Student Intan Meutia: Willingness to Change

Intan MeutiaCut Intan Meutia taught beginning students of English in Rhode Island for her internship. Here she reflects on an important teaching attitude, willingness to change. Selected by the Ford Foundation as a promising leader of exceptional merit, she will shortly return home and begin furthering greater economic and social justice in Indonesia. By teaching English among communities that lack systemic access to higher education, she hopes to change her students’ visibility in the world as well as their own worldviews.

I believe that teaching means empowering students. Before coming to the United States of America, I had traveled to areas that were devastated by the 2004 tsunami. Most of the schools I visited had been severely affected by both the earthquake and the tsunami. I saw a lot of children learning under tents, even sometimes without tents. They still studied. I became committed to them. I would come back to help children, to save their future through education. I had to contribute to this optimistic and long view of the future. Children had lost their families. I would not let children lose their hope to learn even though they had limited resources.

By coming to SIT to study teaching, I would be able to do put my commitment to Indonesian children to work. I selected Rhode Island for my internship and arrived the first day to teach immigrants.

“Are you a teacher for this class?” one of the students in my class asked me. It was the first day of my internship. The question depressed me. Would I be able to cope with the problem of my own skills teaching a high beginning class because I was not a native speaker of English? Worse, my student expected an American teacher. I lost energy to share my knowledge that day because of how that silly question affected me. I was deeply stressed out. However, my heart talked to me, prompting me to be tough and to open my mind to what happened during that moment.

I was so confident to teach. It didn’t work. My internship supervisor asked me questions. “What did work for you? Why? What did not work for you? Why not?” By asking questions of myself and taking subsequent action, I could change my teaching.

I learned a lesson that day. Not all beginning level students have similar proficiency even though they are set up in the same class. They are totally different from each other.

These days, I feel that teaching is my life and I wish I could spend the days that God gives to me teaching. I found one of the keys to teaching successfully is to love teaching. Love teaching as you love your life. My mind has been changed. I have taught myself that teaching is not futile. This will impact my teaching journey.


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