"Being a teacher was not what I had as my "favorite occupation" when I was a child, considering the way I was treated by many teachers in elementary school. But when I went to college, I began to feel that the school is good and you can make activities become moments full of pleasure.
See our students grow and learn is very rewarding.
In college, I worked as a tutor and I began to realize that the vocabulary of my students was very poor, all they could say in English was limited to "yes," "no", "I love you." And I worked with a lot of dedication to change this picture. See their progress because of my work (at least in part, because I know that students work hard), melted my heart, was so touching and made me want to feel it over and over again.
This is when I realized that I wanted to be a teacher.
I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Green School as soon as I graduated. Before, my experience was only six months in private schools and language courses in Seminyak. Being inside the Green School made me grow a lot as a teacher.
My story with education is full of ups and downs.
When I was a kid, I was very excited to go to school. Many of my neighbors were studying in the same school, and I anticipated that it would be fun to wear a uniform, carry my backpack, walking with my friends between my home and the classroom. In those days, it was my dream to live all this.
Until I failed the year. When I was in first grade, I repeated. From then on I started to feel stupid, helpless.
I was desperate because my relationship with the teachers and classmates boiled down to judgments. At that time, education came down to right and wrong.
Inside me, there was still a remnant of this feeling that education was something fun. But the pressure of society and the system had a huge impact on my way of understanding what it means to teach and learn.
When I went to high school, I had another bad experience, because there is a standart test here in Indonesia. I was very young and immature at the time and ended up failing precisely on the English test. This was my second horrible experience. I felt so worthless and completely disappointed. All my feelings said that I was not good enough, that I should give up English and become a farmer or something. That test results told me that I should devote myself to something that does not require much of me because I was not able.
This mindset remained long with me, until I graduated from high school. Then I was approved at the University of Denpasar, and that was my turning point.
My village was far from the city, there I took care of cows and pigs after school. I had this job, these were my assignments. It was not something that consumed all my time, there were many remained hours to study, but because of the set of feelings that I had and because of my fixed mentality, I thought studying was useless because I could not learn.
So that's why I say that the university was the experience that changed my life.
I realized that I should not be silent, that I had a voice to be heard and that I could do a lot for the world. I came to feel that "I can do it!"
It started with the support I received from my colleagues and my teachers. The university I studied was not the best in Bali, so most students were not the best in their classes, and I felt like them, at the same level. That was an advantage, because we felt like we were fighting the same battle, all in the same position. There was no intimidation by colleagues, and I think this is extremely important. I felt that I could improve a lot. I was inspired by how much progress I could do and learn and it was this feeling that set me back.
From that moment, I continued studying, was full of motivation. I understood that if I kept working, I was going to be better. I worked hard! I was dedicated enough, and the result was that I graduated as the fourth best student in my university. At that time, all the feelings I had experienced so far proved to be false.
Today I apply this to my students. I want them to realize that there is a lot of people out there who are bad at something. There are people who are bad at math, people who are bad in English. When they say they are bad at something, I ask them to not let their minds become fixed, so that it prevents them from not studying enough. Look, my experiences were bad, and my fixed mindset just made everything worse.
In this matter, teachers can be disasters or angels. I decided I wanted to be a life changer.
Here in Indonesia the curriculum is fixed and centered. The government sets a resume and it is applied across the country. Honestly, I don't think that's good, because Indonesia is a diverse country, from east to west you can see many differences, from the color of skin, religion, habits and cultures.
In addition, there is this standart test that I telling you about. It is the worst part, in my point of view. I feel a kind of hatred for this test because it is a way to evaluate students, regardless of their differences. All they need to do is answer the same and they will be approved. I think that students have different characteristics and personalities, and this is not necessarily bad.
Education is about children's knowledge. People from different backgrounds are not the same, and in my opinion the education here is not being able to correspond to these different needs. Students need to be aware of their differences, and not the opposite.
I mean, who wants to do tests? Especially if the test is the same for everyone.
My village has bad test results and the place I work is even worse. I wonder how can you measure places that are so different? How can you treat students the same way across the country? If they keep doing this, the students will feel down and it'll be increasingly difficult to motivate them and finally they will probably give up education. It is almost impossible to be passionate about education in these conditions. I really do not want to see that happen.
I believe there are many good teachers in Indonesia. There are good things happening right now. But while the system remains the way it is, it will continue to limit the creativity of teachers and the students' progress.
People have different perspectives on what is to be a teacher. In my family, with my friends and people I know, I feel like a respected worker. On a larger level, teachers are also seen as honorable jobs, because they are as parents for everyone. Papua is even better, because society puts so much trust in teachers.
I mean, this can be a good or bad thing, because teachers can do anything and the parents just take it as the right thing to do. Compared to other countries, Indonesia teachers have a lot of power. That's changing now, we sense a decrease in our participation in decisions, but still, there is respect.
If one of my students come to me and say that he or she will be a teacher, I give them all the support I can. I'll try to be a model, after all, I'm a living proof: from my experience and becoming what I am now ...
I want my students to follow their passions. And I want them to know that we can become passionate about new things if we keep an open mind and keep learning. This is the way to find new passions. And I want them to be happy, you know. Simple as that. Because when people are happy, the world is a peaceful place.
Teachers, keep inspiring. You don't have to be the smartest person in the world to be a great teacher because students learn when they are inspired and when they have a promise of success. When they can experience any little bit of success, they will grow! You will be able to witness this growth.
Just make sure that in all classes and activities you provide that feeling of success for them, and you will be happy with the results."