In early March I had the opportunity to work at another English camp, this time in Garut. It was organized by Vivi, a fellow ID10. In many respects it was similar to Lisa’s English camp, but there were also quite a number of differences.
The phrase “typical Tuesday,” as immortalized by Taylor Swift’s hit 2009 song You Belong with Me, is somewhat of a fallacy as no individual day can really be an accurate representation of all like-named days. But in as much as any day can be said to be “typical,” I suppose this Tuesday was as good a use of that word as any other day.
One of the more common projects Peace Corps Indonesia volunteers put together is an English Camp. Camps can differ significantly but they usually last for one or two days and include a series of short, focused English lessons. The weekend of January 21st I helped with an English camp organized by ID9 Lisa in neighboring district Majalengka.
Indonesian schools are very different from schools in America. Adjusting to the Indonesian education system has been, perhaps, my greatest challenge so far. My American expectations of professionalism in schools, how teachers should interact with their students, student conduct, and school administration have not meshed seamlessly with the Indonesian reality.
On the eighth, and end of the seventh, week of pre service training we taught at a middle school for eight days. We returned to the same middle school we taught at for our first week of practicum on Friday May 13th and worked at the school until Saturday May 21st on all days except the 15th. I still taught with my teaching partner from the first week of practicum, Sonam, and we continued working with our counterpart from the first week.
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.