“I am convinced that education is more than being in the same classroom every day.” – Afke Dijkerman, the Netherlands

Afke Dijkerman
Fifth Grade Teacher
The Waterkant
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

For Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert Afke Dijkerman, teaching is more than just her job – it’s her calling. And a big part of that calling is making her students responsible citizens of the world. That motivation led her to teach in Bali, Indonesia several years ago in what turned out to be a life-changing experience.

“I am convinced that education is more than being in the same classroom every day,” Dijkerman tells us. “This conviction is not only for my students but also for me. I saw how happy the children in Bali were with only a roof above their head, and it was such a great experience to teach those motivated boys and girls. With this experience I wanted to let my children know more about the world.”

Global responsibility now plays a big part in Dijkerman’s everyday teaching. After discovering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the community of educators dedicated to teaching them on Twitter, she began making them part of her lessons.

“By teaching SDGs, I give children the chance to develop themselves into world citizens,” she explains. “My students have been outside the classroom to fish plastic waste out of the canals, had a guest lesson from UNICEF about children’s rights, and have been to the food bank to donate clothes and toys to children from less fortunate families. I believe that the interaction with the environment will have an impact for the rest of their lives.”

Dijkerman also makes sure her students have fun, often using Mystery Skype to learn critical thinking and practice their English.

“After the Skype session is when they have questions for each other,” she says. “They talk about games, football, and holidays. The best time was when we danced together with a class so many miles away from us!”

Connect with Afke on her Microsoft Educator Community Profile.

About Afke Dijkerman

  • Educational background: I have been a teacher for eight years.
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Skype, Sway, Forms
  • Favorite book: Juf met staarten – Eefje Pleij. A story about a teacher in Rotterdam (Netherlands) struggling with all her daily routines.
  • Website I check every day: Twitter, to be in contact with other teachers around the world.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Going to visit my grandmother at the countryside every weekend.
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Believe in the best things of humanity and earth. Look around you, there is more to discover than you think.


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