Iris Maas says goodbye

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  • By Kirstin Plante
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Iris Maas says goodbye

As of September, 2017, Iris Maas will leave TPRS Academy. For over eight years, she has co-directed the company with great energy and enthusiasm. Her contribution to the creation and development of the TPRS Academy teacher trainings and workshops have been invaluable.

For Iris, the moment has come to dedicate herself to other developments within her professional environment. It is with confidence that she relegates her role in TPRS Academy to the new (and existing) team members. We will dearly miss her sparkling and energetic personality. Fortunately for us, she will remain our external advisor and examiner, and outside our professional relationship we will continue to cherish her friendship.


I (Kirstin) interviewed Iris for her profile on our website, and I'd like to include it here:


"I am a language geek, and of all languages, I love Spanish most. I studied Spanish as part of a curriculum on Native Cultures and Languages of Latin America, because I wanted to go to Latin America to do research on all these curious indian languages. Wy? In high school, I liked Greek and Latin, and enjoyed analyzing these languages. My teacher recognized this interest and gave me a book about the Basque language. This awakened my interest in exotic languages. At the time, I was very interested in finding out the grammatical peculiarities of these languages. But then I fell in love, both with a Dutch guy and with Spanish language, and I decided to continue with Spanish and find a job in the Netherlands.


The job turned out to be teaching Spanish to adults, although I'd always been convinced that I never wanted to be a teacher. Having to explain things over and over again, doing the same activities year after year... it didn't appeal to me at all. But then one of my teachers at the university said to me: "But what if something you do can actually make them understand and learn?" That made me see the beauty of teaching, and I took the challenge of finding ways to make the light bulbs light up in my students' heads.


After years of teaching Spanish in language schools, at an Academy for Translation and (currently) the Hospitality Management School for Business, I heard about TPRS, started trying it in my language classes, and found out that this approach made the language stick in my students' heads much easier and much longer. It made the light bulbs switch on in my students' heads, and it made them enjoy the language and feel succesful. This made me want to share this with other language teachers.


Now, the challenge for me became how to help other teachers to experience the power and impact of this way of teaching languages. Now, in my own teaching situation I need to stick to a strict curriculum. This has given me a good understanding of the situation many teachers are in, so I can help them to work with TPRS within a non-TPRS working environment.


In my work as a TPRS teacher trainer, what makes me really happy is that people trust me to coach them in their learning process, thus allowing me to watch the light bulbs switch on and to celebrate with them the success once they experience that they are really able to DO IT!"



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