As of today, I am officially done as a student teacher. Wow. I guess that means I can in fact call myself an actual teacher now? Wow. I’ve had a heck of a week, and leaving is bittersweet. I’m so excited to be home, but I’m going to miss everyone here so much!!
This week was interesting because my cooperating teacher was gone. I was the sole math teacher for grade 11 all week. On Monday, a couple students came into our office bearing gifts from their homes. The parents of one these students gave us traditional “clothing” from Papua, their homeland. The “clothing” is called a koteka. Google it. I am honored to have such a traditional, Indonesian souvenir that is extremely important in the field of anthropology to take home. Tuesday, I was happily surprised at the end of class. The whole class, on some sort of cue that I did not notice, just started singing! They were singing their “happy birthday” song to me. I was thoroughly confused because my birthday is in December, and the students know that because they’ve asked me. When the song was over, they told that they know it’s not my birthday, but they wanted to give me a present. Then, I was presented with a smallish box and a handwritten note that they had all signed. I opened the gift to see a Barbie doll. Again I was confused, why did they want to give me a doll? After further inspection, I realized that it wasn’t a normal American Barbie, it was an Indonesian Barbie dressed in traditional Indonesian clothing. How cool is that?! They wanted to give me something that would help me remember them and Indonesia, and they couldn’t have picked something better. I had to hold back tears as I read the note and said goodbye. Saying goodbye to students that I’ve grown to love is something I know I will never get used to as a teacher. The students here have captured my heart, much the same as my 7th and 8th graders did in my first placement at Colo-NESCO. Here is what the note said. Please bear in mind that these students are still learning English, so it’s not perfect. It is, however, one of the most wonderful gifts that I’ve ever received.
The essence of maths is not to make simple things complicated, but to make it become simple.
It was lovely to have you as our teacher. Well, maths turn into a very exciting lesson and easy to be understood.
Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than ones with all the facts.
We believe that you’ll become a great teacher in the future We love you so much <3
We’ll miss you.
Since today was our last day, the principal brought everyone into the hall and presented each of us with a signed photo of all the teachers (they had written nice notes on the back) and then we were asked to share some words with the students. I was pretty emotional (big surprise) and had to hold back tears as I thanked everyone for a truly amazing experience. As I was called to the stage, I had one of those Sally Field moments (they like me they really like me!) because the students of grade 11 started cheering and shouting BE-CCA! BE-CCA!! I am going to miss these students so much! After the assembly, one of the sections of grade 10 wanted to throw us a going away party. They presented us with gifts and sang to us. Once again, it was hard for me to keep from crying. Have I said how much I’m going to miss the students? I’m going to miss the students so much!!!!
Tomorrow morning (Friday), we board a plane bright and early to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). In Jakarta, we will attend the Emerging Leaders Conference where we will speak about educational issues and American strategies to rooms full of international educators. After the conference, we head straight to the beautiful island of Lombok for our last hurrah. Lombok is situated right next to Bali, and is supposedly even more beautiful than the famous tourist destination. We’ll spend a full day there on the beach swimming, snorkeling and relaxing. Then we’ll head to Bali. In Bali we plan on seeing some of the cultural things (traditional dances, temples, etc.) and just enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Tuesday night, we’re back in Palembang. On Wednesday, we have one last day to pack our things, say goodbye, do any last minute things we couldn’t finish before, and then we’re off! At 6:15pm we board a plane to Singapore and our long journey home begins. Thankfully, the flights back home are slightly shorter than the flights here. Coming here took about 40 hours, and going home will take about 34 hours. Our flight is scheduled to touch down in Des Moines around 4pm on Thursday, May 5th. I have graduation ceremonies on Friday and Saturday, and then it’s over. After that, I am officially no longer a student of Iowa State University. In a little over a week, I go from ISU student to ISU alum. Wow.