By Stephanie, Volunteer, IHF Jakarta
Education is vital
Regardless of your background and level of income; Education is important. Families that understand this have their children attend IHF classes no matter what, come rain or shine. These are the students who listen, get involved and develop. Their dedication and perseverance has taught me to be grateful for my education and not take it for granted. One student who sticks out in my mind is a little girl who first attended class with very little understanding of English and ability to follow class, which all resulted in lack of confidence and an air of selective muteness. Through regular attendance to class and being taught by a range of volunteers over the last 3 months she is now able to complete work at the same speed as others, answer questions when asked and even have the confidence to ask for help. As she goes from strength to strength she reminds me how vital education is and how she will be more able to contribute to her family and country as a result of all the education she receives.
I used to teach high school in inner city London schools where the students are unforgiving, rude and out of control at times. I remember one summer we had a heat wave which resulted in students attending school in ‘alternative’ but cooler versions of their school uniform. All of which was unacceptable and yet allowed given the extreme heat. If the teacher was seen to sweat, then this was a sign of weakness and an opportunity to ridicule. On my way to IHF I see children smartly dressed from head to toe making their way home in 30+ degrees. As I teach at IHF I sweat, as do the students in the poorly aired upstairs classroom. But there is no ridiculing or even acknowledgment of our profuse sweating, this is simply a fact of life and does not distract from the lesson. I feel as though my sweating shows I am working hard, and perhaps whilst I am not native to the Indonesian climate, somehow the students respect my efforts of working in the heat. Or at least I hope this is the case!
I first starting teaching at IHF with a teaching background in high school business studies. I therefore attempted to teach English in the same way. However, to teach a language to a room of students who you are unable to communicate with is a completely different challenge. Through support from the director/co-director and online resources I soon started to learn and alter my teaching practice. After taking time out to complete the CELTA course I soon saw the differences in teaching a language versus a subject. I was able to plan the lesson in a more methodical and practical way and the impact on the students was great. I wished I could erase all the previous English teaching, but the truth is, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’ The students taught me this, they never judged me after a bad lesson even when I tried to teach them something just too difficult. All my teaching experiences help me to be a better teacher, every day I continue to learn.