Over the course of my time in Indonesia I have had many opportunities to talk with and get to know quite a few individuals at school, in the community, and across the country. I decided to interview three individuals at my school about their lives focusing on their educational experiences throughout their career as students and teachers.
The first individual that I interviewed was an 11th grade girl. She hopes to become a policewoman and enjoys playing volleyball, dancing, and signing. She is from the village of Beltang, South Sumatra. She has one younger brother and her father worked n the Army while her mother is a nurse with a home clinic. Her advice for future students is to be happy everyday because you only live once and to be grateful for what God has given to you. She says people should taste pempek, visit the beautiful places outside of Bali, and visit her home if they ever come to Indonesia.
The second individual that I interviewed was a 10th grade boy. He hopes to become an architect and enjoys studying physics, playing futsol, watching movies - especially X-men or Harry Potter. He is from the village of Simbawa, South Sumatra. He has one older sister and one younger brother and his father worked in construction while his mother was a teacher. His advice for future students is to become more close with each other (treat your classmates like family), strive to travel and do well, help each other, be honest, and have a good attitude. He says people who come to Indonesia need to come in order to share their culture, exchange ideas, and study Indonesian culture because it’s rich and has a unique point of view.
The final person I interviewed was the business studies teacher. She has been teaching for 7 years and enjoys snorkeling, watching movies, and talking with friends. She is from the town of Lampung originally. Her advice for students is to stop being lazy, she says, ”We might think we have touched the moon cause we are so close to it, but actually it’s still far away. so, it’s a never-ending fight to be someone.” Her advice for people who visit Indonesia is to learn some bahasa indonesia earlier before coming here. just as the appreciation for the native Indonesian.
In the course of interviewing these individuals it is clear that there are some similarities across their educational experiences. For example when asked about their worst school memory every single one of them could give an example or time when they interacted with a horrible teacher and they could say exactly who that teacher was and what made them dislike them. The male student recalled, “My least favorite teacher was arrogant, and always wanted to fight/argue with students, he was always angry and didn’t care about his subject.” The female student said, “My teacher would always come to class late and in a bad mood and that would affect the whole class.” The teacher said, “I had a teacher that wasn’t educating people, he was abusing students because whenever we did anything wrong he would pull us to the front of class to stand there and be humiliated and punished for long periods of time.” In every instance the teacher was someone who was not passionate about their profession and not there for students. It is clear that if you do not like your job and do not like interacting with kids then the students will know it and carry that image with them for the rest of their life.
When asked about their favorite teacher all three interviewees could recall a teacher that motivated and inspired them to achieve their dreams. They recalled someone who pushed them to be actively involved and who gave them the flexibility and freedom to try new things without fear of repercussions. From their responses it is clear that if you want to be a great educator you not only have to know your material but you have to GET kids. You have to be me a life coach and support them as they grow and develop, nurturing and encouraging them along the way as much as making sure they get the knowledge necessary to be successful in the classroom and beyond.
It is also very clear that many people here find education is valuable and important in life. Both students cited their entrance into this particular school and receiving scholarships as a pivotal role in reaching their dreams and continuing on to university and beyond in their careers and life. The business studies teacher said it best when she said, “Education is the bridge to success. You can’t reach your dream without it. That’s the reason that inspired me to work in education field.” Overall I found it very refreshing to discuss education with these three Indonesians and learn that many of the things concerning education and what it means to be a great teacher and student are universal. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the United States or half way around the world, the most important thing is to take advantage of the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop. It is also clear that as an educator you have to be in this profession not for yourself, but for your students and those people who will learn from you through your mentorship and encouragement. If you don’t like kids and inspiring others’ thirst for knowledge then education is not the right field for you.