into a living wax museum of famous authors; the math teacher in middle school who didn’t just play the same video games you did, he used them to teach concepts; or the AP psychology teacher who’s mentoring you through a research project right now.

If education is your passion, Calvin will help turn you into that teacher.

Here’s how.


Education major | Riverside, Ill.

HIS PASSION: Urban education

HIS STORY: Jack didn’t have any ties to Calvin when he arrived, but he connected with the college’s opportunities right away. During his first year, he joined the education department on a research trip to Zambia. There, in a classroom in the urban center of Musaka, Jack found a passion for teaching in cities.

HIS MAJOR: “In the Calvin education program, you’re learning the material and then applying it right away.”

HIS PLANS: Teach high school special education in Boston, Los Angeles or wherever God leads him.


Marj Terpstra | Education

HER PASSION: Developing well-rounded, intentional educators

HER TECHNIQUE: Get students out into the  field early and expose them to a variety of school environments

HER STUDENTS SAY: “Prof. Terpstra is a progressive teacher. Her class is not a traditional lecture—there are a ton of collaborations and students presenting and researching. She teaches us to be engaging, and she does it herself,” Jack says.

HER TEAM: Prof. Terpstra says the education department at Calvin encourages collaborative learning. “We have a rich learning community at Calvin where we can take chances,” she says.

JACK’S CLASS Education 302-303

THE GOAL: Learn the nuts and bolts of lesson planning.

THE HOW: Students spend four mornings each week interning as a classroom aide and one morning each week in class at Calvin collaborating with their professors.

THE WHY: “Aiding is not just copying and grading papers; Calvin students actually teach lessons to the whole class,” Prof. Terpstra says. They also share online journals to learn from their fellow students’ experiences.


THE TASK: Teach weather to 5- and 6-year-olds at Congress Elementary

THE PLAN: Jack used the tactics he learned from Prof. Terpstra to create authentic, hands-on experiences. Each day, Jack had a small group of students measure and record the weather, then present their data to the class in “weather reporter” fashion.

THE CONNECTION: Jack’s class at Congress partnered with a classroom halfway around the world—the same class he visited in Zambia his freshman year. The Zambian students also recorded their weather, and the two classes shared their data with each other over Skype.

THE RESULT: Jack’s classroom teacher, Mary Voogd, loves having Calvin students as classroom aides. “The students loved Jack’s weather unit,” she said. “They thought being weather reporters was really cool.”

VERGE: spring 2016

First-Year Experience