Photo illustration: Novita Eka Syaputri
This article is part of the Teachers’ Notes series on the arduous process of finding a teaching job.
People say a university major whose graduates can quickly get a job is teacher education. This may be true since the work path for its graduates is pretty obvious and directed: becoming a teacher. But working as a teacher is not merely to earn money. Professional teachers must be able to hold good values and principles. I am still trying to apply all of those to date.
Immediately Got a Job
My initial journey as a teacher was fairly easy. Before graduating college, I already got a work offer from a private school in my homeland, Purwokerto. My mother was the principal at that school.
I responded well to the offer even though it was a mediocre school. I thought I should give my best wherever I work. At the time, the school offered me a job to replace their teachers who would retire concurrently.
I did not earn much there, but I always remembered that my initial goal of pursuing this profession was to dedicate my life as an educator. Also, I could not bear to let my mother struggle to find teachers because many candidates objected to the [small] salary offered by the school.
Teaching in Tasikmalaya
I started working at the school [where my mother worked] in March 2015, exactly one month before graduating from college. Everything went well and was exciting. My teacher colleagues were kind, and my relationship with my parents was good. At first, I thought I would continue teaching at the school. But along the way, I found differences in principles and vision of education with the organisation that housed the school. It was hard for me to agree with their principles and vision because they go against mine. So I resigned from the school. My mother supported my decision.
Over the next month, I applied for a teaching job at many schools in big cities. While waiting for interview calls, my mother’s long-standing friend in Tasikmalaya called and told her that a newly-established school there was recruiting teachers. Honestly, I never intended to look for a job in Tasikmalaya because I was never familiar with the city. My mother and I were also doubtful because a newly-built school usually is still in the process of developing its structure and work system. Nonetheless, I thought I should at least send my CV.
So I waited a few days before getting a call from the school in Tasikmalaya. They invited me for an interview the following week. I said yes and went there with my mother.
Beyond my presumption and expectation, the school already had a clear vision and mission. Not only that, they and I shared the same view on education, thus assuring me to work there. I officially started teaching there in November 2015.
Uncertain about PPG
In 2017, I heard about Teacher Professional Education (PPG), a government-subsidised teacher training programme. At the time, I did not intend to join the Programme because it was one year long and would require me to leave my work for quite a long time—while I was already comfortable with my work situation.
But my mother kept pushing me to apply to PPG because she thought I would gain new experience and knowledge. Eventually, on the last day of registration, I submitted the application form and leave of absence to the school’s organisation. I was grateful that they approved my request and even supported my decision to participate in PPG.
Initially, the PPG was set to start from June 2017 to June 2018. But I had to wait six months to get a definite schedule. This made me reluctant again to join the Programme. I even thought that PPG would be cancelled. So I forgot about it and returned to work.
In December 2017, I heard that the PPG schedule would be announced around January 2018, and the re-registration would be on the following month. Hearing this did not make me relieved, but instead I had to re-group my intention and enthusiasm to join the Programme.
When the start of PPG finally arrived, I was sad to leave my students. So I was determined to attend PPG to the best of my ability.
In the beginning, the Programme was tough and tedious. How could it not—I had studied some of the courses during my undergraduate study. Also, we were given loads of assignments beyond the requirement—they said it was to get us used to do more than expected.
And I did just that—bustling with the routine. I got up early every day to prepare teaching materials and develop detailed lesson plans. Eventually, I managed to complete PPG sufficiently and returned to work at the school to date.
I truly enjoyed every process that I had gone through. I am grateful because I could partake in pioneering the character-based school that I had always wanted and got the opportunity to develop myself through the subsidised pre-service PPG.
I believe good education always starts with good educators. Good teacher, good education, good character, for a better world.
*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.