|Aug. 1998||-||May 2003||Teaching Assistant, Radboud University, Nijmegen.|
|Oct. 2003||-||May 2004||Replacing teacher , Merlet College, Cuyk, the Netherlands.|
|May 2004||-||Aug. 2005||
Philips High-Tech campus (NatLab),
Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Though this seemed at first like a really cool job, tenured immediately, the working in industry did not suit me at all. I was also not done with my academic ambitions, it turned out. Hence, not pursueing my academic desires immediately apparently was a mistake. I tried to get a VENI stipend while working here, but failed. Which was depressing. I got more and more unhappy there. But:....(continued below)
|Sept. 2005||-||Aug. 2006||
University of Texas at Brownsville,
Brownsville, TX, USA.
I was able to get a job at this place. I'm still grateful to the people who hired me there. I don't care that this is a low-end university, I have met wonderful people there, and for the first time got to teach student populations of whose half of them had kids, and/or worked at least one job, in order to pay for tuition. That IMPRESSED me, made me feel humble and made me appreciate my lucky upbringing. I hope in turn I was able to make an ever so slight difference in the students' lives.
Note that I applied to at least 40 positions, almost all in the US, and was invited for interview to one. (The 40 was even deemed to be low, as I later heard.) Hence, 39 failures. (40 if you are someone who thinks this university is crap. )
|July. 2006||-||June 2010||VENI-post-doc , Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.|
|Aug 2010||-||Dec 2014||Lecturer , Jacobs University Bremen|
|Jan 2015||-||Aug 2016||
Hogeschooldocent (tenured from Jan 2016)
I left an academic (tenured) position for a pure teaching position. To some this will feel like a failure ("You have died mathematically"). Not to me, by the way. I love a pure teaching position.
|Aug 2016||-||Present (end contract Aug 2019)||UD (lecturer) , Radboud University Nijmegen|
Failed attempt at VENI-grant. I learned a lot from this failure. My second proposal was way better, and much more "mine".
Failed attempt at VIDI-grant (2x - I especially liked my
second proposal ), Humbolt-stipendium (1x), DFG grant (1x).
|I knew too little:||
Before I started work at Jacobs University in fall 2010, I first had a semester where I almost weekly went out to give a talk, or visit some mathematician, etc. Jacobs asked me to teach one course: algebraic topology. For some reason, I never followed a course on this. So, following David Hilbert (who taught courses in order to familiarize himself with a topic), I was happy to teach that and then en passant learn the topic. I prepared a bit and was happy to start. |
The students turned out to be four former math olympiad participants, among which a gold medal winner, who were already familiar with the topic, and wanted to do a Ph.-D. in somewhat that direction. So, during my first lecture I went through all I studied in preparation (thinking it was enough for half a semester). "Yes, we know that." "I can show you how to compute that." That made me a tad nervous.
I didn't have much time to prepare for classes, I didn't know the topic, and even no matter how much I prepared, these nodding students who understood everything slurped up my meagre knowledge I had beyond them dry in the first lecture and the second lecture I was frantically preparing for in my guesthouse room....so I barely kept one lecture ahead....
Not surprisingly, after the semester, I got student feedback. Anonymously. But it was gold medal boy who wrote a longer piece of text massacring me. In a friendly way. Which makes it worse. ;-)
|I knew too much:||
In my first few lectures teaching at the HRO, I was for the first time ever teaching to students of HAVO-level (and below).
I saw that I had to teach topic X. I prepared, and thought "Ok this I can explain in 10 minutes, then the remaining 110 minutes they can do the exercises. (I don't get why we need 120 minutes for that....)".
Explanation lasted double as long, as students didn't understand at all what I was doing with all these letters coming out of nowhere, and hands were flying into the air. The remaining 100 minutes were filled with individual re-explanation, trying to understand what wasn't understood, etc. etc.
I must admit, I improved a lot (through such experiences) and got to enjoy my teaching at HRO tremendously. Nevertheless - this is how it started. With a failure.