A learning experience with teenagers in Baling Karang village

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Ever since the old days, the teacher has been deemed as a noble profession. It is especially because of the role that the teacher performs. A teacher is influential in shaping the characteristics of each of the individuals who will make a change in the future. Take a glance at the aspirations the elementary children have. The change of era is indeed shifting the children’s view on aspirations. It is a more varied aspiration now than ever, yet the motivation to become a teacher will never succumb. There have always been the noble hopes lighted within the children to devout themselves for the role and to benefit their community as well as their surroundings.

For some people, the decision to become a teacher is not an easy task. For other people, it might also seem like a careless decision. Some people might pursue a career as a teacher because some of them were carried away by the situation or it might also because they really get a calling to pursue the field. Other than that, it is because they prefer to walk the same path as the other family members. Therefore, not everyone is the right fit for the role of a teacher or an educator. And not everyone would take a liking of the process of educating other people.

It is similar to my case. Two months have passed since I first introduced myself as an inspirational teacher for a voluntary program. Having to bear responsibility as a teacher had several of my old friends questioned me. Sometimes, I also face difficulty in explaining the profession in a simple term. It is meant to evade follow-up questions. And I honestly prefer to let them become uncertain of what I am doing.

Teacher in Longman Digital Dictionary sixth edition is defined as “Someone whose job is to teach, especially in a school”. And as for the dream, it is described as “A wish to do, to think about something that you would like to happen or have”. An inspirational teacher might also be defined as an educator that is well-equipped to share and engage the students, prepare the students in their process to achieve their dream. I hope that the above-mentioned explanation could clear off the uncertainty of the meaning behind the inspirational teachers.

I was first stationed in the Village of Lapeng in Pulau Aceh, Aceh Besar. The placement somewhat prompted me to learn a lot of things as what I was doing there was a completely different thing from my daily life. In short, I have to ensure that everything should run smoothly. My second journey has become something I await.


The second placement is in the Village of Baling Karang, Aceh Tamiang. After two months of the placement, the voluntary program there was soon to meet an end. Even though the village is situated in the same county as my hometown, this was in actuality my first time hearing the existence of Baling Karang. The shore and fog that surrounds this village is still a mystery to me. It is a fascination that will never cease to amaze us.

In the same opportunity, I was assigned to teach the children that have been divided into a study group. This group was also known for accommodating young adolescents as it later named a class for adolescents. The students are ranging from children between the age of 11 until 16 years old. If the children to be separated by grade, they are from the fifth graders to the ninth graders. And sometimes, the high schoolers would also join the class.


The children aged under the young adolescents’ group are put into the basic reading class. The class focuses on the introduction of the alphabets. And there is also the advanced reading class that focuses on refining their writing skills. The process of teaching the class was certainly full of challenges as it tested our patience. It is also similar to the class of young adolescents that required me and Uma – my colleague, that was in charge of the same class in Baling Karang – to try the more varied approaches. Even though, they are not the type of children that need shouting so that they could understand and obey. But, it is still overwhelmed us to take care of them as they are in the transitional age.

The young adolescents’ class in the first village I went to was different from the class in the village of Baling Karang as the previous class consisted of fifth and sixth graders. I and Uma was responsible to teach the class of young people that is in their transitional age before becoming an adult. I was also in that age, but I wonder why the children is more shy here. They are not the plant mimosa and they even fully-dressed. Our class consisted mainly of girls especially after the addition of me and Uma. It has become the challenge for us when the students reached their saturation point or have to do their housework. Because, if they were in this situation, they tend to take absent from our class. It is a difficult thing for an adult to understand children as stated by Antonie de Euxpery in his book called “The Little Prince”. But, to understand the young adolescent pose to be more difficult. 

The second time I was assigned to the young adolescents’ class prompted me to learn to approach them on a personal level. It is more of an in-depth and direct approach. I tried to be delicate and gave them the closest example when explaining things. One of the children that caught my attention is Muhammad Ariga. He joined the class midway and he started to introduce himself there. We, the participants of the voluntary program, nicknamed him “arigatou gozaimasu”. It means thank you in Japanese. The short conversation that night led him to be acquainted with the new guru impian to be posted that year. Once in awhile, he tried to ask his peers, took them to sit on the same table as us and did a sharing session – we learned in the open space, in nature, thus there is no table used during the study.

He brought us the news recently that many of the children his age were willing to join the class, but they are timid and it has become a restraint for them to attend the class. “I wonder what they are shy about, and if they were shy, how they can learn things then?”, Ariga stated as he was irritated by the fact that his friends were reluctant to come. He already forgot, that he is one of the children that was lectured by Bu Datok – it is the title given to the head of the village’s wife in Baling Karang – because he was also reluctant to join the class back then. But his motivation should be applauded. I and Uma were grateful upon the fact. The case, in general, is pretty normal as the children would require time to be acquainted and be familiar with us. They would also in need of space that is comfortable for them to get closer to us. And at the end of the process, we would become the person that they have their trusts upon.

Their favorite class is photography. It is a class that brought them closer to become a photographer. We provided them with the understanding that a photograph could tell stories, even more than the story that I write for this essay. And it is even deep than the expressions being displayed privately. The stories about a picture could save many people or even hurt others. It is dependent on how we spot the right angle. When they asked of the criterias of a good picture, I simply stated that “The good picture is something that is easy on the eyes, which also means something that we are fond of”.


It has become easier in the second placement as the colleagues and Ibu Datok were really supportive, then the children were always enthusiasts during the study session as it was displayed in the questions they threw to us, teacher. Despite their limitations in studying, we, the inspirational teacher will always give our best and be dedicated to teaching. I am grateful because this experience has led me to learn new things outside my study.



Written by Dinda Triani

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