Saturday morning. The students still have school, sheesh they work hard. Saturdays are pramuka day or scout day. They do their chanting in their boy and girl scout uniforms and two young 10th grade students shyly break rank from the military exercise and ask if I want to come to breakfast with them. Of course I do!
Breakfast is an adorable affair. This is my first time eating with the 10th graders and they are so shy. But adorable and ask me a few questions. They seem mesmerized by the fact that I chose to sit and eat with them today 😀
I know Ibu Tisia teaches at 10 but I figure I’m bored, so I may as well walk over to the school and see if any one is around. There are a few teachers in the teachers lounge and they look surprised to see me but I figure, what the heck. I’m bored so I’m going to sit here too! They introduce me to the headmaster, who for whatever reason hasn’t been around all week. Then I realize I should really give him Oleh Oleh to win him over but I forgot it at home. I slip out of the teachers lounge, run home (5 minute walk), and come back, my bag bursting with candy, keychains, bubbles, and pennies.
I give the headmaster his Oleh Oleh and then pass out more candy to the rest of the teachers. That seems to have done the trick. They were super friendly with me before but now… we’re tight. One of them comes over and says, “do you want the wifi password?” (I have my computer out). Um YES. He types it in and I’m quite pleased with the outcome of my accidental bribe.
Ibu Tisia comes a little bit later and at 10 – she says, “Mac. I’m double booked! The headmaster gave me the 11th and 12th grade to teach at 10am. I can’t be in two places at once!”
Knowing where this is going, I smile and say, “okay… I could…”
“Could you teach???!!!!!”
She walks me to the room and tells the twenty 12th grade students that I’m going to be their teacher today. They are thrilled and I’m stoked to get a chance to finally teach and hang out with the kids. The downside is that I’ve only known I was doing this for about thirty seconds so I have absolutely no idea how I am going to fill a 90 minute class session.
Ibu Tisia leaves and the kids look at me expectantly. I have a hundred ideas racing through my head but most require some of the games/teaching supplies/mac adapter for my laptop that I have at home… So… I improvise! I grab the white board eraser and tell everyone to stand up and get in a circle. From what I can tell, they don’t do many activities in class so they are super excited when I get them up from their desks. They shove desks out of the way making a ruckus and I was certain someone in the room next door was going to come in and yell at me for making so much noise. But I get them in a circle and explain that they are going to toss the eraser across the circle and the person who catches it has to introduce themselves to the class. They love it and I get to learn a little bit more about them, and they are practicing their speaking skills!
Then, I ask them to get out a piece of paper and ask them to write answers to 1) Why do you want to learn English? 2) What is your dream job? 3) What is the hardest part about English for you?
Obviously, those were well-pointed questions to help me get to know my students’ abilities and goals – a couple of them asked to share their answers in front of the class and I was so proud of their initiative! Most of these students want to go into the military or police force (hence the fact that it’s a semi-military school) but it was good for me to hear their goals from them.
After that, I let them ask me questions! They had a million things they wanted to ask, ranging from everything like “where are you from?” (drew a pretty terrible map on the board and pointed out Seattle and St. Louis) and “why did you go to school so far away from your family?” to “do you have instagram? And can I follow you?” Ha! They all pulled out their phones and followed me, and clearly shared my profile with all of their classmates because I now have 200 new followers 🙂
Finally, I told them we were going to do a role play. I asked them to write a dialogue between a student from Palangkaraya and a bule (white person) who is visiting. After they wrote the scripts, I asked them to do it in front of the class. They were hesitant at first but then I said I had American candy in my bag for the first group to volunteer to go… and all of the sudden everyone was jumping out of their seats 😀 One by one they went, and in the end, everyone got a tootsie roll 🙂
These students absolutely made my day and I was honored to be able to teach them. I cannot wait to get in to the classroom for real!