The Art of Learning and Exposing: Teaching
To be a qualified and professional teacher is my dream. To me, being a teacher is a passion. I do not want to be anything else. I’m passionate to be a teacher since I can share my knowledge to people whom I meet. Lucky me, I am a teacher, an English teacher specifically, and I enjoy it. To be honest, to be a qualified and professional teacher is not easy. Comparing to some of my friends who has been teaching for years, I am just a green horn. Being a teacher is not a matter that you transfer your knowledge, beyond that, there are many things that you have to master. Personally, I would say that when you choose to be a teacher, it means that you must keep on learning for the rest of your life. Once I read a proverb, “When you stop learning, you stop teaching.”
I did not know exactly, where did I start teaching. I still remember, when I was in primary school, my neighbor asked me to teach his daughter. Well, of course it was unprofessional at that time. What I knew, I was happy to do that. As happy as I am teaching now. He asked me to teach his daughter how to read and count. He told me that his daughter had a difficulty in reading and counting. His daughter studied with me after her classes over for about an hour. After an hour she would be back to my home, bringing a bowl of meatball soup since her father sells it.
I start teaching professionally since March 2009. It took two years for me to stay in one place until I finally decided to find more teaching experiences. Experiencing teaching English as Foreign Language (EFL) and English-English (EE) was such a big luck for me. The owner of the language school is an old lady who keen on to learn. She often invites expatriate or native speaker to study with us. We formed some kind of English study group. We studied twice a week. We studied not only about English, yet we talked about history, poems, short stories and many more. Sometimes we did not realise that we spent more than two hours studying and discussing.
The goal of this English course is reading comprehension. So it is obvious that we have to read at least five to ten pages of various stories everyday. Beside reading, we must listen to the CD too. We learn how native speaker pronounces every single English word. Most of the material are stories, poetry and drama. The lesson starts from Level A to Level I, what a learning journey J . Personally, I found some interesting stories in each level, such as Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, The Hobbit by JRR. Tolkien and Great Expectation written by Charles Dickens. As a teacher we must master at least two level above our students.
To expand my experience, I joined a national plus school on March 2011. It is a bilingual school. It uses English and Arabic for their teaching learning activities. I was assigned teaching for Kindergarten 2. It was my first experience to teach young learner. It was a very short, in fact, to teach English, Science and Math for kindergarten students. Within a year, I challenged myself to posess a leadership skill by leading some competitions and be a Person in Charge (PIC) for Science Day, Coloring Competition and Spelling Bee Competition. I was also responsible in assigning Drama Performance for Assemby and End Year Graduation. Interacting intensively with young learner for a year made me realise that it was not easy teaching them.
The school facilitates teachers to share thier knowledge not only in terms of teaching skills but also other areas such as art and craft, physicology, economics, sharia, hijab tutorial, cooking and many more. This event namely Teachers Professional Develeopment. The event held every Tuesday. On Wednesday we learn about English from the native speaker while on Friday we learnt Arabic from Islamic Studies or Arabic Teachers. Most of Arabic and Islamic Teachers are graduated from Al-Azhar University, so we learnt a lot from them, not only a matter of Arabic lesson but also Middle East, Egypt culture especially. I couldn’t prolong to teach in Kindergarten school since I joined an internship in 20013.
Aiming to strengthen my teaching skill, I then joined a Global Internship Program-Education (GIP-EI) in Chandigarh, Punjab-North India. It was on January 2013. I taught for a primary school in a remote area namely Ropar-Roopnagar. I felt so blessed that I earned an experience teaching abroad. Teaching in India gave me a horizon to teach students from different background of language, attitude and culture. Beyond that, my life-changing experience was more than I was thinking before. It was not only a matter of sharping my teaching skills, but also it was about how I adjusted with new environment, met people all over the world and how did I see myself.
During the summer holiday, I joined a voluntary work in Ladak-Leh (Jammu and Kashmir) for three weeks. Being a volunteer was really valued my life. I taught in a Budhis school run by two great monks. I saw how people from non-academic education background run a school to empowering and enlightening the life of indigenious people. I met a voluntary girl from French who dedicated her life to help Ladakhi. Geshe La, Geshe Jigme and Charlie had showed me that to help people and to do kindness are borderless. I had a chance to visit an alternative school which was famous to be shooted for Three Idiots movie.
During my stay in Ladhak, I also worked together with the local teachers in a model school. This school is totally different with the previous school I taught. This model school consist of Muslim and Budhis students. Muslim and Budhis are two minor religion in India since most of Indian are Hindus.
For twenty nine weeks, I knew that India had given so much impact on me. How teaching gives so many sides of valuable things that money can’t buy. I met local, as well as international teachers. We shared and talked a lot about everything instead of education.
After completing my internship, I went back to my home country. To be honest, I have no idea what I am going to be when I step my feet at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. One thing for sure I just want to give benefits to others, to society through education.
I am teaching English at a language school currently. It has been three years now. I learn a lot here. I found this place suits me best since I meet people who have been teaching for more than a decade. They are expertise in English. The institution itself has been established for more than twenty years. For the first two years I was assigned to teach Preparatory and Grade Levels. Beside teaching Preparatory and Grade Level, right now I assigned for Teenagers class as well.
After experiencing being a puppetier and performed in “Goldilock” puppet show, I am now joining Agora English Club (AEC). AEC is an English Club which is aiming to support teachers’ development. We held some activities due to teachers’ development such as workshop, seminar, book discussion, talkshow and poster. AEC shared the values of egalitarianism and collaborative work.
Outside teaching at a language school, I try my best involving myself as a volunteer, not only in my working place but also in the place where I live. I want to give my best contribution to the society wherever I live. Currently, I joined two institutions such as Rumah Jendela and Backpacker Indonesia.
“Rumah Jendela” is a young people organisation which concerns on education for marginal children in Manggarai, Jakarta. Every Saturday afternoon the volunteers who come from different background of education teach children, mostly from Kindergarten to Primary students.
On the other hand, Backpacker Indonesia is a community where young people promote to travel in a low budget and fun adventure around Indonesia. We share everything about travelling and promote to keep our country clean wherever we do travelling. In addition, we do social activities as well, such as giving donation to orphan children, sending books for children or becoming volunteer for other social activities which held by other parties. The last event we had was “Kemping Ceria” (Happy Camp) with orphan children from Jabodetabek in D’ Kandang, Depok-West Java.
I realise in order to be a professional and qualified teacher I need to equip myself with unlimited knowledge. That is way, right now I am preparing myself to pursue my master degree abroad. I do believe that studying abroad will benefit me a lot. By the time I am finishing my study I am ready to execute my dreams.
Karya : Irma Rahmatiana