By Sara Nelson
Robert van Deusen, a new instructional-track lecturer in elementary education, seeks to show future elementary school teachers how to be effective and passionate mathematics educators.
While new to this position, van Deusen is not new to the University of Iowa College of Education. As an alumnus himself, he received both his Master of Arts and his doctorate in Elementary Education. After many years as a classroom teacher and principal across eastern Iowa, van Deusen returned to the College of Education as an elementary mathematics lecturer in the department of Teaching and Learning.
“I attempt to model what passionate teaching looks like, so that students have seen it and can re-construct it in their own classrooms,” says van Deusen.
Van Deusen does a great deal of community and volunteer work with the Iowa City Learning Foundation. He has been trained as an ontological coach, which helps supporting people in achieving their goals and creating a new way of being. Van Deusen provides education and training to small groups of adults related to the power of language, specifically language about oneself.
“My teaching philosophy is based on the idea that relationships with students are paramount. For me it is even more important than the topic or the discipline,” van Deusen says. “I believe in the dictum that says, ‘students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’”