Teaching Bahasa Indonesia to Adult Foreign Learners

Hi Folks,

This post is about the new ‘project’ that I started back in May 2014. It’s been more than a year and I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m still very much into it. The first half of this post is in English and the second half is in Indonesian.

Remember that I mentioned about CELTA and what I want to do after the 1-month solo trip back in 2013? Since 2009, I’ve been looking for another type of extra income gig that I’ll enjoy on top of my full-time job and to also maintain my financial health despite living in the most expensive city in the world (according to 2014 EIU Survey). After dipping my toes into some industries for several years, I finally found that teaching languages is the (current) answer to my restlessness. Beside teaching English to some Primary kids privately, I’ve started teaching Bahasa Indonesia to Adult Learners, both in classroom and 1-to-1 settings. Who would’ve thought that I’d teach my mother-tongue to the locals, Europeans and other nationalities in Singapore? It certainly didn’t cross my mind until early last year.

In January 2014, I chanced upon an opening for both part-time Indonesian and English language teacher at a language school. I immediately applied for both positions, as I was then qualified to teach them. One is my native language, and another one was my strongest 2nd language (not good enough to teach Mandarin yet, maybe one day *wishful thinking*). In the end, because I’m Indonesian and my results for language subjects were good, I joined the school as a part-time Indonesian language teacher. It was tough at first, since I didn’t have any experience in teaching my mother-tongue. After more than 1 year, I can finally write a summary of the challenges I’ve encountered so far. I’ll write this section in Bahasa Indonesia (for the English version, please use Google translate;P)

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Catatan: Saya jarang sekali menulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia, bahkan cenderung tidak pernah. Kalau soal menulis, saya lebih suka mengekspresikan pikiran saya dalam Bahasa Inggris. Tapi mungkin kali ini, saya akan coba menjelaskan dalam Bahasa Indonesia, segala macam tantangan yang saya hadapi selama setahun belakangan ini. Saya periksa pemakaian kata disini –> http://kbbi.web.id/ dan suka membaca penjelasan dari web ini –> http://www.bahasakita.com/

Tantangan yang saya hadapi:

1) Mengajar Bahasa Indonesia formal (baku/resmi) atau informal (bahasa gaul).

Dalam percakapan sehari-hari, orang Indonesia sendiri jarang sekali memakai bahasa formal. Lebih sering memakai bahasa gaul/informal/slang dan kadang-kadang mencampurkan elemen bahasa Inggris ke dalam kalimat. Jadi pada saat saya mengajar, saya selalu kesusahan. Di satu sisi, saya harus mengikuti silabus yang sangat kuno dan penuh dengan bahasa formal yang jarang dipakai sehari-hari. Di sisi lain, saya ingin murid-murid saya latihan bicara Bahasa Indonesia yang sering dipakai. Bahasa sehari-hari akan lebih berguna pada saat mereka berkunjung ke Indonesia untuk bekerja atau liburan. Mereka bisa langsung menerapkan apa yang sudah dipelajari.

Jadi sekarang, saya tetap berusaha memperkenalkan versi formalnya di awal, sebelum kemudian mengajarkan versi sehari-harinya di akhir sesi.

2) Silabus yang perlu diperbaharui. Tapi belum ada waktu untuk merombaknya.

Silabus selalu menjadi bahan diskusi dan pertentangan. Tapi sejauh ini, kami, para guru, hanya bisa mengikuti apa yang sudah tersedia sambil menambahkan sendiri bahan yang sekiranya berguna untuk murid. Kami juga kadang harus mengubah materi menjadi lebih menarik untuk dipelajari dan menyesuaikan materi dengan kebutuhan murid. Baru-baru ini, saya meminta dukungan manajemen untuk mengubah silabus dan mereka sudah setuju. Tapi sekarang masalahnya, saya belum punya waktu untuk eksekusi. Setiap hari saya mengajar sampai malam, sulit sekali mencari waktu untuk mengubah silabus. Saya akan minta bantuan guru lain. Mereka juga sama sibuknya dengan saya. Bagaimana ini? *mumet*

3. Susunan kata dan pengaruh bahasa asing.

Saya selalu mengajarkan konsep “ayam goreng” kepada murid saya, Bahasa Indonesia dan Bahasa Inggris itu terbalik. “Fried chicken” akan menjadi “ayam goreng” dalam bahasa Indonesia, bukan “goreng ayam”. Konsep ini dan masih banyak lagi konsep tata bahasa yang lain akan selalu saya ulangi di kelas. Murid-murid biasanya sering salah menyusun kata, terbalik-balik dan terlalu banyak memakai terjemahan langsung ke Bahasa Inggris. Biasanya saya akan menjadi “badut” di kelas dan berusaha untuk tidak memakai terjemahan. Mereka harus berusaha berpikir dalam Bahasa Indonesia. Terkadang saya hanya meminta mereka menerjemahkan kata untuk memeriksa pemahaman kosakata yang sulit. Selebihnya, saya lebih suka memakai bahasa isyarat. Diusahakan 70-80% Bahasa Indonesia dan bahasa isyarat yang dipakai di kelas, sisanya Bahasa Inggris untuk menjelaskan tata bahasa yang susah.

Pada akhirnya, saya berharap proyek yang satu ini dapat saya kembangkan lagi di kemudian hari. Mungkin suatu hari nanti, saya bisa buka sekolah bahasa sendiri? Amin. Sekarang, (slang/colloquial) gue mau enjoy dulu aja deh, mau ngajar Bahasa Inggris atau Bahasa Indonesia, privat atau kelas, sama aja. Yang penting senang ^_^

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That’s all folks. I just used the formal version of Indonesian in this post.

Maybe I should practice more and write more posts in Indonesian? Using slang/colloquial version?

Oh well, Happy August everyone!

Time really flies…

Cheers,

Sien

*in early holiday mood. 33 more days to turning 2-9 on 2-9. 42 more days to a long vacation. Woohooo!! ^_^

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Life with braces (after 1 year and 6 months)

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It’s been 1 year and 6 months. Time flies. Let’s look back to the reason why I decided to fix my teeth and began my braces journey, the checkpoints after 6 months and after 1 year.

Since then, I’ve become so used to the routine of flossing and brushing my teeth for at least 30 minutes each night, that it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore. Hopefully, this good habit will continue even after I’m done with this wire.

For now, let’s endure and keep up the cleaning routine. Here’s how my teeth look today. After 72 weeks.

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Cheers,

Sien

*feeling awesome after realizing her teeth have really transformed for the better. A little bit more…fighting!

Life with braces (after 1 year)

First post of the year and it’s time to write an update of my braces journey.

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 was the first day of my braces experience. I decided to go for the Damon method. Click here for more info. No teeth extracted.

Here’s a quick look of how my teeth used to look like.

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From that day, I took a weekly photo of the amazing transformation.

Fast forward 6 months, here’s what they look like and I wrote about it here.
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After half a year, my lower teeth were straighter and the three-way junction teeth had shifted to their correct positions.

The upper tooth that was up there was becoming more aligned with the rest. But the tooth next to it was slightly pushed backward because of this. I had a transparent (yellowish) rubber to bring that tooth out. It was a lot more difficult to floss that area when it was there. Thank goodness my Ortho took it off during my visit last November.

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And after another 6 months, they look like this now:)
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Still need more space for the lower left tooth to shift forward and align itself with the rest. I have no idea how he’s going to do it but I hope I can get this braces off in another 6 months to 1 year *fingers crossed*.

I had my latest cleaning and polishing yesterday. My dentist told me that I had to floss even more thoroughly, especially on the gaps between my molars that are fully enclosed with metal brackets. I have a few crack lines on the inner side of my lower teeth but she said they won’t crack if I stick to eating soft food: no peanuts/fish crackers/any other hard stuff.

Almost everyone whom I met recently told me that I’m slimmer (or skinnier or thinner *i don’t like these words*) now, maybe it’s because I don’t want to take too much time brushing and flossing my teeth after every meal, so I eat less and tend to choose soft non-sticky food, which are easier to chew, and hence affecting my figure and weight?

Do you see any difference here?

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Left: when I arrived back in SG after 1 month in Auckland, New Zealand. Right: on a friend’s birthday dinner celebration

Anyway, as long as I feel healthy and still have the time to hit the gym or play volleyball every week, all is well. I’m getting used to this wire and the cleaning regime that comes with it.

Wish me luck with the rest of the journey!

(to be replaced with a retainer….SOON^_^)

Cheers,

Sien

*2015, the year of slow transformation in every aspect of my life. 加油吧! *

Throwback November

Hey there, it’s been a while since I last wrote a post here. Just feeling nostalgic now, particularly this November, hence the title “Throwback November”. Right about this time last year, I still remember vividly, how excited I was, preparing for my departure to do the CELTA at Auckland, New Zealand. It was an exciting, meaningful, freeing month for me. See the full post on how I decided to take the course, here and my experience, here. Fast forward 1 year later, up to TODAY, here are what happened afterwards:

1) Decided to pursue a part-time gig that’s more of my cup of tea, instead of property and other stuff I’ve got going on since 2009. So $$ factor is not the most important consideration anymore. I could trade my time and knowledge with a decent amount of $ (not tonnes of money, just decent) as long as I enjoy doing it.

2) As early as December last year, beside being busy going for my orthodontist appointment and started my braces journey (click here and here for stories and some ugly braces pictures;p), I applied for part-time classroom language teaching jobs.

3) Ended up with a 1-month in-house teacher training with one of the well-established language schools here. I submitted my application in hope that I could get a part-time English and/or Indonesian teaching job. That was in March.

4) One full month training and one class observation later, I got the job. Yay! Knew about it right after my ultimate adventure trip this year, click here for details of the adventure. After the trip, I was focusing more on building up my teaching experience. I just want to teach languages. And the cool thing is, I can attend other language lessons for free, as long as it doesn’t clash with my own teaching schedule.

5) And guess what, (un)fortunately, they’re more in need of an Indonesian teacher than a part-time English teacher.  I’m a native speaker of Indonesian and wasn’t ready to let go of my full time job yet. So twist and turn, somehow, I ended up teaching Bahasa Indonesia in a classroom. They asked me if I would be keen to switch to full time as an English and Indonesian language teacher after some time. That’s an option in the future. I’m seriously considering this. For now, the current arrangement is the best that I can get from both worlds (my full time to pay the bill, part-time as a hobby, for fun and keeping my brain active; beside that I found that playing volleyball regularly also makes me a happier person. Nothing beats a good afternoon sweat and release of endorphin after a great game)

So after 4 classes of module 1 for beginners, 1 private student and currently teaching a class of module 2 beginners, I found myself enjoying it so much. My brain is constantly challenged. I got to know some grammar points of my own native language that I didn’t even know how to explain to my students at first. I guess, because I grew up speaking it, just like the English native speakers I met during CELTA, the sentences come out so naturally that we don’t even think in terms of structure and grammar points. We just use the language. Apparently, it’s always the same problem for natives who teach their own language to other speakers, GRAMMAR problem. Students need those structures when learning a new language at the beginning and then they can practice speaking in a more natural way when the basic knowledge is acquired.

I start to appreciate Bahasa Indonesia even more now. I think it’s time for the language to shine and for us, native speakers, to speak better Bahasa Indonesia and be proud of it. I appreciate how flexible the language is and how the formal and conversational Bahasa Indonesia can be very different. It’s challenging to teach it…but it’s FUN at the same time. I never know that there are quite a number of Westerners (the Bules) and locals here who are interested in learning Bahasa Indonesia. It’s fascinating!!

Now, I’m finding my way to brush up my Mandarin and English to native level (all skills: writing, speaking, reading, listening) so that one day, I could teach them too, be amazed by how much my students have improved over time and hopefully, have my own language center/school one day!!

Okay, enough daydreaming…one project at a time. Slow down, wake up and let’s float back from Wonderland, shall we?

With love,

Sien

–  no urge to share my life lately, mentally occupied by lesson plans, physically occupied by weekly volleyball game and some outings here and there. At least 1 blog post a month will do:) Keep it rolling girl! 

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The whole shelf of Indonesian language textbooks that I found in Kinokuniya. When looking for inspiration, I’ll go there and browse the books. I’ve been recommending these books to management and hopefully they’re in the library soon!

PS: Kayaknya aku harus post pake Bahasa Indonesia deh dalam waktu dekat ini. Bakal ngerasa aneh gak ya, nulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia? Mending formal atau pake bahasa gaul ya? heemmm…ejaannya aja dah gak bener nih!!

Life with braces (after 6 months)

Hi All,

Just a quick update of my braces journey.

Wrote about it in this post back in Jan 2014.

Time really flies and it’s been 6 MONTHS…wooohoooo!!

Do you notice any difference? Improvement?

DAY 1 

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AFTER 6 MONTHS (from all angles)

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Approximately 18 more months to go!

Hope I can persevere until the end.

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Cheers,

Sien

*recently I’m not in the mood to write long story about my life or any other general topics. I’ve got several draft posts without content, just the title. Hopefully ideas will start flowing back SOON *writer’s block. Too many updates and happenings, not sure where to start^_^*

5 Tips to Prevent Boredom (or Becoming a Boring Person)

Nobody wants to think of themselves as a boring person, but if you do, probably you are.

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Recently, upon realizing that I’ve got symptoms #7 super predictable and never spontaneous and #10 (slowly becoming) a hermit (full article here: 10 signs you are a boring person), I decided to do something to prevent boredom from settling in (when it suddenly strikes) and also to avoid becoming a boring person.

The kind of lifestyle you choose is entirely up to you. So here’s the lifestyle I choose NOW and the five useful tips to help myself (and perhaps YOU..) get out of rut.

1. Pick up different interests

I have many different interests and activities to fill up my days. Weekdays will be filled with work, and some after-work activities like: random browsing in YouTube, home karaoke/cinema/drama, hitting the gym, blogging, teaching English tuition, reading various articles and news just to keep myself updated with current trend, budget planning, and many many more. Weekends will usually be filled with volleyball game, hiking, cycling, karaoke with friends, outing to various attractions when friends or family come to visit, occasional movie night and dinner at restaurants for friends’ birthday or casual catch-up.

Life is not just about work and work and work. Having many hobbies and activities that suit my budget (outdoor activities are great, better than aimlessly wandering around shopping malls), give me opportunity to grow as a person (teaching *adding more teaching assignments soon, work in progress:)*, reading a book, blogging to reconnect with my own mind) while still keeping a healthy lifestyle (gym/swim when I feel like it, hiking, volleyball, cycling) is my best antidote to boredom. It certainly won’t make you a boring person. If you don’t like going to the club, loud music with people drinking excessive alcohol. Then DON’T! You’re not a boring person if you choose to stay at home on a Friday night and just chill in your room while reading a book. It’s your personal preference. Don’t give in to peer pressure!:)

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2. Have various repeatable schedule and change-up my routine

Just to keep myself from becoming too predictable and feeling bored too frequently, I had to learn how to mix things up instead of sticking to the same routine every week. So for example: if last weekend I organized a cycling activity at East Coast Park, were out the whole day on Saturday visiting a friend, pampered myself with monthly facial treatment and spent the weekdays browsing random stuff on the net, this week, I’m back to blogging and probably just laze around during the weekend and keeping my schedule loose, will probably hit the gym in the weekend or just go out hiking somewhere or out for tea break with a friend. Not sure yet. Sometimes, I have the tendency to fill up my schedule way in advance and piling up all activities in one weekend just in order to be efficient. Purposely arrange to run errands and meet friends all in one day. Cheers to a fruitful day out!

At the end of a busy weekend, the moment I cherish the most is my own private ME time alone in my room on that Monday night and just hibernating. No schedule. No plan. Nothing. Yes folks, my weekend is usually busier than my weekdays. That’s the way it is and I’m loving it.

Disclaimer: of course if you have a certain goal in mind, like: losing weight and toning up tummy for your special day or just to shape up and impress yourself, you might want to stick to routine for months and be discipline. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Varying the type of exercise you do everyday can also prevent boredom (treadmill run 30-45 mins, rest, swim, weight lift & a bit of cardio, rest, yoga, etc etc…) *next new project for myself*

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3. Go out and explore

After 2-3 months of working, staying in town, eating at the same place, getting take-aways at the same stall, doing all the normal routine and various activities around the clock, we all need an adventure out-of-town, out of the country or out of our usual pattern once in a while. Some mysteries and spontaneity are also good for our life. Just for example, this February, I had my share of break during CNY; coming April I’ll need to take on the challenge of climbing another mountain (definitely out of my comfort zone, updated story of my 2nd mountain climb here), in June is a really short break out-of-town to attend a wedding, in August another short trip just to eat to my heart’s content and many other unplanned trips. In due time, I’ll blog about these short trips once they were all accomplished. Notice that every 2-3 months, there will be something happening to spice my life up, out of the routine. So I guess, my life is not that boring after all. Who said so anyway? *blaming my twisted boring mind*

4. Learn new skills

If you’re feeling bored at work, because you have nothing to do or because you don’t feel challenged. Maybe, it’s time to look for challenges and fulfillment outside of your work. Again, life is not just about work and making money. We should all GET A LIFE that we had always imagined NOW, instead of waiting until we have the time and money to live our desired life. That time will never come. We may have high expectation for ourselves, big dreams and then do something to achieve them. Or we can just choose to live a calm life. Nothing wrong with either one. As long as you’re happy now, you know what you’re doing and is enjoying the journey, that’s all that matters.  *recently, the pace at work has picked up a little bit and I’ve been busier. So no time to feel bored:)*

So when you have that spare time after work, during an idle weekend, why not take a skill course? that certificate that you’ve always wanted to take? that hot yoga lesson that you’ve always wanted to try? that photography classes that you’ve always wanted to join? so many activities out there. I recently came across some of my juniors’ photos on their pole dancing class…looks like it really requires some dedication and hard practice to master it. I was in awe while looking at how amazing and difficult their poses are. It’s very challenging, indeed. That IS a new skill. It’s something extra to put in your life portfolio, enhance your skills, boost up your confidence and if you’re dedicated enough, it will someday become your other source of income. Who knows?

5. Expand my circle of friends and help out friends/family in need (giving advice, help people who need your expertise, sharing experience, sharing worth-reading articles, sharing job opportunities available at your workplace)

After university, it’s generally harder to meet new people. We’re usually stuck at work, seeing the same people day in and day out; hanging out with old friends that we’ve known for ages and doing the same activities every year. Realizing this since a few years ago, I started to organize more activities in which my friends can bring their friends for Saturday morning hike at MacRitchie or Sunday afternoon cycle at East Coast Park or Saturday night volleyball games. In fact, I just organized an afternoon cycle from ECP area C to Changi Beach Park last Sunday. The cycling outing this time was more relaxed than usual because of the 3-hour rental time. We cycled a little bit further than usual and saw the view off the coast of Changi Beach with people doing what I believe is called kitesurfing (picture below). After the tiring bike ride, we went on a quest for food and ended up eating at a Vietnamese restaurant (JooChiat Rd). First time eating there, yummy Pho!

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So the next time you feel like rejecting your friend’s invitation for a gathering or hesitating to join that new social or hobby clubs that involve mingling with strangers, THINK AGAIN. Think of how many new people, new potential friends/partner, new connections, new food, new opportunities that you’re going to miss just because you said NO, because you’re afraid to explore and go out of your comfortable circle of friends and daily routine, you’re afraid of rejection, you have fear of being in unfamiliar places or just because you’re simply not in the mood for socializing *advice for myself too*

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If you ever feel bored and uninspired, just ACKNOWLEDGE the feeling and DON’T let it settle in for too long. Get into actions and spice things up using the 5 tips above and hopefully, you’ll recover your enthusiasm and start seeing everything in new positive light:  your work, relationship, daily routine, hobbies, etc. It’s normal to temporarily feel bored in your calm life. But becoming a boring person…is NOT an option!

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And as usual, below are some recommended articles that you can read to help yourself get out of rut.

Folks, get out there and live an interesting LIFE!!

Cheers,

Sien

*feeling bored? not anymore:)

Happy reading!! ^_^

7 signs that your life is boring

10 differences between interesting and boring people

6 signs that your life got boring

changing daily routine – solution to your problems

adventure cure for a common life

eight tips to know if you’re being boring

10 ways to conquer boredom and feeling too busy