Distant Past: My Worst Bahasa Indonesia Teacher

This was a story of a distant past. Revised in delivery, but story is the same.

This was a story during my highschool years in SMA Labschool Jakarta.

At that time, Bahasa Indonesia was on 11:45-12:30 (cut by the second break time), and continued 13:15-14:00. I can not remember what day it was: I somehow worn a batik in my imagination (making it thursday) but I can not be too sure.

One fine day, the task was to make a book summary. We were given some guidelines, and were let go to the library to find books and given a week to complete it.

I had no interest in reading any new books at that time, especially when I knew I could make a summary of any volume of Harry Potter (there was up to the Order of Phoenix that year) because I can recall the story completely out of heart.

I asked the teacher whether I could use a fiction book which can not be found in the library, which she responded with a “yes”. Then I asked further, which this point onwards would be the point of this story.

I wondered. While the due was the following week, what if I finish the whole assignment right away after the breaktime? She said that it would be great and would deserve extra marks.

Then, I did. Not only for the extra marks, but I simply can do it and can not promise I wont forget it over such an extensively excessive length of due. Unless I was very much mistaken, I did the first book of Harry Potter (and the Philosopher’s Stone) with view that time that it sounds quite funny to review not from the start. I spent my break time not for lunch, not even for prayer, but to make that assignment. I managed to finish it just around when the class starts again.

Enthusiastic, I submitted my work to the teacher. Guess what did she say?

It was plagiarism. Grounds? Apparently, according to her, it was impossible for me to finish a summary which turns out to be really good (in terms of use of words, re-narration skills and something else i cant remember), and was thus too good to be true for someone like me to make something like that.

I, at that time, was a celebrated veteran of the debating society of my school and in fact I was the president. One would accept me to fight back and demand my rights.

I could have reported to the headmaster, and demanded her to prove from where did I copy my work -I did it in school hours, if I copied it then it certainly would be from the library as we didnt have internet at school back then. She must accuse me with a basis before acting. And I am very much more than prepared to retell the whole story of Harry Potter from the first to the fifth book to prove that I am capable.

But I just cant believe what she just said. I was struck dumb, so disappointed that I still wondered whether I heard it right. For a few seconds, I could not bring myself to believe she actually said that to my face. I was speechless and chose not to do anything, I just could not bring myself to do anything.

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This happened over 10 years ago. Almost 15, actually. The first version of this article was actually written maybe 6 years ago, and this is an edit. Even at that point, I was unable to forgive.

Somehow I have managed to forgive, though. Everyone knows that “teachers are our unsung heroes” but it does take a long time for us to really fathom and internalize what this means. This is then when I managed to realize that the teacher’s sacrifice is great, and I probably owe them more than what I felt I suffered.

The previous version of this article was much more harsh and full of hate. Now I am re-editing it. It was wrong of me to be so hateful.

If it were the 6 year ago me, I would want the teacher to read my blog. Read the blog, read also the Academic Profile page to see links to my published works. See what I have become. I am a quite accomplished author for someone my age. But I guess the teacher may not remember what has happened.

But this is a note to myself, as I am myself a teacher now. I really must be careful, because what I say might affect them badly. Lesson learned.

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