Cruising down the halls, one may see the familiar friendly face that always holds a warm smile and jovial aura—the one and only Mr.van der Schilden!

Currently, Mr.van der Schilden is an IB Economics and Math teacher here at VP. He took great pleasure in being interviewed by the Panther Press.When Mr.van der Schilden was asked what was his motivation and inspiration to follow a career in teaching, he replied “It has always been a childhood passion, I lived in a large family therefore I was prone to a lot interaction with my 8 siblings. I remember teaching my younger sister how to tie her shoes!”

“However after obtaining my degree in Economics and Math,” he continued, “I did not go into teaching right away; my first job was as an actuary.”

An actuary is a person who compiles and analyzes statistics and uses them to calculate insurance risks and premiums. Mr. van der Schilden explained that despite the experience being sensational, the long work hours, stress, and pressure made it unfulfilling.

“Although it was a rewarding career, I yearned for a more satisfying occupation. I decided to turn my life around by considering teaching.”

He took up a volunteer job at a high school to gain an understanding and sense of schooling. “The experience was simply exhilarating and enjoyable! It convinced and motivated me to pursue a life of teaching, and I applied to teacher’s college.”

Considering Mr.van der Schilden’s impressive background, I asked him: “What do you love about teaching students?”

He explained: “The students have a willingness to learn, they are like sponges, absorbing knowledge. They are keen to pick up information and new ways of thinking. As a teacher, I have the ability to bring something positive.”

Being quite mesmerized by Mr.van der Schilden strong ambition, I then took a more personal approach to my next question. I inquired: “What are your hobbies and interests?”

He replied, “If I had the chance to teach another course here at VP, my preference would definitely be in the Languages as it would allow me to be open-minded to cultures.”

In terms of sports, it seemed that Mr.van der Schilden is quite the athlete; he frequently does jogging, bike riding and swimming. The only obstacle, he explained, is balancing his time with all his other responsibilities.

In addition to his love for keeping fit, he enjoys spending time with his family. He describes it being “vital” to maintain a connection to your family.

“Family for me is very important. Having them around me is reassuring, and it gives me the basic strength to get on with my life. Recently, my mother suffered a stroke and it made me realize the precious time I have with her, and why it’s essential to cherish every moment.”

The students and staff of Victoria Park wish Mr.van der Schilden mother’s a safe recovery. It allows us to realize the importance of living to our highest potential. One should always relish every second of his/her life and stay happy regardless of the situation.

Given the opportunity to speak to the school, Mr. van der Schilden said: “You are the students of today and the adults of the future. It’s time to seize the opportunity!”