I Didn’t Get Lost
Last year, I was still dealing with medicinal herbs and ceremonial plants at Eka Karya Bali Botanical Garden, Bedugul, and now every day I learn with children in class. In the past, I used to take care of growing pine stands and observe the behavior of long-tailed monkeys, used to wake up from inside the tent with itchy cheeks after being bitten by mosquitoes all night and one cold leg from sticking out of the sleeping bag. But now I am getting used to a new routine: taking care of what materials I will give to the children today, going to school, turning on the laptop, studying, breaking up the children’s fight who if just a second late, someone will cry, and even when the children came home, I was still learning to make tomorrow’s learning even better.
It’s very tough for me to adapt. But tough doesn’t mean I can’t do it, and doesn’t mean it’s unpleasant for me to do. Amazingly, I enjoy my new routine as much as my old routine which is 180 degrees different. Hearing the smart arguments of the kids at CH while having a discussion was as awesome as when I saw Bidadari Halmahera (Semioptera wallacii) for the first time. The eyes sparkled and the children’s enthusiasm for learning at CH was no different from the enthusiasm of the children inland at Gunung Bunder for learning something new. The children really enjoyed listening when I told about my expeditions during my college days, and I also learned many things from the children, they had ideas and thoughts that I had never really thought of before.
“We are accustomed to being paperless, Bu. Because if we use too much paper, the trees in this world will run out!” a 3rd grader said to me when I was first teaching in her class. I am very happy to know that the children at CH have a genuine appreciation for nature. At CH, the children are very orderly not to litter, do not waste paper or tissue, and of course take care of the plants around the school. Then, one day we found a Love Bird that accidentally came out of the cage, and had been perched outside the CH bird cage for days. The children began to worry, some of them even cried because they felt sympathy for the bird. To them, the bird looked unfortunate because it could not enter the cage to eat and play with its fellow birds. Finally, the bird was rescued and returned to the cage. In my heart I am grateful, my days are still accompanied by people who have great sympathy and respect for nature, plants and animals.
We will never know when the knowledge we have can be applied, so in my opinion there is no term ‘learning loss’. I am actually surprised by people who say to me, “You don’t have an education background, why work in school to become a teacher?” In my opinion, everyone is a teacher. The children at CH are my teachers, and so are all my colleagues, regardless of which unit they are assigned to. Bapak Jokowi also did not study the presidency at first, right? He is a forestry alumnus, the same as me 🙂 Regarding to the profession and desire to be a teacher is not only measured by title and background alone. But more like how sincere and competence we become a teacher. And thanks to CH, one by one the training and certification that can support and ‘legalize’ me to become a teacher I have undergone and I will continue to do. CH gave me the opportunity to continue to grow and explore my potential, and supported me regardless of my background.
I’m not just working at CH, but I’m learning at CH.
And I never got lost. Because CH has never killed the foresters spirit and the values of nature’s interests in me that I got during my studies.
Thank you CH, for providing opportunities for me 🙂