Eric Stam

Teacher - Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Eric Stam

Last year I started teaching at Rotterdam The Hague Airport College. We train our students to become cabin attendants or to otherwise work in the aviation industry. My task, however, is to teach Dutch language, citizenship, and critical thinking.

The past few years I have made significant changes in my lifestyle, slowly but gradually. I have aligned my work with my place of living so that I don’t need to travel by car. I’ve shifted to an almost vegan diet. And I use airplanes very occasionally.

This year I decided that teaching students about climate science should be a key priority. I believe it is essential for our students to understand the biggest issue of our time — and to learn how to think about the ethical and political implications of climate change. There is still very little students need to know about climate science in the official curriculum. But I like to challenge students with texts, short documentaries, and questions such as: Should KLM consider stopping airplane use? Could you see yourself working in a zeppelin instead of an airplane? Is it desirable to see Schiphol (largest airport in The Netherlands) grow? Can you say that something becomes more sustainable, if it never was sustainable in the first place? It is great to see how open-minded these students are. If some of them pick up this habit of asking ‘stupid’ questions, and draw some conclusions for themselves, I can only be satisfied.

Teacher of Dutch language, citizenship, and critical thinking at Rotterdam The Hague Airport College.