Matt Cooley's phone rang on graduation day in December of 2008. It was his future calling from more than 3,000 miles away. A principal offered Cooley, `08 and his wife Victoria (Hope College grad, '06) teaching jobs in the Netherlands at the United World College Maastricht. After a long paperwork process, they left their hometown of Grand Rapids and headed across the ocean, again.
The scenery was not entirely new for Cooley who had spent the better half of 2007 in the Netherlands teaching K-12 students as part of GVSU's study abroad program. As an English major, with an emphasis in Language Arts and an Elementary Education minor, teaching has always been Matt's passion.
"I want to help shape their [students¿] character, molding them into thoughtful, communicative and open-minded individuals. I want to empower them with tools they need to succeed in a world where positive role models are hard to find," said Cooley.
A role model himself, Cooley has been teaching 37 fourth grade students from all over the globe every day with the help of his current teaching assistant and GVSU study abroad student, Tina. The last two years of teaching math, science, language, the arts, and geography to several children who do not understand English, has taught him a few lessons as well.
"It was always exciting to think that one day I would teach abroad, but for it to become a reality has been more challenging and more rewarding than I thought it would be."
Cooley says his experiences at Grand Valley have taught him to be a worldly learner, and he continues to stay in touch with former professors at GVSU for their honest advice and ideas, which he calls 'priceless.'
Matt hopes to one day pursue further studies in Educational Leadership, studying new ideas about teaching and learning differently.
He currently resides in Maastricht, Netherlands with his wife Victoria, and their English bull dog puppy Zoe. Watch the interview and video of Matt Cooley in his classroom. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZDU-Nzow2o