When I decided to be a teacher, I realized that I will never stop learning, collaborating, and sharing. Being teacher is very dynamic job that challenge you to open your mind and see from different perspectives. That’s why, teachers will learn the most when they have partners, collaborators, and supporters who can inspire and empower them. I have met many amazing teachers in Indonesia who have set amazing examples of being passionate teachers. I also observed many international educators from around the world by building professional learning network via social media. But, this time, I have never imagined I would spend my Saturday with passionate, humble, and enthusiastic educators from New Zealand.
It’s all began with Google+ connection. I have never realized this world is too small for passionate educators like Simon Ashby and me. Simon is Google Certified teacher and also primary teacher at Hampden Street School, New Zealand. As fellow GCT, I could feel the chemistry and geeky spirit that make us trust each other when he mentioned me at G+ and emailed me about his plan to bring New Zealand teachers to visit Indonesia on April. He introduced me to Jeff Johnstone , a humble Education Director from Asia New Zealand. After several email, we plan a collaborative event between GEG West Jakarta with Asia New Zealand Foundation to connect Indonesia & NZ Teachers on April 18 at Springfield School.
We first met at Cocktail Party New Zealand Ambassador Residences at Jl.Patimmura 18. First time meeting them, I was impressed New Zealand educator’s curiosity about Indonesia. We engaged in insightful discussion about Indonesia & New Zealand education. From my zero knowledge about New Zealand, I realized how Indonesian educators need to learn a lot from New Zealand education that have less standardized tests, more relevant educational purposes that also utilize technology to empower learning. Also, I believe it’s also important that New Zealanders can have right perspectives about Indonesian teachers. Even though we have very limited facility, slow internet connection, and lots of education problems, we still have wonderful teachers who are hungry for learning relevant professional development that can open new perspectives.
More than 30 teachers from many different schools joined teacher connection workshop at Springfield School on April 30. By grouping Indonesia teachers with New Zealand teachers in different groups, I can feel the strong atmosphere of deep connection among the groups.
The teachers involved unstoppable conversation and they exchanged information about their academic calendar, curriculum, testing, and assessment. After Jeff gave New Zealand 101, I could understand the characteristics of the ‘Kiwis’ and their unique system of education.
Simon inspired us with one of the most amazing tools called PearDeck that can help us doing survey in more meaningful and fun way! Also, he opened our mind about lots of opportunity we can do to empower collaboration with technology.
Then, we continue to discuss practical implementation of collaboration for Indonesia & New Zealand educators in group. Each group of Indonesia & New Zealand teachers exchange their school calendar, school activity, resources, curriculum, and experiences. We learn from each other to connect and collaborate. Some of the teachers are already planning what they can do together using technology. They shared their gmail, calendar, google docs, and all technology stuff that can be used to connect. Using shared docs and sheets, they easily plan for connection.
I am definitely inspired by how thsese teachers think creatively using technology to support each other. I could clearly see how each teacher has serious discussion to stay connected one another. As community, we helped teachers to connect and collaborate with each other.
After that we closed our event with special dinner at TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) Lippo Mall Puri Indah. We have so much fun to talk something that are more relax and fun about our personality at dinner. I myself learn Jeff and several teachers from New Zealand better as a person. The connection get deeper in emotionally and time flies so fast. Sadly, we have to say good bye to NZ Educators as they will continue their trip to Jogjakarta and Bali on Sunday. Thanks to technology, we can still arrange online meetup and chatting via email, hangout, and many technology tools.
Finally, meeting with New Zealand educators is unforgettable experience. They just prove and re-confirmed that teacher is more than just a job, it’s a calling. A calling to be lifelong learner who always hungry for connection and collaboration.