The Story of Hendrik Taedeni, SFH Teacher for Special Needs Students

How do we implement learning from home for students with disabilities? Especially if they live in remote areas without sufficient supporting facilities.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and difficult condition for everyone, this has become a challenge for me to do my best in assisting my students to learn. My name is Hendrik Taedeni, I teach at SLB (School for Special Needs Students) Kota Raja, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara. I have served at this school for 16 years. I have students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, blind, intellectually challenged, physically challenged, and autistic. I apply different approaches to every special needs category.

Ever since the School from Home (SFH) program was implemented, the Principal of SLB Kota Raja has tasked teachers to regularly visit the homes of students because long-distance schooling via the internet is not feasible.

I am specifically tasked with assisting two blind students. On every visit, I will give them assignments, which I will collect on my next visit. While I am at their houses, I explain various learning materials for one hour. I bring various learning media because my students need assistive equipment. For the subject of Geography, for example, I bring a map with braille characters on it.

The interesting part is, to reach the home of one of my students I have to travel to the south of Kupang City for 45 minutes. Whereas to reach the home of the other student I have to return to Kupang City and then continue east for another hour.

But the weariness I feel is nothing compared to their smiles every time I come to see them. Also, a deaf alumnus of our school was recently hired as a contract teaching assistant at SLB Kota Raja. I am so proud of them. I hope all the efforts I have put in, along with the school, to continue providing the best education will produce independent youths with disabilities.

Written by: Agus Haru/ Ciptanti Putri | Illustrator: Aida Rahma | Translator: Siti Fatimah Ayuningdyah