The seventh week of PST ended with trainees from each village putting together an “English Camp” for area children to become exposed to English and foster an interest in the subject. This would be perhaps the most freeform teaching activity we would undertake during training. In order to organize this event we were supposed to perform a needs assessment to determine the age of kids we should focus on, what shape our instruction would take and what time would work for the largest segment of our target audience.
The seventh week of pre service training focused on getting trainees teaching students in a classroom without the counstraints of working in a school or with a counterpart. For four days each trainee worked with another trainee to teach two 90 minute lessons. One lesson for SMP students and one lesson for SMA students. Our partners were the same as practicum teaching, so I worked with Sonam.
The first several days with my homestay family were particularly difficult. I couldn’t understand anything my ibu said and very little of what my bapak said. No one spoke to me in English so I had to rely on only two days of training in bahasa Indonesia. During my first week of PST limited communication with my homestay family was only a small part of the my vast collection of fledgling Peace Corps trainee woes.
As I write this I am sitting on a bus on my way to Bandung to catch a plane that will whisk me and thirty other volunteers back to Surabaya where we will get on yet another bus to take back to Kediri to continue our PST training. Normally Peace Corps doesn’t fly volunteers when traveling at post; but because of our delayed start to PST, and this weekend being a holiday weekend, West Java volunteers will be flown back to East Java.
As I write this it is Saturday just after 11 PM somewhere near the border of East Java and Central Java. I am on a train headed to Bandung, West Java with about twenty other Peace Corps trainees. We landed in Surabaya one month ago and we will be sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers in one month. It is amazing to think how much I have learned this past month and daunting to think of how much more is left to do. PST has been exhausting while simultaneously exhilarating. This past week in particular has been challenging because it was our first week of teaching practicum. I have woken up at 4:30 or earlier each morning this week and often don’t make it to bed until 9:00 in the evening. Despite how grueling this week seemed there was a special motivation to trudge onward. Site announcement and site visit.
The fifth week of PST was centered around attaining experience teaching at an Indonesian school. Each trainee was paired with another trainee to teach in a school around Kediri. Some schools received up to five pairs of trainees. My partner, Sonam, and I were placed at SMP 4 along with Hilary and Abby.