Are you Accountable or Responsible?

Accountability relates to rules, Responsibility relates to care…interesting.

Cultivating Learning

Lately I have been thinking about this idea of accountability and responsibility. There is a lot of talk and action around making teachers accountable for the outcomes of their students and  leaders being accountable for the outcomes of staff and school performance.

Trying to get staff motivated to develop their skills and improve their practice has meant I have had to look closely at how I can do this.  In my own classroom one of my strengths is to respond to the needs and interests of my students.  The relationships and connections I make with them and their families impacts directly on how I engage them in learning. I have had great success with students whom have been disconnected from learning or had poor school experiences in the past.

So why is it that I approach connecting with staff in their learning differently?

I think it boils down to my…

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Authentic Book Discussions? Not in My Classroom.

Crawling Out of the Classroom

Every so often, I am struck by the fact that I have been making a huge mistake as a teacher and I suddenly wish that I could run around and gather up all my former students to apologize.

Well this morning, while on a family walk, I had one such realization. My wife and I had taken our daughter and our dog out for a Sunday morning walk.  My wife and I were chuckling as we watched my almost-two year old struggle to hold the leash of my rather unruly lab-mix. And I was struck at the “conversation” that was occurring amongst the three of us.  I say “conversation” in the loosest sense of the word because my daughter has a whole lot to say, but only about 10% of it is understandable to any other human.

Anyway, I realized that all of these words that we had been trying…

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An ordinary woman…, a wise woman; my mother.

sungai I  was born in a small village not far from the notorious Aburizal Bakrie’s legacy, Lumpur Lapindo – Porong, Sidoarjo. I was very fortunate that I was born from a couple of honourable parent. Compare to my friends in my village, I feel grateful.  It is me who could survive to proceed my education  until college.

It wouldn’t have happened without  my parent, of course. A fact that I could never ever deny. My father was an ordinary man with a future mindset. He always wanted his children to be successful  In their future. And he believed that the only way to reach that was by sending his children to good schools.

My father was just a farmer and was a chief of the village.  He ruled the village since Indonesia had not been an independent country.  He was appointed by the people that put a big hope on him. As one of the young people soldier, my father actively engaged in pursuing independence from Japan. He was a brave guy once he became the most  WANTED man by the enemy.

And my mother, a humble and the most simplest  woman i’ve ever known on earth.  She always obeyed my father in whatever he said. If my father said No on something, she would do her best to say NO too to her children as not to raise our disappointment.

My parents raised nine children in that old and ” growing” house. I said growing as the house grew bigger as one by one my siblings came to the world. It was funny. My father added room by room, could be every two year, as our age differences mostly two years, except I and my young sister, the youngest. We have seven years difference.

My father had passed away on 2012. A heavy year for me, as I felt missing him so much. But thinking that I and my siblings had done the best we can to take care of him, made us feel ease. And we still have one parent, my beloved Emak, that’s how we call her.

Since my father left, my mother felt lonely. So, I pick her up every holiday so she can stay with me in Jakarta. But when she was in Jakarta, she always begs to be taken home again for some reasons. 

Then,  I am taking her back to my hometown after staying with me, and with my sister in Jakarta for about one month.

I really love and adore my mother. She is kind of the product of colonialism education . She was used to obey whatever my father said even without thinking, as she really believed and loved him. When you love someone, you will believe him or her, won’t you?

My  father was a very dominant figure for his family and people. But, I believed that he did that for many reasons. He did not want to see his children grew and became jobless or live their lives by relying on our land and fields at the village, like many children there. Almost all of them. They stopped going to school after graduating from Elementary or secondary. Then they got married, have children and go to the field for their living. My father just wanted the other way around. Once he said that it was hard living as a farmer as weather sometimes so unpredictable.  So he did not not want his children have those heavy and hard life as his. And his dreams came true. He got the fruit of his perseverance. Most of us live a better lives, of course compare to his and people in my village.

Now, what we have is  my mother. The only parent left. She is everything to me. Her simplicity inspires me to live simply and wisely. Her love and care towards my father and her nine children teaches me a lot about compassion. She always hides herself behind, she is every thing to all of her children’ lives. She genuinely offers herself to be always available tirelessly. She offers whether her sons or daughters want this or that whenever they are home for visiting.

Yes, she is my mother. The simplest and wisest women, for me.

Jakarta, Dec 17, 2014