Local English teacher Intan Rastini

Intan Rastini is the local English teacher at the Learning Center in Samsaman, Bali. We asked her to write an introduction about herself. Her story about her life and background is very interesting and inspiring and gives a clear view on her work and activities with the children. We thank Intan for all her great work and for sharing her story with us.

My name is Intan Putri Rastini. You may call me Intan. Intan is an Indonesian word which means ‘diamond.’ I am an Indonesian and proudly a Balinese. At Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan I am the only local teacher who teaches English to the children who come to the learning center at Samsaman Village after school.

I believe providing education to others makes one become richer.

I was born in Surabaya, Java, on February 11, 1991. I grew up in Surabaya and my most recent formal education was training for work in the hospitality industry. Then I moved to Tabanan, Bali six years ago when I got married. Surabaya and Tabanan are very different.  Surabaya is a big city, Indonesia’s second biggest city after Jakarta.  Tabanan, in contrast, is a small region, not in geographical size but in development and population.

I work as a homemaker and mother to my two preschool sons, Kalki and Kavin. My husband is a farmer like most of the men in our village. Angkah, where we live, is close to Samsaman, so it only takes me seven minutes to get to the learning center from home by scooter. These villages are linked by hilly roads surrounded by rice fields and farmlands producing coconuts, cacao, cloves and coffee.

I have been teaching English at Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan for one year, since February 15, 2017. At that time I was looking for a job, and coincidentally saw the sign for Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan while out for a motorbike ride with my family. So the next day I decided to go there and apply for a job as an English teacher.

When I visited the learning center for the first time, I met Ibu Ketut Sunarmi, the director, and Oma Trudy van der Maden, the founder. I also had the chance to meet Ibu Ketut’s son, Jon and nephew, Bery. I asked the two women if they needed an English teacher for the learning center. Because they didn’t have one at the time, they hired me to work there starting as soon as I could.

Later I found out that the learning center also gets help from international volunteers.  This means that sometimes I teach English alone, and at other times I teach collaboratively with volunteers from all over the world. My main duty is teaching English, but the volunteers have many other strengths.  Beyond English, volunteers have also taught creativity, sports, computers, photography, health, environmental studies and much more!

Most often I let the volunteers lead the class instruction, and I take on the role of backing them up and helping with translation between English and Indonesian. If there is no volunteer at the learning center, I handle all the children on my own.  We have them arranged into four groups: A, B, C and D. When I teach alone, I can’t split them into smaller groups.  Thus I teach Groups A and B in one classroom every Monday and Wednesday, and Groups C and D together every Tuesday and Thursday. When there are volunteers available, I can more easily teach the groups separately.

Group A is the least skilled group, consisting of new English learners.  The other groups have increasing language skills, with the most advanced students, who have studied English for several years, in Group D. The age range of the children is about 9-11 years old in Group A, 11-13 years old in Group B, 12-15 years old in Group C, and 14-15 years old in Group D. We usually enroll new children at our learning center in July because that is when the new term at Indonesian schools begins.

My responsibilities as the primary teacher at the learning center include checking attendance every class, planning a theme and lesson schedule every month, making a lesson report at the end of the month, and teaching English about one and a half hours four times per week. It is also my task to introduce the children to new volunteers before the volunteers start their program.

For new volunteers, I always explain about our student groups and their schedule. I also provide an overview about what we expect the children to learn, including specific learning goals. Next, we work together to set lesson plans for teaching during their stay.  Sometimes I work with them to choose one group to teach.

It is so interesting and challenging to work with people who are very different from you!

It is so interesting and challenging to work with people who are very different from you! I really enjoy working with international volunteers because they offer me the chance to improve my English by communicating with them. Another advantage is that I make more and more international friends! I maintain contact with some volunteers long after they return to their home countries.

Having contact with people from different countries is a wonderful experience. The children and I have the opportunity to learn the culture, customs, history, and geography of their countries. Also, most of the volunteers don’t want to miss learning Balinese culture! For instance, they want to learn about our traditional ceremonies and arts. Some of them are working to learn Indonesian, our national language, as well as Balinese, our tribal language.

Further, we are not only here to study and learn with the kids, but also to bond with them, building relationships, having fun, and sharing adventures. Sometimes we go to a paddy field with the volunteers on a recreational walk, and we also go to the nearby waterfall to play with students in nature, splashing water and joking around. Our learning center is not a formal school with a highly structured program, so we can learn in various fun ways and focus more on character building with the children.

Beyond teaching English, I also have tried teaching yoga to the children alongside volunteers who love yoga. It is quite relaxing to do yoga and have a short period of meditation afterward.  Alternatively, some children practice Karate after class and I join them at the dojo. At one point we had volunteers from The Netherlands and Germany who also joined Karate practice with the kids at our village dojo.

I love learning language, and my study of English did not stop when I became an English teacher. I keep practicing English, and also trying to learn languages such as French and German from native speakers who come as volunteers. Being a teacher also helps me to learn the art of teaching, and develop my skills in pedagogy. I believe providing education to others makes one become richer. One cannot go broke from sharing one’s knowledge!

One of my favorite quotations is from Ludwig von Wittgenstein, who said “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”  I feel proud to be helping young people expand their worlds!

Intan Rastini.

Author: Intan Rastini
Editor: Daniel Kirkpatrick
Photo’s: Ibrahim Imrak

If you want to know more about Intan you can read her personal blog on intanrastini.wordpress.com
Contact her via e-mail intanrastini@gmail.com