|Ibu Risty is a Dayak who works for the government as an English teacher in a high school in Palangkaraya. Before BCU School opened in July 2005, Utami Geiger approached the education department and asked if one of their teachers could join BCU School and receive training and to experience a way of teaching that was different to the traditional teaching methods. In turn this new methodology could then pass on to colleagues in the government schools. Ibu Risty was recommended by the education department and she continued to work both for BCU and the government school for three years. This is her story.|
|Thinking about the date I started teaching at BCU made my memory flew back to the first time I met Ibu Utami. It was at Diknas Kota Palangka Raya (Education Department) on Jalan Kartini. We had a nice short talk in English but a few months later she told me that it was a kind of interview. Hmmm…… she’s great and nice lady. I miss her so much…Well, I started working as a teacher at BCU on 25 July 2005 and finished on 19 June 2008. I left BCU because the new regulation for government officials issued in January 2008 wanted civil servants including teachers to be available six days a week at their offices/schools. If they break the rule, consequently the salary is reduced. I am a civil servant so I was worried so much on that. In addition, my teaching hours at SMA 1 Palangkaraya was bigger than before so I had to be at the school more than 3 days.
Teaching at BCU was enjoyable and a challenge for me. I said enjoyable because I didn’t “teach” much the students, but involved them in classroom activities such as working in pairs, in group, role play, or games in order that the students understood the lesson. So, the students didn’t realize that they experienced learning itself. This active-learning method needs teacher’s creativity in choosing activities conducted in the classroom. So, this was a challenge for me. I had to read and learn more about the student centred methods. Sometimes I told myself, “Risty, you are here at BCU not as a teacher but a student because every day I learn many things new”. However, teachers at BCU were really helpful. When I found difficulties or confused what activities I should do in my next class, I asked expatriate teachers and they gave me ideas/suggestion or let me come in to observe their class. This was really great experience for me.
Ibu Risty (left) with some of her Students at BCU
|BCU school applies active learning method in which a teacher functions as a facilitator. Students find problem solving themselves with the help of a teacher and they work with each other to finish it.The students never feel hesitant to ask their teacher if they do not understand the lesson or to say their opinion because student-teacher relationship at BCU is like between friends but there is still a border and they still respect the teachers. A teacher is given freedom to conduct their activities in or out of classroom. It is very different from the public schools in Palankaraya. Many teachers still view that the teaching/learning process only happens in a classroom. So, it was an odd for my friends and students even the principal at the public school where I teach when my students dressed in Halloween costumes doing a parade around the school and spoke English on the stage. Furthermore many teachers still use the traditional method of teaching, teachers talk much, even though they have got a multiple intelligences training or an active learning method. This makes the classroom very quiet and learning is boring and stressing for students. I do hope my fellow teachers have the will to change and leave the old paradigm so that learning will be fun and enjoyable for students.In my opinion BCU school is the best school in Central Kalimantan. It gives quality education for its students. Although it is a national plus school, it is also supported with international curriculum and the students also learn local culture and values so they will respect the local people and their culture. I think in the future this school will be an essential asset for Central Kalimantan province because the school produces qualified human resources that are able to speak English fluently. This province will progress rapidly if government institutions and important sectors in this province are led by human resources that I mention above.|
|Ibu Risty with Salamah Dick|
|In August 2009, on the way to visit BCU, I registered at Kalteng Pos Newspaper to join a teaching competition. I was very, very happy to visit BCU again and meet the students and teachers there including Pak Gunarjo and Pak Karim. I told them about the competition and at the time Pak Gunarjo suggested me to apply discovery learning. In the competition I taught English with active learning method/students center and spoke English 100% in the classroom. It was impressing some journalists and the judges as well. For your knowledge, I have been applying the student center method at public school since I knew BCU. I used pictures, real objects and LCD in my teaching and also games.I was very shocked when my name was announced as the first prize winner as the best teacher, because I didn’t expect it. The prize gave me an opportunity to visit Brunei Darussalam and Thailand. The journey to those countries started on 24 September and ended up on 30 October 2009.
Through this writing I would like to say my great thanks to BCU for having painted me a colour that makes me different teacher. Even though I am not teaching at BCU anymore, I still feel as a part of the School.
I love BCU so much.