The beginning of the third year.

Third year. Third grade. It’s me and my 37 kids. *cheers!*

KELAS3It’s gonna be a whole new experience.

There are gonna be lots of fun and challenges as well.

One thing for sure, we’re gonna learn together this year…

and God’s gonna be with us along the way.

So, bring it on!

We’re ready for the adventure! 🙂

Lots of love from us!

*Ibu Riska and 3rd graders Sekolah Lentera Harapan Palopo*

I choose peace.

The end of the second year is actually approaching. Bitter sweet. Ups and downs. Joy and sorrow. Can’t believe time flies that fast.

*sigh*

Summing everything up, being a teacher means joyfully sharing life with the students (even when you don’t feel like to), patiently teaching them the Word of God (even when you think your students don’t even seem to listen), helping them to love learning (even when they are giving you hard times and stretching your patience to the farthest limit) and love God as the first and foremost (even when they don’t even seem to understand what that means). I actually learned this one thing: being a teacher also means having peace that maybe we won’t see the fruits of our hard work right now, or maybe we will never see them at all. We all plant the seeds and water them, but it’s God who gives them the growth. We are not the way, we are only preparing the way. Jesus is the way, Jesus is the truth, Jesus is the life. He is our ultimate role model. We all fall short, but Jesus is perfect. The students are not gonna change unless God wills them to change.

So, I choose to have that peace. I’m gonna do my part and I’m letting God take his.

planting seeds!

Another day, another lesson learned. #4

This reflection is inspired by Lecrae’s quote.

“Believe the best about people. Pray for their shortcomings. You ARE NOT the standard. We all need grace.”

This is what I have come to know as a teacher: I have to believe in the best about my students. No bargaining. It’s a must.

It reminds me about an event one month ago, October 18, 2013. The first Parents-Teachers Conference in my life as a real teacher. Well, even though I was not directly involved as in writing the narrative report or meeting the parents to present the report, I learned something from what I saw.

A narrative report is a report written by a homeroom teacher which contains information of the student’s learning and behavior progress as well as his/her strengths and weaknesses during some period of time. A narrative report also includes a commitment taken by the parents and students about the improvements they are going to make in the future. A narrative report is usually reported four times in a year, or once in every quarter. The narrative report has to be written in a positive manner that the teachers should find each student’s strengths and weaknesses. According to most of my fellow teachers who are responsible to write narrative reports, it is very easy to write the reports for good, nice, bright students, because it’s obvious that they have strengths in many aspects. But there are also some other students that are very unique, in a way that it is also obvious that they have strengths, but in doing violations, in having very low achievements, or in showing no motivation in class. Remember, a narrative report has to be written in positive language. I learned that most of fellow teachers were having hard times writing some reports for some students. Every teacher had their own students that they struggled writing the report about.

This is what I learned. We, human, have that tendency to be so hard finding other people’s strengths especially if they have been already labeled as “bad” or “difficult” or “troubled”. And shame on me, I have been doing the same thing to my students too. There are times in class when I am about to have tests, I often have that picture in my head of students that I think are not going to make it. There are times that I call on some students’ names for tests, deep in my heart there is a whisper like “Oh, this student again. He is not gonna make it like the other tests he has failed.” And true as I have thought, he failed for the many times as he has been.

Oh. Such a slap in the face.

Instead of believing the best about my students, I put many kinds of labels on them.

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5:46-48

To put those verses in teacher’s version, it will be like this:

If you love only those bright students, what reward is there for that? If you are only kind to only good, easy-to-handle students, how are you different from other teachers out there who don’t know Me? But you are to be perfect, even as your Teacher in heaven is perfect.

Taking a commitment to follow and obey Him is not a once-taken-commitment. We fall short almost every time. Well, I fall short every time. But that commitment is to be taken daily, as we start a new day, we are given a new opportunity to learn more, to be better, to be more like Him. It takes all the courage to admit that we all fall short and we all need grace. It takes all the awareness that we have limitations to surrender fully to His strength.

Another day, another lesson learned.

Hope exists.

building up sometimes means tearing down

and…. starting over is sometimes even better than fixing what has been so wrong for such a long time. There are 27 teachers assigned to go and pioneer a takeover school, formerly known as SD SMP SMA Kristen Palopo, to become Sekolah Lentera Harapan Palopo.

The first and foremost struggle of takeover schools is adjustment. The students have been used to their old system, which it was okay if they did not do the homework, which it didn’t really matter whether they could read or not the teachers will still pass them to the next grade levels, which it didn’t really matter if they did not come to school without any notification for many many times and still not got dropped out from school, which they did not have to worry of repeating class because the teachers were always ready to mark up their scores to just pass them to the next grade levels. and believe me, the list goes on.

Bringing a new system, with the hope of bringing a better one, is no easy task. Dealing with fifth graders that are not able to differentiate the letter b and d is just plain frustrating. Teaching division to fourth graders that are not able to subtract 7 with 1 is simply stretching our patience to its furthest limit.

One thing I learned, challenge is everywhere. No matter where we are, we are faced with challenges every day. Every time. Then we might ask: why bother wearing ourselves out doing such thing? I believe a better world is made by people who are willing to take the risks to do something and make all the difference.

Most of the times, we only see the darkest nights of what we are doing. For sure, if we keep our focus on the obstacles, we will only find discouragement and despair. At times also, as we think that we have done our best, we have put our best effort, but the result may not always aligned with what we had in plan, we become disappointed too. Why there seems no better option?

I got reminded by a friend here, a fellow teacher, we plant and water our students but still, it is God who gives the growth.

This is for all the teachers in the world, we might not see the fruit of what we are doing right now, but please keep in mind and keep believing that what you plant with tears right now, will not be back in vain. Keep doing God’s work! Keep the patience and diligence in serving His people.

Remember that hope exists.

hopefinally, to end this reflection let me recite a prayer from Jenna Miller:

Dear Lord, in my quest for success and accomplishment, help me to remember that to truly be successful, I need to develop the ability to learn from my mistakes, be a servant to others, and put my best efforts into whatever I do.

May this be our prayer too.

Inspired to inspire

I have been so idle since I got home for Christmas last week. I thought, okay this is holiday, let me do whatever I want. I want to wake up as late as possible in the morning. I want to go to sleep as late as I want, I want to just watch some movies in my room without anyone disturbing. But then, I ended up as the most idle and unproductive person in the whole world.

Yesterday, I saw a challenge from Word Press daily post to write a post everyday for a week. And I feel challenged! And that is also why I am writing this post right now, hehehe.

Writing, for me, well, I am not a professional writer or something, I just write because I think that I have a very huge urge to share to people what’s in my mind.

I believe that every single thing, every time, every person that we meet in our lives, have something to tell us. Every day. It seems to me that each of them speaks to me every day, telling me lessons about life. Before having a blog, I learned things then I forgot because I don’t have any journal or record to keep. I told some of my closest people about what I have learnt but yeah, nothing’s better than having written records of them.

I am a storyteller. I like to tell stories to people. Even more, maybe my friends have become so sick of my stories because sometimes I repeat them. Well, not sometimes, but most of  the times, or yeah I think all the time. Hahaha. I am a kind of person that when I found something inspiring, interesting, or even hilarious, I can’t help myself to not sharing that to others. Maybe that’s why I want to be a teacher. a biology teacher to be specific. This started to grow when I was doing my student-teaching in Sekolah Pelita Harapan International Sentul City Bogor. I met my teacher mentor and she was such an inspiration for me. She does more than teaching to her students, she inspires her students. She can bring her students to even find God, through Biology, without even reciting a verse from the Bible. She helped me a lot to really understand what it means to inspire my students, and she told me that

“We can never inspire our students without firstly being inspired”

Later I will share more about the Biology wonder to all of you! 😀

And then yeah, I started out my blog back then in August 2012. I might not be able to speak directly to the world about what I think, what I have in mind, or what I have learnt from things that I see every day. But I surely can write and share it to the people.. With only one hope in my mind, that more people can be inspired and even blessed by what I write. Thanks to God, who has allowed me to learn from many things I see, even from little things like bubbles until the precious people around me.

 inspiration

I believe that everything we see daily, every person we meet day to day, can be our sources of inspiration. All we need to do is look closer… once we’re inspired, that fire in our heart can never be put down to start inspiring others too 🙂

Be blessed people! Have a very merry Christmas (again) 🙂