My name is Marco van den Boogaard. I am a history teacher at De Passie.
Earlier this school year I got a spontaneous idea during my lesson preparation
for a lesson about timebars. A time bar often has highs, lows and important
moments in between. Would students like to make a time bar about their
The assignment caught on immediately with almost all students. How nice if the history course is
suddenly about you!
A number of students were also allowed to put their time bar on the board. Then came the stories.
It surprised me how frank the students were. You know there are highs and lows
to be told, but it soon developed into an emotional and unforgettable lesson.
A boy shared a moment of a serious accident he was in. He almost died. He didn’t keep it dry. The student next to him put his arm around him.
More and more moments of personal suffering such as illnesses and deaths were shared.
But also beautiful moments, such as births, diplomas and unforgettable vacations. At the end
of the class, the class fell completely silent when a student told us about the death of one of the his parents. The fellow students did not yet know this, it was the first time that this student felt the
security to share this with the group.
The timing seemed unfortunate, because the bell rang shortly after the student had shared this. But the class stayed still. We prayed together. We thanked God for the blessings in our lives, but we also prayed for strength for students dealing with suffering.
The class left. I stayed behind. To be honest, somewhat desperate. Had this not been too intense?
Shouldn’t I have kept the history lesson a little more businesslike? But the chance exists that in a year from now, students will have no idea what the history lesson “timebars” was about.
We will never forget this lesson. And we have discovered how important history is.
The personal story of the students matters, it is part of God’s great story with the world.
Convinced that it had been good, I packed my bag. I closed the room behind me and went up
look for the mentor of the group, to inform him of the impressive lesson.
History can stir a lot.