Photo illustration: Novita Eka Syaputri
This article is part of the Teacher's Note series on teaching experience as a beginning teacher.
After graduating from the Teacher Professional Education (PPG) programme, I decided to teach at a different school. Although I already knew many people in this new school, I still went through the adaptation process as I was joining a new place of work.
At this school, I work full time as a Grade 5 teacher without any additional assignments. I find situations in this school different to what I had hoped or imagined before. Everything seems far from what I dreamed. Even the beginning teachers here have different aspirations than my peers in the PPG programme.
Despite being a new teacher, I offer inputs to the school principal, which unfortunately receive a minimal response. Do I get upset? I do, but I am determined to stay motivated.
Aspire to be Creative
I spent my days in the new school doing what was expected of me, such as teaching by the materials provided, going to and coming home from school as scheduled, and continuing to teach well, even though sometimes feeling uncomfortable in the new environment.
One time, I was enquired to send a student to a sub-district math and science competition. It was not easy because I had difficulties finding qualified students.
That was the time I got excited. I thought, "I don't need to follow the others or ask those who are not interested."
I thought change should begin with oneself instead of others. Therefore, every time my heart moved, I immediately acted.
I initiated activities that I thought were good and would benefit the students. I decorated the class and completed my administrative tasks. I created a programme for my class to get to know my students' parents better and become a model class that was independent, innovative, and creative.
I took my time every morning to greet the students at the gate. I also asked the students to clean the class and water the plants.
I then got asked to prepare and mentor students who would join competitions, from singing to drawing. By that time, I began to feel comfortable. The class was tidier, and parents were involved in activities I initiated. I also formed the Grade 5 parent group.
Everything seems to be working smoothly, but challenges persist. The principal rarely takes inputs from teachers, which somewhat bothers me.
Get the Best Out of the Situation
The school where I teach and its surrounding area are very comfortable. It has a sizeable number of students and has met a minimum of twenty students in each classroom. There are five contract teachers and four civil servant teachers working in this school.
Still, I am having trouble getting my colleagues to create a variety of activities. They have different aspirations than my peers in the PPG programme.
The civil servant teachers are retiring, and their productivity has not been as it used to be. On the other side, my contract teacher colleagues are busy with their family affairs. They come to school every day to teach then go straight back home. It is already hard to ask them to develop a new habit of greeting the students every morning, praying and reciting the Quran, let alone asking them to improve literacy.
To date, I carry out my obligation to teach students and provide minimal interactive learning because of the lack of school facilities and principal support.
I leave early every morning to greet the students at school and help them clean the classroom.
I also take the initiative to do additional work, such as giving the students colouring practice and creating a literacy corner.
*This Note was written by DP, a primary school teacher in East 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.