Photo illustration: Novita Eka Syaputri
This article is part of the Teacher's Note series on memorable moments of teaching.
I am a teacher who has completed the Teacher Professional Education (PPG) programme in Bogor. As a general teacher, I teach mathematics; Indonesian; civic education; natural science; social science; art, culture, and craft (SBdP); and local content subjects.
I’m not a physical education teacher. I’m not an English teacher. I'm not a religion teacher either. But I can teach students those subjects if requested. I have little bit of knowledge of all those subjects.
Pursuing a Career in Jakarta
After graduating from PPG, I quickly thought of applying for a job at a good school to pursue a career. My eyes and heart were set on Jakarta. So I looked for a teacher vacancy in the capital. I sent applications to many schools and received an interview call from one of the Islamic schools in South Jakarta.
On the first day I came to the school, I was immediately appointed as a teacher. During the second meeting, I was told to use the 2013 and the Cambridge Curricula in instruction. The school also carries out a tahfidz (memorizing the Quran) programme that requires all teachers capable of teaching Islamic religion subjects. From those two meetings, I concluded that I should be able to teach various subjects. I decided to accept the challenge of being a teacher at the school.
I started working as a teacher in February 2019. Initially, I only had few tasks. I taught English, Indonesian, Sundanese, civic education, and SBdP subjects until the school year ended.
When the new school year of 2019/2020 started, I got new assignments: to teach Grades 1, 2, and 3. At first, I didn’t mind because I thought nothing could go wrong with taking those assignments. Apparently, I was wrong.
I was asked to teach seven subjects in Grade 1, five subjects in Grade 2, and four subjects in Grade 3. That means I would be responsible for instructing seventeen subjects. I was not sure if I could take on such a big responsibility. Although initially hesitant, eventually, I accepted and undertook the assignments.
To this day, I still carry that responsibility of instructing seventeen subjects.
Should be in Proportion
Taking on the task of instructing seventeen subjects has definitely changed my view of the teaching profession. I asked myself whether teachers at private schools are generally assigned this much work. Can a teacher instruct seventeen subjects throughout a school year?
I think the answers to both questions are “no”. Regardless, that is the reality I have encountered. Having instructed seventeen subjects has made me realise that the number of subjects assigned to a teacher should be in proportion and appropriate to the teacher’s ability. In my opinion, assignments to teachers in public schools are proportionate. Public school teachers should be grateful for not having a heavy workload like mine.
I hope there are no more teachers who get over-assigned like I did.
*This Note was written by RY, a primary school teacher in West 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.