My Teaching Journal #1
Children are an unbelievable creature of God. I never thought I am going to love children this much. It is always exciting when you have children as your students. Today I will share my first day of teaching in elementary school for about 4 months as a student-teacher.
My sister once asked me, “Why do you choose to teach children? Children are very active and talk too much, how can you survive to stay sane teaching them?”
That question is answered in my teaching journal. The best part of teaching is to write a daily journal right after my teaching. Journal helps me record my wrong move, instruction, and way to teach. So, I will never do the same fault when I teach. I read my teaching journal from my first day of teaching.
Suddenly, I remember the feeling of “I don’t want to teach in this class. I’d be eaten and swallowed like a jelly.” That was the first point of view about teaching children in my mind.
I taught English almost in all grade but mostly I handled first graders. Can you imagine? FIRST GRADERS.
The hardest class to handle is first graders because they are still adapting from playing mode to learning mode. For them, learning is still part of playing. They like to move around, asking unexpected things and most of all still have problems with independence.
You should meet Lois and Vivi, first graders, these girls have a similar habit to always cry on Monday morning. Making the teacher confuse why they cry.
“Vivi, why are you crying?”
“I have Bahasa Jawa test today Miss and I am afraid I cannot do it. *Cry harder*”
U N B E L I E V A B L E.
“What’s wrong Lois?”
“I don’t want to go to school, this is Monday Miss.”
Or the special boy Landung. Landung is a half special needs boy who survives to learn together with normal friends. He is amazingly special in my eyes. And he holds the greatest part of my memory on my first day of teaching. Landung that special boy.
I remember when I entered the first-grader class for the first time.
Oh… my… God…
Well, actually I was preparing a lot, especially preparing my mental to teach these very active funny little creatures. So, one week before I teach them, I observed each classroom. I learned which student was the troublemaker, what kind of activity they like. I also noticed that each class has a different characteristic. 1A is very neat, the students in 1A like creativity and very calm, but they are very slow learners. Meanwhile, 1B is very talkative, but they are discipline and quick response. Then I went to the last class in first graders, 1c.
Guess what?? EVERYONE IS TROUBLEMAKER.
I was very nervous, my hands were cold, at that time my only hope was, “Please, I hope I will handle 1A because they are very sweet.”
Then, the schedule came. The first class I was going to teach was….
I realized that somehow 1c is actually full of talented students wrapped in their active action in the classroom. That was why it was very chaotic.
The teaching day came and I was very nervous, I was trembling and I was praying to God that I really need to survive.
When I entered the class and greet them, the situation was very chaotic. The chairs were empty and they were running around at the back of the classroom. The boys were yelling, they did not listen to what I was saying. The worst part was I thought they did not even realize that I was there already.
I was confused, what should I do? Yo, I cannot just yell back at them and ask them to be quiet right? That is insane.
Meanwhile, my mentor teacher just smiling at the back of the class giving me that so-what-will-you-do-Miss-look.
Oh… Dear… Lord… Help… Me…
Suddenly one girl saw me, ran and hugged me.
“Miss!!! My name is Leona!”
After Leona hugged me, her other friends were jealous and started to gather around me asking for a hug too. It was the most memorable moment when I taught the first grader for the first time.
I can’t believe it; I was going to cry. I really did not know what to do. Then suddenly they just came in and hugged me like a koala hugs tree.
After that moment, I asked them to sit back to their chair. Then, the class started to calm down and in control, we continued the learning. At the first activity, I realized one student was missing, it was Landung. I looked everywhere and I thought maybe he went out of the classroom and going somewhere.
So, I asked my friend to help me find him. I sat back on my teacher chair and I felt something on my feet. When I looked down, I was startled by Landung face smiling at me.
“Hi Miss, I am cutting my paper here.”
It was very funny yet I need to convinced him to get back to his chair and do the activity. Landung is a half special needs student. He is very unique, he seems to like having his own world.
Another funny story from Landung was when he came back to my class after the free period. Landung was very sad that he did not want to do anything in the classroom.
I thought, “Maybe he is sick?”
So, I asked him what happened and another unexpected answer occurred.
“Miss, I lost something.”
“What is it? I will help you to find it.”
Suddenly, he pulled my hand and dragged me to the closest sewer to our class. He pointed on the Rp 2000 money inside that sewer. Wet.
Oh, poor Landung. Now, I understand why he was sad.
So, I asked him to get back to the class and promise him to take the money for him. He was happy and got back to the class.
After the class ended, I took my money and gave him Rp 5000. He was very happy and soon when he had the second free period, unexpectedly, Landung came to my office he bought 5 donuts. He gave me 1 donut and said thank you.
It was a pity to forget such a precious and valuable memory of my students. Landung was the first child that teach me sincerity as a teacher. At that time, I thought my first teaching was failed. I could not handle the class well. After I wrote my journal, I called my sister and I almost cry to tell the whole story.
After 2 times of teaching, I finally get the points. Teaching children is not about making them sit down and listen to you. It is not about changing the atmosphere from a chaotic class into a silent class. It is not about “I talk-you listen” and “you talk-I listen”.
Teaching children is about being with them and learning with them. Play inside of their circle and understand their world. The answer to surviving and still sane when you teach children is to feel peace at the most chaotic situation in the classroom. If your class is very loud that means your children are active and they are actually engaged in your lesson. Only by then, you can finally enjoy your teaching.
Since then I can see the different sides of children. This is my first teaching journal. The journal reminds me of how I finally get to know more deeply about children. Their characteristic, the way they learn, the way we engage them to learn. Every kid is special and indeed they deserve to have proper education anywhere.
My heart goes to all the teachers in Indonesia. Today I would like to give my greatest appreciation for all of you! Thank you for deciding to be a teacher. See you on my second teaching journal!