“Teaching? Is It That Easy?” — My Experience for Asistensi Mengajar

Chatarina Sentana
5 min readJun 13, 2022

Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the United States, once said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Proceeding from that, I started to put my attention and focus on education, a sector of human life that I find a very interesting thing. In my personal opinion, education is the most powerful and proven vehicle for sustainable development. It is the key part of escaping poverty and upgrading one’s quality of life. An important thing to remember is that poverty is not simply about the low amount of money that people make per week or per month. It is in fact a multidimensional problem that has not only one factor or cause to it. Poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standards, disempowerment, poor quality of work, the threat of violence, and living in an environmentally hazardous place are examples of multidimensional poverty. It is such a relief that the government has given the chance for children all over Indonesia to get access to free education through a program called “Wajib Belajar 12 Tahun”.

As someone who puts interest in education, I decided to join a program that my campus has that is called “Asistensi Mengajar”. Together with other 14 university students, I had my teaching experience for 3 months in SMP Negeri 2 Malang. I was assigned to teach English to 8th-grade students and to accompany Christian students in doing prayers. In the beginning, there were so many unexpected things that surprised me. One big example is the students’ English ability. As there is a Jaksel phenomenon that has been happening among young people, I thought that students will also get affected by it as some little kids in my environment have become so used to putting some English words in their sentences, such as literally, I mean, you know, right, and so on. Turns out that they are not! So, this is challenge number one: discovering my students’ English level. In order to find out about this, I gave them several different types of worksheets with different levels of difficulty. Altogether with the worksheets, at some times I also took them on a ride of practice in terms of speaking. This was done as the headmaster of the school wanted the students to be able to use English in real life and to have a good pronunciation. Hence, on several occasions, I asked my students to repeat after me. I read the sentences first, then they would follow me. Some students were cooperative to learn new things and became so excited when it came to speaking practice. However, some were work-shy and rejected to speak by saying the most popular meme on the internet, “Ga bisa basa Enggres” which then can be translated as “I can’t speak English.”

Teaching VIII-I about recount text.

Another big challenge is to match the school schedule in the midst of the pandemic situation. Even though things have gotten much better these days, the process of teaching and learning still cannot be held normally like what we had before all the Corona things happened. At first, I taught virtually using Google meet and Google Classroom. But then unexpectedly the government sent a new announcement saying that school would be done offline and do face-to-face meetings. Of course, this was a challenge as I needed to change some parts of my teaching plan. But then by the end of the day, there was nothing I could do besides being flexible and ready for any changes caused by the regulation. Teaching online is always harder as I still could not manage to get control over my students. Even though the deadlines were set already, sometimes there are some students who did not pay attention to them very well. Thankfully, all students have done their work by the end of the semester. And it is actually very delightful to see that they got good scores for most of their works.

During my Asistensi Mengajar, there were several activities that I did besides teaching, so it was not boring at all. Sometimes I helped the teacher arrange questions for the final test, helped 9th graders and have a little chat with them about their future career choice, guided the seniors (9th graders) when they had their tests, and so on. There were also some religious activities that I joined with the students as well. In these activities, I met Pak Ardillah and Kak Debby, great people who help Christian students to grow with Jesus. We used to gather in a small group every Friday to pray and share our difficulties in life. Together, I grew spiritually with the help of both of them.

A small group for Christians in SMPN 2 Malang.

As I really want to contribute to my students’ English proficiency, I introduced them to several CALLs (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) or MALLs (Mobile-Assisted Language Learning) technology that I think are very computer-friendly for them to use in their free time. The toolbox that I used to compile and organize the CALLs and MALLs is Wakelet. This Wakelet link consists of many items that students can utilize easily. Some contents that I put in the Wakelet are the TikTok channel, test-english, Storyline Online, YouTube, and so on. I hope these contents are able to engage students to be more interested in English as the global language. After all, even though there were many things that I struggled to work on, I found indescribable happiness doing this program. It really helps me to understand the real situation and condition of students in school. With this knowledge, I am able to identify the gap between the theory I read in the books and how it really is in schools. Throughout Asistensi Mengajar, I feel like I have a better opportunity to contribute and share small things that I know with people around me. Thus, I am so thankful I can be a part of SMP Negeri 2 Malang for the last three months. [chtrn]



Chatarina Sentana

One-of -a-kind things are usually very valuable and highly sought after.