5 weeks of class
How are you? Fine.
Walking to school
Greeted happily by the children
now 5 weeks into the school term
Ibu Enda manages the office
copies, supplies, sick children
calls from parents, scheduling
the children know her as the
Ibu who will take care of everything,
solve every problem
and make everyone feel good
there are three teachers rooms
with a desk for each teacher
teachers have time off from teaching
to do prep work
so this room is a good place
Olivia from England
clues me in to a good website for ideas
Pak Alve and I talk about
how we can collaborate on
social studies and economics
with the 7th and 8th graders
the students and I
know each other better
the first days were enveloped
now, an exuberance
new energies coursing through their bodies
a sweet warmth with the girls
becoming more centered in inner strength
while the boys burst out of themselves
in playful teasing and wrangling
often unaware of their impact
each new teacher, like me,
has a new teaching style
and a new English accent to adjust to
last year’s English teacher was Indonesian
this has it’s challenging moments
for the students
we begin the hour
huddled, the six of them and I
around a book I brought with me
“Anamalia,” finding as many items
as we can on each page
focus and fun
never have I been in a classroom with as much freedom
we create our own vocabulary words
I teach grammar through looking at their writing errors
here are a few examples:
• My brothers are a messy person, but when my mom yells at them they become an organize person.
• Everyday where ever I go I always worries about my family. I’m afraid they are hurt and the only thing I can do is to pray to God so that God give protection to my family so that they are save and I always meet them when I am home.
• Last night I cook an egg, but the fire was so big so I turn it off so it not burns.
• When I was sick I always cough and its hurt. Then me and my mom went to the doctor to see what is happening to me. Then said the doctor, Oh mam, your son sickness was deman berdarah* so he mustn’t go to a hot place or not to play soccer on the field.
*a made up word, Ale says.
Yet again, I mispronounce Syifa’s name
a tear shows in the corner of her eye
not to embarrass her, I write her a note:
“I’m so sorry, Syifa. I mispronounced your name
and I see that it hurt. I want to pronounce it correctly.”
Soon a note comes back to me:
“It’s not because of you, Bu. I’m just sad that someone
has been careless to me.
That name thingy is no problem for me.”
Note back: “Oh, I’m so sorry that someone
hurt your feelings. Is that what you mean by careless?”
Reply: “Yes, it is.”
Our relationship has just gone one step deeper.
Leni and Herni in the office
discover that I’m a psychotherapist
“You’re a psychologist? We’ve never met one.
It’s like in the movies. Are you REALLY a psychologist?”
For a few minutes, they act subdued,
worried perhaps that I am seeing their secrets
“Oh gosh, I hope you won’t stop talking to me now?”