On Becoming an English Teacher

spidol Ollie

Being an English Teacher is something that I always wanted. It began when I saw my best friends teaching at local English Course in Bengkulu. They looked so confident, accomplished and content. Their eyes sparkled when they teach. I want to have that sparkle too in my eyes.

To get further flashback, back when I was 11 years old staying in Kupang, NTT, my English was bad. I was sitting in front of my school when suddenly a teacher from Australia (It’s common to have them in my school because we have this exchange students program with Australia and many of Australian teachers and students were wandering around school) approach and say hi to me. It’s a woman with a very tall figure and wearing Australian Map T-shirt.

“Hi… how are you?” She said. I was stunned. I didn’t know how to handle the situation.
“Hi… I’m fine thank you. And you?” I guess I remember something from my English class.
She smiled gently and said, “I’m good, thanks! Well… do you grow here?” She continued the conversation.
My hands were instantly cold. GROW?? What is grow?? I don’t know grow! I haven’t heard the word ‘grow’ in my entire life!
“Yesss… I’m studying English here!” I responded with blank face expression, knowing that I was wrong.
She giggled. Then she started making some gestures.
“Do you GROW here?” She stretched her hand from below to above my head.
Haa… I suddenly get it.
“Nooo…,” and that’s it. End of conversation. I can’t speak any more words.

It’s not the turning point, by the way. The turning point was when I told my smart best friend Merry about it. She was laughing so hard and said, “You fool! How come you didn’t know such easy word?”. What she said actually becoming a huge turning point that I declare that someday my English would be better than her and I would be an English Teacher! (I didn’t hate her, she’s my dear best friend who happened to motivate me with her own way hehe… and I didn’t get better than her… just equal :D)

And 13 years later, here I am. An English Teacher for the non-profit Aqila Foundation with my name on the marker and sparkle not only in my eyes, but also in my students eyes.

Get to Aqila Foundation website to learn how you can be part of it and help spread the sparkle.



A writer of 30 books. Co-Founder & CMO & Initiate StartupLokal, the biggest startup community in Indonesia. Co-Managing Director of Girls in Tech Indonesia.


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