Teacher trained by Tanoto Foundation transforms elementary school in Jambi
Students and parents in the rural area of Tanjung Jabung Barat district in the Jambi province of Indonesia used to view school and education as extremely low on their list of priorities.
If a fellow villager was holding a celebration, it was common practice for children to ditch school in favour of attending the party.
However, with keen enthusiasm and continued perseverance, Elita – who today heads SDN 92/V Gemuruh Elementary School in Tanjung Jabung Barat – has managed to convince them about the real significance of attending school.
“My biggest challenge was how to show parents about the importance of education for their children. I tried various ways in doing so, but it seemed that people were still much more interested in activities with economic value rather than educational value,” said Elita.
Elita faced limitations but she refused to be discouraged. Fortunately, in 2010, Tanoto Foundation stepped in to provide support in the form of various programs to improve teacher quality. During that time, Elita was trained in school-based management which aimed to promote education with the involvement of the community.
Armed with new knowledge following the Tanoto Foundation training, Elita took a different approach with the community. She introduced creative, effective and fun learning methods to the students at the school – methods which were well-received.
She then began to reach out and establish communication with the community in a bid to further improve quality of education at SDN 92/V Gemuruh, to the point where a parents’ group was formed at the school.
With the new harmonious cooperation between the school and the community, things at SDN 92/V Gemuruh began to improve. The school is now more beautiful, shady and green, as a result of running ongoing eco-friendly school programs.
Students have also learnt to carry out clean living habits at the school, which helps maintain the school’s cleanliness.
Meanwhile, teachers’ competencies have also increased as Elita encourages teachers to follow in her footsteps and participate in the various trainings that Tanoto Foundation holds.
In 2015, Elita was honoured with the ‘Favourite Teacher’ award during a well-known competition organized in Jambi. Elita was selected over 1,300 other teachers to win the opportunity to do a comparative teaching study in China.
“There are similarities between the learning process in the schools in China and the schools trained by Tanoto Foundation,” Elita recalled.
“Elementary schools in China are encouraged to be creative and imaginative, largely guided by the teachers. During teaching and learning activities, children do not have to sit individually at their desks. Sometimes it is better when they are standing, sitting in a group or even going around the class,” she noted.
Elita expressed her gratitude to Tanoto Foundation for its support in developing SDN 92 / V Gemuruh.
However, she maintained that complacency at the school should not take place, adding that she and the other teachers will continue to improve their competency and capability in fostering improved education in their village.