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“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”

“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”


Archive Jeanine Brouwer

Jeanine Brouwer teaches three courses: a research practical and an academic writing course for psychologists, and a course on Addiction to third-year students of the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences. She sometimes feels like her students wake up fifteen minutes before their morning sessions begin (at 8.30 a.m.). She laughs. “I can tell by the way they say ‘good morning’. When I ask how many of them have only just got out of bed, a few students will sheepishly raise their hands.”

Even so, Brouwer is quite content with the online tutorials. While some of her colleagues prefer to be stricter and give students turns to speak, Brouwer lets them discuss among themselves. “It’s like in a normal tutorial: one student moderates the discussion and I only intervene if it’s heading in the wrong direction or if students have pressing questions.”

Is there anything she misses? “Being in the office. That’s where I work best. I also miss having face-to-face contact with students. Their body language during tutorials often tells me a lot. Through a screen, it’s harder to tell whether they understand what I’m saying.” That’s why she is having more individual conversations with her students than usual. “I want to make sure everyone is doing well. Many students are struggling with motivation. I understand that it’s difficult for them to study at home.” But the current situation also has its advantages. “Both students and colleagues respond to emails faster, for example.”

Brouwer lives in Roermond. She doesn’t have to commute to work now. What is she doing with all that extra time? “I’m rediscovering some old hobbies. Last week, I went inline skating for the first time in years. My boyfriend and I are playing chess and I’m taking more time to cook – different kinds of soup, salads, and oven-roasted chicken.” “Very tasty!” shouts her boyfriend, who occasionally pops up in the background during our conversation.

One disadvantage of the current situation is that Brouwer, who turned 26 this week, won’t be able to celebrate her birthday the way she intended to. She and a friend had planned to throw a joint birthday party at the end of the month. “I think that, like everyone else, we’ll postpone it until we’re allowed to throw parties again.”

What are these corona-days like for tutors and students? How does it affect their studies and other parts of their life? Observant speaks to one of them every day to give an idea about the virus' impact.


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