Teachers Who Changed My Life

It is May, which is the national education month in Indonesia. The second of May is celebrated as the national education day.


So I took time to ponder for a minute or two, trying to come up with the answer of the question:”Who are the teachers that changed your life?”


After some time, it’s hard for me to tell which teachers have the most impact on my life to date. All of them are influential in their own way. But I have to choose, here is the shortlist.

My parents

I may have hated my father and mother for teaching me mathematics until I shed tears. I flunked the math test and got an alarmingly low score in the academic report after I hid the answer sheet distributed earlier.

Mr. Subur Wardoyo

He introduced me to Oscar Wilde (the queer Irish versatile literary star), Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (that Jazz Age American writer), Ernest Hemingway (a drunken, sturdy built literary giant) and a lot more American writers I can aspire to. Mr Subur Wardoyo was just an amazing, easy-going, open-minded, the most liberal-viewed lecturer I had ever had on college. She taught me both in my undergraduate and graduate program. He is simply one of the best and this year we – my college pals and I – lost him. You’ll be really missed, pak Subur.


Mr. Sapardi Djoko Damono

Yes, that renowned Indonesian poet! He taught me Literary Sociology and I chose it as the topic of my thesis. I was a bit slow in the writing process. I almost gave up but a voice kept screaming inside my head:”You’ve gotta finish what you’ve already begun!!!” So I rekindled my spirit and made it. He made me realize that learning is not a sprint; instead it’s a marathon. A long long marathon.


Mr. Warsono

I still remember him teaching Writing III class in my junior year and how he instilled the passion of writing into me. And the soft-spoken lecturer was just legendary, thanks to his moustache and smooth cursive longhand on the blackboard. I guess one of the most anticipated classes in a whole year was his class. What made me even love him more is the fact that I managed to earn a great final score at the end of the sixth semester, which boosted my confidence and without him, I would never become the writer I am now.


Ms. Indri

She is my Math teacher in high school. So outspoken, so mean verbally, so un-ladylike. She kicked, she was foul-mouthed, she was just what she really is. No pretense.


She taught us math like she never cared about what we would speak behind her back in breaks. Who didn’t? She threw bits of chalk at us when we were too slow to submit our answer sheets. She smashed the eraser when a student stood frozen, unable to figure out the answer of a math problem written on the blackboard.


As an anti-math student, I hated her so much. But I had no choice but to deal with her like every other day. Math was a subject I never liked and she made me like it.


So I tried my best to survive in her class in fear of getting physically humiliated (being pinched for example) and boom!!! I hit my all-time highest math score: 8.


There were nights I could not go to bed early because I still could not believe I made it. I was stunned by my own math talent. I therefore realize that nothing is impossible if I study. I may not be a genius but I know I am not useless looser. I can work hard and stay focused and claim the results.


Though she looked so frightening, Ms. Indri sometimes threw us some jokes with a flat-faced facial expression that made you wonder whether she was in fury or just was being crazy.


Ms. Tri Alfa Inayati

I still remember, as a fourth grader of elementary school, I heard a compliment about my cursive longhand. “You should be ashamed. You’re a girl and your handwriting is less neat than Akhlis’,” she said to a girl in the class.


I felt sorry for hear. But my heart could not contain my joy upon overhearing this remark. Cruel to her. Flattering to me.


Since then I polished my longhand and had ever since been often designated the secretary of class.


I appreciate her for making me realize I was that rare species of boys in class with clear, tidy cursive longhand. I cannot thank her more. Because now I write like every day and make money off writing.


How about you? Do you have your own list of teachers who have changed your life? (*/)



Autodidacticism: Learn on Your Own for Yourself

“You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself sitting alone in a room.” -Dr. Seuss

That describes pretty much perfectly my approach to any passion I have now. My linguistic cum literary pursuit and then yoga have always been approached like this.

That said, one needs to apply strict discipline while adopting this method because based on my experience, it is harder to guide yourself than others while learning. There are always excuses and justifications to make, that tells you,”It’s ok not to practice now. It’s ok not to be the best. It’s fine not to ….” And suddenly you find yourself a total failure. Stuck and sucked by your own feeble mind.

Meeting Saras "Effectual" Sarasvathy

With Saras Sarasvathy, an Indian professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
She is known for her passion in entrepreneurship and education, which later on led her to inventing the effectuation theory. You may find her as a keynote speaker on TED Talks and Big Think.


Tidak Peduli Usia 90 Tahun, Pria Inggris Ini Selesaikan Pendidikan Doktoralnya

Seorang kakek yang pernah ikut berperang dalam Perang Dunia II menyelesaikan pendidikan doktornya (S3) 1 bulan setelah merayakan ulang tahunnya yang ke-90.

Eric Woof, sang kakek yang dulu bekerja sebagai pengajar, merayakan prestasinya itu. Ia meraih gelar Ph.D. dari Lancaster University, setelah 74 tahun meninggalkan dunia kampus.

Woof yang tumbuh sebagai anak seorang pekerja pelabuhan di London ini mengatakan dirinya meninggalkan sekolah saat berusia 16 tahun untuk mendapatkan pekerjaan tetapi kemudian berhasil mendapatkan pekerjaan sebagai guru matematika dan kembali belajar setelah memasuki usia pensiun.

“Kelulusan ini merupakan salah satu pengalaman paling memuaskan dalam kehidupan saya,” kata Dr. Woof.

“Saat dulu saya masih usia sekolah, saya tidak bisa kuliah di kampus,”ia menjelaskan.

Di dekade 1930-an, ia mendapatkan beasiswa ke grammar school (sebuah sekolah lanjutan yang menekankan pada bahasa Latin dan Yunani untuk bersiap menghadapi kurikulum pendidikan tinggi) tetapi dipindahkan ke Somerset di awal berkecamuknya perang dan harus meninggalkan bangku sekolah di usia 16 tahun dan bekerja keras, meskipun ia sebenarnya memenuhi syarat untuk kuliah di London University.

Ayah Eric menyuruh anaknya itu bekerja dan menghasilkan uang untuk menafkahi keluarga. “Saya kembali ke London sebelum serangan dan bekerja di sebuah kantor di West End. Kami harus pindah saat rumah kami rusak berat.”

Setelah mengabdikan diri pada RAF selama perang, Eric kembali ke pekerjaan asalnya, pindah ke utara di tahun 1952. Di usia 39 tahun, ia memiliki pekerjaan yang mapan dan seorang istri dan 4 anak.

“Saya memutuskan mengajar dan berpikir apakah saya benar-benar menginginkannya sebagai cara untuk menghabiskan waktu hidup ini. Istri saya sangat mendukung.”

Jadi ia mendapatkan kursi di universitas dan belajar menjadi guru matematika, dan bekerja di Appleby Grammar School, Cumbria dan di tingkat pendidikan selanjutnya selama lebih dari 20 tahun.

“Saya menyukai dunia mengajar karena memberikan kepuasan pribadi yang begitu besar.”

Dr. Woof mulai belajar di waktu senggang dan sukses mendapatkan gelar MA di University of East Anglia pada tahun 2003.

Tahun 2008, ia mulai belajar kembali di University of Cumbria. Di sini ia didorong untuk belajar kembali di program doktoral bidang pendidikan di Lancaster University.

“Pendidikan tinggi meningkatkan kualitas diri dan wawasan saya,” ia berujar.

“Suasana keseluruhan di sana sangat kondusif dan mendorong (diri saya). Saya suka bertemu mahasiswa lain dan staf yang juga sangat membantu. Saya menikmati bersama dan bekerja dengan orang-orang muda sehingga saya bergaul dengan baik dengan mahasiswa lain.”

Ia berharap bisa menyerahkan artikel untuk jurnal-jurnal profesional di topik favoritnya: pendidikan.

Dari keempat anaknya, Louise ialah pensiunan guru, Chris bekerja di University of Liverpool, dan kini sudah pensiun, Clare bergerak di bidang manajemen dan Francis bekerja di University of Salford. Istrinya Joan sudah meninggal tahun 1990.

“Saya sangat beruntung karena sudah diberkati dengan kesehatan yang baik dan dukungan banyak orang,”pungkasnya.

Apa yang dapat kita petik dari pencapaian Eric Woof ini?

On Becoming a Polyglot

Becoming a polyglot certainly sounds like something too good to be true. So far, I have learned 3 foreign languages. And the learning process is painfully lengthy, really.
English was initially not attractive to me. Yet as I grew up, the demand was increasingly higher. I just thought it would be cool for me to master it. Though I know I am exactly not even close to natives, I am so glad I can make a living by doing what I love.
The second foreign language to learn is Korean. I learned it intensively at a language course for free, to my utter surprise. Now I still retain the hangeul mastery but almost lose all the vocabulary and frequently used expressions stored 1,5 years ago. Poor me.
The third is Japanese. Of all foreign languages I have studied, this might be the worst. I completely lost all the basic knowledge.
I have no regrets that I cannot have a full grasp of all as I tend to think of language learning as a process of quality. The profound and thorough understanding of a
language comes first. Being able to speak many languages is good but I would rather learn few with above average proficiency than many  resulting in a linguistic mess on my brain.
What do you think,folks? Which side are you on? Quality or quantity? Let us know what you think 😉
p.s. : My very first post written on Samsung Gio! Impression? Virtual keypads cannot replace physical conventional keyboard of a PC.