Ninth-grade students at Groene Hart Rijnwoude school, in the small town of Hazerswoude Dorp, Netherlands, did not know what to expect when their biology teacher, Debby Heerkens, stood up on her table and began to take off her clothes.
There were a few murmurs of disbelief among the students. After all, even in a European country as progressive as the Netherlands, it is not quite common for a female teacher to take off her clothes in the middle of class. But it would not take the students long to realize why Debby was doing it in the first place.
“At first they were a little bit in shock because they thought ‘the teacher is taking off her clothes,’ until, they saw what was underneath,” said Debby to CNN, explaining her reasons behind the apparently bizarre act.
What was underneath was an anatomically-correct spandex suit, showing where all the organs of the body are found. Though Debby has been a biology teacher for more than seven years, and usually tries to incorporate books and interactive tools when tackling dense topics in class, this was the first time that she had decided to go out of her way to help her students learn the basics of human anatomy.
According to Metro, the idea sprang into the Dutch teacher’s mind when she saw a woman sporting similar leggings on the streets. It was then she decided that it would be a very creative way to teach her students about the human body, but one problem still persisted. The director of the school remained a tough customer, and Debby was not sure if she could convince him. Fortunately, however, when Debby did tell him about the idea, he was all in, making Heerkens all the more convinced that it was the right way of going about her business.
The spandex suit that was first revealed to her astonished students fully mapped out the human body in sharp and graphic detail. A few minutes later, Debby was at it again. Now, she began to take off the spandex suit she was wearing, too.
Heerkens had several layers of such suits, the next one showing the skeletal bone structure.
According to Debby, the point was to help her students visualize the complex anatomy of the human body, while also highlighting its essential organs in a scaled replica. And what better way to create a replica of the human body than on the human body itself? That is quite ingenious, most have to agree. It is certainly not a lesson her students will forget.
Meanwhile, Groene Hart Rijnwoudea uploaded a short video of Debby taking down her clothes in class to reveal her anatomy suit just last week on Facebook, and has since gone on to be viewed more than 115,000 times at the time of writing. Debby’s actions have made her an internet celebrity overnight, with many people praising her for her creativity. One person wrote the following on her Facebook page.
“Great school, great teacher and a super cute mentor.”
While another one noted as follows.
“Gosh.. how inspiring and expressive! Let it be an example to all biology colleagues.”
Let’s hope that not only biology teachers, but teachers of all subjects, take a leaf out of the Dutch teacher’s book and create more interactive ways to help their students learn.
[Photo via Debby Heerkens / Facebook]