photo: Open Universiteit, Emmen

About fifteen years old, I became interested in certain short poems, occasionally longer ones and even some complete dramas that were written in rhyme. I enjoyed the rhythm of sounds as in some poems by classic authors, and quite often I also enjoyed the jokes in the these stories. I liked to recite these poems and did so quite often on parties. Many of the texts are still safely stored in my memory and easily accessible. I was a member of a cabaret group for some time and made my TV début when the zoology department had to organize a practical course on animal behaviour for an unusual large number of psychology students. Such a large number of people could not be coached to observe courting sticklebacks as in previous years. A novel dimension had to be added. Professional movie-makers participated. The lab became crowded with cameras and TV monitors. Assistants had to show their tricks in front of the camera. I should say that I loved to do so. 

As an investigator I had to give talks, for instance about ruffs on congresses. Sometimes I was in brilliant form, but occasionally I could not strike the right note, for instance when the audience was very critical or when the meeting was not inspiring. When I began as a teacher at the Open Universiteit, I was rarely able to show my talents as a performer because I had to write new courses. Then, much later, I gradually became able to organize group sessions for students and could give talks for them. For the department I sometimes acted as an 'orator' for special events. Colleagues did appreciate this, but, after hearing the recordings, I mostly realized that I could have done it better.

After finishing my official career I continued to give some lectures for all kinds of groups. I sometimes talked for the Open Universiteit and other educational institutions, or gave a lecture for associations, and also in a master class for managers and local authorities. Now and then I adorn my lectures with a funny poem or an amusing anecdote. I am still available for talks.


contact via e-mail: johan-van-rhijn@wxs.nl