Photo illustration: Goldy F. Dharmawan
This article is part of the Teachers' Notes series on unpleasant teaching experience.
There is a Chinese proverb, “Never run from the stress in your life. Find the cause and its solution.”
Being a teacher in a national plus school (a school that offers education beyond the minimum requirements of the national Indonesian accreditation authorities) requires extra energy physically, in teaching, in behaving, and in understanding each student's character. It is not surprising that teachers in national plus schools face more pressure than teachers in government-funded schools.
The school where I work applies the national plus curriculum and offers complete facilities and adequate learning tools. Therefore, the opinion of parents or the school committee is the school's priority.
As a result, teachers are rarely expressing their opinion or sharing their stories about pressures from the parents.
I experienced this first-hand during my first year teaching. I met parents unaware of their child's development and showed less care about their child's daily activities at school, so the child acted out to get attention.
Pressure from Parents
I suffered from stress when facing pressure from the parents. I had a student in my class with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who often annoyed other students. As I was the homeroom teacher, parents of other students complained about this issue to me.
However, I did not want to blame the student with special needs straightaway. I decided to investigate the root of the problem to be able to offer the best solution.
I talked to the parents of the student with special needs, but they refused to believe that their child could do the things complained about by other parents. The discussion went sour and tense because even the slightest mistake would cause a scene between the parents.
Finally, we all decided to make a log book that records every incident involving the student with special needs. After a few days, the student’s parents finally realised their child’s condition and changed their attitude.
When faced with difficult situations like that, I try not to give up and discuss the problem with my friends. They usually manage to re-boost my motivation. I also spend my free time fishing to distract myself.
To be More Professional
Apart from faced with challenges from the parents, my other unpleasant experience was related to seniority. Sometimes, teachers treat other teachers based on seniority. I try to accept this as it is and carry on to avoid problems.
I take every pressure from the parents or fellow teachers as a push to be more professional in what I do. As a professional, we must be able to change problems into a test that can be solved.
I hope, going forward, I can be a professional teacher who won’t be easily disturbed by negativity at the workplace.
*This Note was written by TBS, 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.