Photo illustration: Novita Eka Syaputri
This article is part of the Teachers' Notes series on unpleasant teaching experience.
After taking a year off to enrol in the Teacher Professional Education (PPG) programme, I returned to my teaching job at school. Coming back after a year was a challenging process. I had to relearn the school’s new policies and get to know the students' parents. I had to adapt to do my job well.
The first challenge I faced was about arranging a lesson plan. What I learned from the PPG programme was different from how things were done at the school. Some parts of the school's lesson plan were not following the standards for audience, behaviour, condition, and degree. I also noticed how the assessment sheet did not match with basic competency.
Changing my colleagues’ views to get them to revise the lesson plan was not easy because not every teacher has an open mind. Being a PPG graduate, I did not want to be labelled “proud”, so I kept my silence and changed my lesson plan without caring about others’.
The second challenge, which was enough to put pressure on me, was the view from my colleagues that I was a "golden child" of the school foundation because they allowed me to take a leave of absence for a year. I realised that not everyone would support my decision to develop myself. In the end, everything made me become more reclusive and rarely speak my mind at big meetings.
At first, I thought it was the safest way to do my job without burden. Unfortunately, what happened was the opposite as I grew more depressed due to the lack of person to talk to and I could not forget the negative things people said behind my back. It felt heavier each day to work until I finally decided to speak to someone I trust.
I was grateful because I spoke to the right person who motivated me and convinced me that growth is a choice. Some plants wither, but some small seeds buried deep into the ground keep on growing and come out as a new plant. Life is a choice. Our behaviour is a choice. Our responses to negative speeches are also a choice. We are free to choose with all the consequences and results.
That talk lifted me up, motivated me to become a seed that was buried deep into the ground to keep on growing. My life is not to please others or to avoid people who despise me. My life is about servitude, a great responsibility as a teacher and educator for the nation's next generation.
*This Note was written by RCA, a primary school teacher in Central Java.
**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.