Interview with Physics teacher Mr. Cleine


Interview with Mr. Gerard Cleine

By the end of this school year, Physics teacher Mr. Gerard Cleine can look back on sixteen years of teaching at Het Stedelijk Lyceum. After graduating in 1978, he turned out to be a “Jack-of-all-trades” starting his career in Computer Science, and teaching this specific subject at various educational institutes. After more than twenty years, he went back to his roots in 2004 and applied for a job as Physics teacher at Het Stedelijk Lyceum. In 2012, he added another dimension to his career as a Physics teacher at ISTwente. Mr. Cleine can now look forward to a well-deserved retirement and we took the opportunity to interview him and look back on his career.

Where and what did you study?

I studied Physics at the Technische Hogeschool Twente in Enschede, now better known as the University Twente.

What did you do after obtaining your degree in Physics?

When I graduated in 1978, the country was in an economic crisis, much like the one we experienced several years ago. Due to this crisis, there were no funds for research in Physics. Computer Science, however, was a business on the rise and companies were actively seeking to hire people with a science background. My first job was at Volmac, the forerunner of Capgemini. I also worked for Philips in various locations and specialized in, amongst others, computer programming.”

How did you end up working in education?

“Computer Science was booming business, however Computer Science as a subject did not yet exist. I developed educational material for this particular subject and taught computer programming both at vocational and professional education institutes.

And how did you end up at Het Stedelijk Lyceum?

In 2001, I taught Computer Science at OLCT, an educational institute which provided re-integration projects for adults and was part of Het Stedelijk Lyceum. Once the government quit funding these projects in 2004, OLCT was no longer profitable and the inevitable was lurking around the corner. Once I heard that Het Stedelijk Lyceum was looking for a Physics teacher, I immediately applied for the job. I went in for a job interview on Monday and by Thursday I was hired and in front of class.”

Did you teach any other subjects besides Physics?

“Yes, I had the opportunity to teach various subjects, such as Biology and Math, but also Computer Science and Nature & Society within the bilingual Programme at College Zuid. In 2012, I was also asked to teach Physics at ISTwente. I started out with IGCSE and soon the AS and A levels followed.”

What about IB DP?

“Initially, I thought I wouldn’t have a part to play in the IB DP authorisation, considering that 2016/2017 would be my last year at ISTwente. This, however, was not the case and I attended work group meetings, followed the IB DP course in Barcelona and set up the Physics programme for my successor.”

What is your most memorable project at ISTwente?

“In February 2017, year 10 was invited to take part in the Aero Project: an international challenge initiated by the Brazilian Colégio Embraer in Botucatu. We were approached by Dr. Leandro de Santana, Assistant Professor at the University of Twente, whether our school would be interested in taking up the challenge of building a lightweight indoor plane model. In light of this challenge, the students were invited to the University Twente to test an airplane wing in a wind tunnel and nearly took off themselves. Afterwards, we had coffee at the Starbucks on campus.”

How about your fondest memory of Het Stedelijk Lyceum?

“One exam year I remember in particular, because all my students (in 5 HAVO) not only passed their Physics exam, but all of them graduated as well. Two of my three goals in education! The third one is having a good time together and seeing that the students are enjoying themselves.” 

How will you be spending your retirement?

“I am not fully retired yet. Upcoming school year, I will be supporting my colleagues at Het Stedelijk Lyceum by teaching Physics to the exam classes for several hours a week. Also, I have been hired by CuBuSo in Haaksbergen to support them in an office automation project.

You won’t only just be working I hope?

“No, there will still be enough time left to spend with my wife, children and grandchildren, but also to play volleyball, watch soccer and go on vacation a few times a year!”