Was WOW-ed and (greatly) Inspired by #RSCON4

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2013 Reform Symposium E-Conference (RSCON)

Friday, October 11 2013 – Monday October 14 2013. The best weekend ever!!

That was the time when I joined 2013 Reform Symposium E-Conference (RSCON 4). In just 3 days, I met, connected, and shared knowledge with great educators all over the world. The world seemed to shrink and I could get in touch with friends in Brazil, Japan, Korea, France, Nepal and more. Most of all, just like its slogan “Are You Ready to be Inspired?”, this conference really DID inspired me! I was inspired and WOW-ed by those awesome presentations, keynotes, and performances. From Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto’s keynote about The Iceberg and The Whale: WOW Moments in Teacher Growth, Chuck Sandy’s keynote about Working Miracles, the 13 years old Mallory Fundora’s Project Yesu, Salome Thomas-EL (Principal EL)’s keynote about The Immortality of Influence: Believing Every Child Can Achieve Their Dreams, Vicky Loras who won the EduInspire Award, all presenters sessions that I cannot mention one by one and oh! Jason R. Levine the FluencyMC’s fantastic rap performance which stunned me.

How do I know RSCON? Well, actually I was there to replace Yitzha Sheilla Sarwono, my fellow iTDi associate who couldn’t make it to RSCON, she offered me if I want to join and present there, and I said, “Yes, I want to try!” that was before I know how great and different RSCON is, different than another workshop I attended before. Then I got the invitation from Chiew Pang and confirmed that I want to try joining. But then I got confuse as I checked the Future of Education website and found out that most presenters submitted topics related to technology in education, meanwhile I am totally still “green” in this area. I have just started my PLN and network, I am still in the beginning of learning all these things. However, I didn’t give up, my friends in iTDi supported me to move on.

Until a week before the D-Day, doubts, stage fever, fright surrounded me. But as the conference started, I got addicted and enjoyed it a lot. Although my presentation was messed up due to the sound problem, but I feel relieved, proud and grateful as I got so many people on my back: Chuck Sandy, Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, Ika Chieka Wibowo, Trika Simanjuntak, Malu Sciamarelli, Chiew Pang, Lisa Durff and more. I even became curious and joined more sessions than I planned before.  In addition that I met lots of new friends, got more connections and amazingly, we became closer one another. It felt like I was really there meeting this people for real, while the fact was that we were just sitting in front of our computer in different countries with different timezones.

This event really gave a tremendous contribution in my personal development. Lots of inspirations, life-lessons, practical-lessons and impressions I got from this event. As Rose Bard shared a motivational word to me this morning, “Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.” And yes, I truly and 100 % agree with this. I tried and I accomplished it!

Anyway, should you (still) unable to listen to my recording, you can still find my presentation slides on SlideShare : http://www.slideshare.net/pravitaindriati/developing-creative-thinking-in-eyl?fb_action_ids=10201783032438157&fb_action_types=slideshare%3Aupload&fb_source=og_snowlift_photo_robotext

So, see you on next year’s #RSCON, everyone!

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My Journey As a Teacher: Part 2

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As I wrote in my previous post, I love learning and seeking for more knowledge. I attended many seminars and workshops. I did them in order to satisfy my thirst in knowledge. One day, back in February 4 2013, I attended one iTDi Workshop in UHAMKA, Jakarta. I actually have known iTDi since 2009, when I read Chuck Sandy and Curtis Kelly’s page in facebook. How surprised I was after I “liked” the page, Chuck Sandy sent me a message. Chuck kept inviting me to the events and communities he created but at that time, I was still shy to join and be active. I thought, I am just a preschool teacher, I could never be compared with clever people like them (no offense, that was what I thought :-D)

Back to February, when I got the invitation to iTDi workshop from Chuck, I finally thought, “This is it. This is the time. Find more friends, do networking and learn more.” And so I decided to join the workshop, that’s when I met Yitzha Sheilla Sarwono who gave such an inspiring presentation, as she is actually a kindergarten teacher, like me and of course, I met Chuck Sandy, Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, and Eric Kane. When the workshop finished, I approached to Icha and Chuck asking whether I can join, involve and contribute in the community. After that, I felt like, wow I had such a gut approaching these great people asking for that.

Since then, my life has changed. I joined the iTDi and met more inspiring people from different backgrounds. I feel so blessed to be a part of the community. This is what I wrote in my Facebook wall right after I joined the community:

“The act to believe and inspire people don’t come only from your mouth, but you also need to show them, in your action. Thank you for believing me and inspiring me to be a better teacher and a better person. Your acknowledgement and appreciation mean so much to me. This is the place I have dreamed for so long…”

Yup, these people do inspire me. Thank you, guys!

My Journey As a Teacher: Part 1

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Don’t get surprised, I was graduated from a non-teaching background. Yup, I took Law degree back in the university. Been applying for jobs in law firms, but my heart said it was not for me. So then, I started teaching in one of English Course in Jakarta. That’s when I found my passion in teaching, I love meeting people, I love sharing my knowledge and I love learning while I’m teaching. I taught all levels of General English program, from kids to adults.

However, something told me that I want to concentrate more to young learners. So I moved and started working in an international preschool. Since then, for more than 5 years I have been dealing in Early Childhood Education. I love teaching children, because I am not only teaching but I can also have fun with them, singing with them, acting silly with them which they like most.

At the first time I taught in a preschool, I remember one of my student’s parents asked me to give reading and writing tutorial to their daughter. I was surprised. I don’t even have any knowledge in teaching reading and writing, I don’t know Phonics… I don’t know how to teach them. In addition, I didn’t get any satisfying answers from my colleagues at that time. But I didn’t stop and turned down the offer. I became independent and found out all by myself. Thanks to Internet technology, I browsed (well this embarrassing to say, but I did) about what phonics is from many different sources. I went to bookstores and spent my money to buy as many book to satisfy my hunger. And since then I started to get in love in teaching resources and children storybooks, I can’t stop myself when I get to bookstores. Then I even made my own teaching aids. All by myself. And I did it! After learning for a few months, the parents satisfied and after their daughter achieved the reading target, they wanted to extend the tutorial. From there I got many offers for tutorials.

This experience inspired me to start my own English Course for Children at home in 2009. I hired an assistant, bought the furnitures and resources, designed the class and developed the curriculum by myself. Wow, how did I get the knowledge of writing the curriculum? Of course from my teaching experience in the English Course, my tutorial, related books I bought, and of course, internet. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, due to the economy problem, I had to close it.

Yup, it was very hard for me. But I didn’t stop, I kept moving. Start from the beginning, applied and worked at schools again.

I love being a preschool teacher, I love teaching children in their golden years. However some people still consider this not as a profession, just an activity to fill the time. Some even think preschool teacher is no different than a babysitter. Working as a preschool teacher is not only taking care children, but we also responsible for their development and academic skill, the skills which babysitters or nannies don’t have. I honestly feel offended with they way people treat preschool teacher as babysitters.

That is why I try to learn a lot, I am trying to develop myself more by attending workshops, searching for scholarship for my Master Degree, joining iTDi (International Teacher Development Institute), networking and learning from other teachers and more things that can make me to be more than a preschool teacher, to be a better teacher.

All these things: these failures, ups and downs have given me lots of experiences and lessons. I am not and never gonna stop, I have to move on and move forward and build more foundations to continue my dream: my own school.