Teaching: On Troublemakers In Class

teaching is equal to learning - friend taken photography

I was quite shocked when I entered a classroom full of laughing and noisy students for the first time. My shared teacher told me to “beware of the boys”. I thought it was going to be just a regular noisy class and she was just exaggerating. But to be honest, the class was a disaster! It wasn’t just some noisy class.

Being in the class was quite irritating. But I’m a pacifist. I didn’t want to make a direct rude encounter. So I patiently taught, and noticed that among the boys, there was one kid played the role of the leader of the pack 😛

Among the commotion, I thought, what would Wahyu did if he was in the exact particular classroom facing kids like them. Wahyu is one of my best friend, an educator, a project manager for an NGO, a therapist, and a writer. By putting myself in his shoes, suddenly I knew what to do. I kept teaching, trying to get the sympathy from them, not feeling mad, ignoring tolerable bad conduct they’re doing, trying to understand that they might have done that because of exhaustion from school, praising them if they made a good work, and encouraging them to do their best. I also tried to gain support from the pack leader. By doing that, I slowly understand that teaching is not only about transferring knowledge. Often, it’s not only about knowledge, but it’s about attitude. Our attitude as a teacher. Teaching isn’t only about being the most knowledgeable in the class, but being the best facilitator to bring out the potentials in our students.

Happy teaching 🙂

The Quad Squad

It was on November 25, 2011 that all of us was officially accepted as an English teacher in ELTI. Even though we became acquainted with each other before we signed the contract, it was when we got accepted and are undergoing training sessions (which will last until next week), we became closer. And now, I have found 3 new great friends. This post is dedicated for them.

Tinus Eska

He was born in Kupang, and has lived in many places in Indonesia, including the U.S. for around 8 years, that’s why he developed his pronunciation well. We nicknamed him “the serious one”, but even though he might looked quite serious, actually he often shows himself as an open and funny person. He is also very creative when it comes to class activities, and quite resourceful. I often feel emotionally closer with him because, among the four of us, we both came from non-English majors. He loves public transportation, and that’s why I bumped him often on my way to ELTI.

Wahyu Riyadi Herjito

He has never left Jogja (province) all his life. He was born in Bantul, and has lived almost his entire life there. Wahyu is a helpful and funny friend. Tinus described him as someone whom you’ll look for if you arrived in a room full of strangers, referring to his friendly appearance and easy-going personality. Well, I have to agree with Tinus. Wahyu is also the only one who shares unusual interests with me, except for Dangdut, which I don’t quite like, yet apparently he enjoys very much.

Andita Rahmaliliana Ekaputri

Andita was born in Lampung, but actually she is of Javanese descent. She’s the only woman in our group, while also the only women in our batch. Considering that ELTI seems to need more male teachers, we hit the right composition. Andita looks very mature, calm, and patient, which might be resulted from her new marriage (among us, she’s “the married one”). She is also very resourceful. We ask her questions regarding English grammar, especially when I and Tinus have questions about it (since we both didn’t come from English major). She went to the same college with Wahyu.

On the other hand, they describe me as a cheerful, patient, funny, passionate, energetic, and playful guy. Hmm… 🙂

One surprising fact is that all of us are of the same age!

Review: Happy for no reason

Me Elisa Diny - self taken photograph

One of the best book ever, written by Marci Shimoff with Carol Kline.

I read this book several months ago, and I promised myself that I would run through it again, and bring it in my bag every single day to remind me to always be happy even if we have no reason for it.

We often feel happy for external things. Something that is not from us, not from our original self. We seek happiness from worldly objects that neither essentially make us feel complete nor leaven our very essence of living.

This book guides us to be happy, to feel happy. Our happiness depends on ourselves, not others, because it’s an active process.

In order to be happy for no reason; i.e. having an internally eternal and accessible happiness, we need to focus on several things. First, focus on yourself. Second, don’t always trust what your mind is telling you, because sometimes it might harm you with jealousy, worries, and so on. Third, focus in loving (also an active process, such as thanking, forgiving, and loving itself). Fourth, don’t forget your physical needs; your body needs exercise and good nutrition. Fifth, whatever name you use, whether God, or The Force, or The Ultimate Existence, keep on connecting with Him. Sixth, have goals, but be flexible. Just do your regular stuff, and let your goals guide you in making decisions. Seventh, cultivate a strong and significant relationship with people around you.

And let us enjoy life 🙂

Writing this post reminds me of Yui. A Japanese singer, a guitarist herself, and a song writer. Most (if not all) of her songs are self-written. With her unique and strong voice, she has been writing such strong messages in her songs.

This is a translation of one of her song, It’s happy line.

Who are you living for?
As you spend these gloomy days

How much weakness and pain do you feel?

Even if you’re lost in an unsatisfying past
And today doesn’t live up to the day you pictured in your dreams, yeah yeah

The stars that shine before dawn
Have they gone? Have they gone to tomorrow?

Tomorrow never knows
It’s happy line

What should I believe?
As I spend these days I can’t see

No matter what night you’re seeing, don’t look so down anymore

Everyone has a smile they call happiness
Can you see it? Even if you don’t smile, yeah yeah

With my feelings for tomorrow in my heart
I tried to see it through rose-tinted glasses
And smile

Tomorrow never knows
It’s happy line

Even if you’re lost in an unsatisfying past
And today doesn’t live up to the day you pictured in your dreams, yeah yeah

The stars that shine before dawn
Have they gone? Have they gone to tomorrow?

Tomorrow never knows
It’s happy line

Review: The Passion Test

I’m lucky enough to have bought great books in an incredibly great price. I mean, 1$ for only 1 book? Isn’t it great? I’ve been interested in spirituality and inspirational books since I wanted to be a significant person in my own life, because sometimes we can feel insignificant and let others be the main character. And that’s what I felt around 3 months ago.

My interest in spirituality and inspirations started with this book. I’d been living my life for years without even knowing what I really wanted to do, and it had to stop somewhere. It stopped when I found the book in a bargain book shop in Jogja. It’s actually not a new book, I mean, I’d known the book since 3 years ago, but I didn’t feel the need to read it. Well, the universe has finally prepared me to accept what’s written in the book 4 months ago. It was the most perfect moment, and no other moment would suit it.

The book tells me about a journey made by a woman to India in order to meet holy people and gain lessons from them. She met so many people and involved in so many adventures, that made her find her passions. And since then, she helped many people find their passions.

After reading some parts of the adventure, the writer then guide the readers to do the passion test. It is very simple. You just need to list 15 things (of belongings, or jobs, or activities, or way of life) that you will have if your life is perfect; in accordance to what you really wish. Just do it and don’t think about the money, or how people would react. Just write! After you have written those 15 things, you ought to set some priorities. Among the 15 things you have written, compare one to each other, which one is the most important thing for you. For example, you compare no 1 with no 2 and you decided that no 2 is the most important, then continue to compare no 2 with no 3, and repeat the process. Do this one by one until you have arranged the list from the most important to the least important.

Pick 5 most important of them, and write: “When my life is just like what I wish, I will…” continue write your list, and add “like this, or something better!” Don’t think how you will achieve it, but rather, think what you really want. After that, focus on the 5 things you’ve prioritized, and make indicators. Indicators are things that can be used as a measurement giving you information that you’ve accomplished your passions. Make 4 indicators for each passions.

I will give you an example. My first passion is to have the knowledge and skill in foreign languages and linguistics. How do I know I’ve achieved it? Well, I would know that I’ve achieved it when:

1. I work in a prestigious institution teaching foreign languages and/or linguistics (nearly accomplished this one).

2. I master at least these language: English, Japan, German, Korean, Italian, and French; and I’m still able to learn other languages.

3. I have pen pal from all over the world to practice my skill.

4. I am trusted to be a translator.

Once again, don’t think about how to achieve it. Just think what you really want, and how would you know that you’ve achieved it. This process requires you to concentrate for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better, because you need to delve more inside yourself and to indulge with your inner self; to contemplate. After you’ve finished the whole process, put the written work on places you’ll see often (on a mirror, in your bathroom, on your bedroom wall, etc). The more you give attention, the stronger it will grow in your life. By doing that, you’ll eventually make sure that every decision you take  is actually making you closer to your passions.

Good luck.

A Resolution: Adversity Advantage

Well, this is not a book review, though I happen to read a book that has (almost) the same title with this post, written by Erik Weihenmayer and Paul Stoltz. Yes, the book has inspired me even before I even finished my first chapter!

But no, once again, this is not a review. This is actually some sort of personal statement. Not that kind of statement used when you’re pursuing some scholarships. This one is merely a personalized personal statement.

I have reviewed the past 2-3 months of my life, and I realized that my desire to just throw away my 28 years of life is not only absurd, but also regrettable. I know that I have to strife harder to overcome my problems, instead of just run away from it. Everyone knows this right? I guess… but why most people choose to run away from their problems? If it’s for the sake of preparing oneself to be more, say, prepared for the problem, then it’s okay…

After more than 2 months of avoiding my friends and families, I decided that in order to pursue a better life, I have to be stronger. This is the opportunity to make your adversities into fuel, and burn it into advantages.

I’m leaving my medical doctor, to be what I really want to be, a linguistics expert, and learn many languages. At least I know that I’m better in Language instead of medicine. And right now, I’m in the process of being an English teacher, studying other foreign languages from various materials, and learning linguistics from books.

I know now what my passions are… and I know that I just need to make more effort to pursue my passions. What about you?