Photo illustration: Goldy F. Dharmawan
This article is part of the Teacher's Note series on the key moments of becoming a beginning teacher.
Becoming a civil servant teacher is the dream of almost all teachers, including me. Besides getting a better salary, my reason for wanting the civil servant status is to have a secured, recognised position by the State.
Nine months ago today, I became a civil servant candidate, a status dreamed of by most non-permanent teachers in Indonesia. In the next few months, I will be appointed as a civil servant.
The Weight of Being a Non-Permanent Teacher
Before becoming a civil servant candidate, I was a non-permanent teacher. It was not easy because I had a lot of work, but the pay was low—very unreasonable. The salary for a non-permanent teacher in Bantul was around 300,000 rupiahs per month ($20), far below the regional minimum wage, and was not commensurate with the time, effort, and cost required to obtain a bachelor's degree.
The salary I received at the time was not even enough to meet my daily needs, so I had to give private lessons to earn extra income. I offered private tutoring after school. I could tutor one to two shifts in a day, and finished at 9 p.m.
I was lucky because my principal at the time did not give me heavy workloads. Many non-permanent teachers earned low pay but were burdened with much, laborious teaching and other tasks.
The Fate of a Non-Permanent Teacher
In the past, when I wanted to create learning tools, the school could not provide a dedicated fund to buy equipment due to the limited operational funds. With my small salary, I could not afford to buy the tools myself.
Being a non-permanent teacher was also full of uncertainty. There was no legal protection for my job. I could be transferred at any time if suddenly there was a civil servant transfer [to my school].
Now, I have a secured employment status. I get a better salary proportionate to the tasks I do. I can make my own learning tools and can afford to buy additional tools for teaching. I no longer need to offer private lessons to earn extra income, and I don't have to come home late at night. My employment status is secured and is protected by law.
I realise that not everyone is as lucky as me. Many non-permanent teachers are more qualified but have not been fortunate to secure the civil servant candidacy status. I wish them better luck in the future. May their sincerity in educating students brings goodness to our country.
*This Note was written by IK, a primary school teacher in Yogyakarta.
**All articles published in the Teachers' Notes are the views of the authors. They have been edited for popular writing purposes and do not represent the views of RISE Programme in Indonesia or RISE's funders.