I studied mechanical engineering at the Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia, before coming to the Graduate School of Education at Bristol. While I was studying mechanical engineering, I started teaching Physics part-time at a secondary school in Bandung. I realized that a lot of my students had problems with mathematics, from basic calculations to reading graphs and much more.
So, I decided to study mathematics education. I wanted to learn more about education more generally too – I loved teaching but didn’t have enough theoretical basis in teaching and leaning. I had learned mostly by practice and felt I needed a stronger foundation to become a better teacher.
I knew I wanted to study science or mathematics education specifically. I also wanted to study in the UK, but didn’t know where. I searched on google and found out that the University of Bristol had an outstanding programme for education, so I decided to apply. I really love Bristol – it always reminds me of Bandung. It feels like home. I love the streets, the harbour, the old buildings, the festivals and the people.
Studying at the Graduate School of Education made me reflect a lot on my beliefs about education and teaching. I had the opportunity to do research at schools, have deep conversations with lecturers and think about things I have never thought about before. When I first came to Bristol, I had trouble thinking critically, but my supervisor, Laurinda Brown, guided me through the process of having conversations and asking questions, which made me reflect on my own beliefs about teaching and learning.
While studying at Bristol, I kept in touch with the education community in Indonesia. Through blogging and mailing-lists, I shared my stories of studying and my experiences in Bristol, including the schools I visited and the research I was doing.
The head of Ikatan Guru Indonesia (Idonesia’s Teachers Association and the organization with which I am now working) read my stories and asked me to come back to Indonesia to help build the organization. I am now Programme Director at Ikatan Guru Indonesia in Jakarta, collecting data about teachers’ needs, developing programs for professional developments and collecting best practices from the teachers. Each of these tasks needs creativity, flexibility, research skills, communication skills and critical thinking. Studying at Bristol has helped me to develop these skills.
When I went back to Indonesia I produced some writings, which I presented at a conference. Some were published in the national newspapers and in books. I am proud of this, but seeing my students develop through learning makes me most proud. Some of my students are graduating from University this August, and I am really excited about it. Some are planning to start teaching while creating new educational innitiatives in their area, like opening a small library for the society and creating youth leadership programmes. Seeing their energy really makes me proud and happy.
As well as working for Ikatan Guru Indonesia, I am now also a part-time lecturer at Sampoerna School of Education, where I teach student teachers. With two peers, I am also writing a book about teachers in Indonesia, focusing on their challenges and how professional talk can help overcome those challenges.
I am planning to study again for a PhD about International Comparative Education. Then, I hope I will come back to Indonesia and do research that will help develop the national education system. I also plan to produce more writings about teaching, learning, and education. And most of all, I plan to keep on teaching.
I have many memories of my time at the Graduate School of Education. I remember a session in which the lecturers presented their research in front of the students to show us that there is more than one way to do research. I found that beautiful because it opened my mind to the many ways of understanding things. Studying at the Graduate School of Education gave me time not just to learn the subject I was interested in, but also to reflect on it. The reflection process was the most powerful thing and has made me the person I am today.