Teaching 1st graders is no easy task for a teacher. Students who, in terms of age, still fall under the preschooler category require extra assistance and continuous stimulation with various approaches to ensure that their motivation to learn is sustained.
My name is Munkarramah. I am a contract teacher at SDN 1 Lembahsari, Batu Layar, West Lombok District, West Nusa Tenggara. I currently teach 19 1st grade students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers implement offline learning by visiting students’ homes because many of the parents still do not have internet access, savviness in using Android based applications, or even smartphones. In addition, they are not able to assist their children during lessons as they have to work in the field.
The classes are conducted from Monday to Saturday. In a day, I teach in several learning locations to groups consisting of 4-5 students, lasting 2-3 hours per session. The grouping is based on their residential locations.
I have prepared the complete learning equipment from home, including a whiteboard. Because my students are so young, I pick them up one by one and together we head to the agreed learning location.
Even though we do not currently learn at school, students still wear their uniforms. Not forgetting their masks and following the required health protocols. This is done to ensure that they are used to the formal education custom as well as implementing discipline.
The challenges I face while teaching mostly have to do with the supporting facilities, or lack thereof. Sometimes there are no chairs or tables, so students get tired easily because they have been sitting on the floor. Also, some locations are far and hard to reach by motorcycle.
However, I am grateful that my students seem enthusiastic to learn. The tasks I have given them are always completed properly. I am also thankful for their parents who have supported the learning process in the best ways they can. For me, children have to continue learning. No matter the condition, they have to grow up to become a smart young generation of Indonesia.
Written by: Marga Aditama/ Ciptanti Putri | Illustration: Aida Rahma | Translator: Siti Fatimah Ayuningdyah