School is definitely different in Indonesia.
1) For one, students go to school year-round with a 3-week break in June-July separating the school years. They also have a 2-week break after Ramadan and a 2-week break after Christmas. I hear there are various other days off as well that are not fully disclosed up-front. For instance, I have 3 days off now for the start of Ramadan that were not on the original schedule.
2) Students also go to school Monday through Saturday. At my school, classes start roughly at 7am and go until 1:30pm. Fridays are shorter days ending at around 11:15 to allow the men to go to the mosque.
3) Here students are divided by ability into classes that they stay with every day for the whole year. In general, IPA (Ilmu Pengetahuan Alam), or science classes are the “clever” kids. The rest are divided into IPS (Ilmu Pengetahuan Social), or social classes. These classes stay in one classroom, and the teachers rotate coming into the room. This seemed really odd to me, and I wondered why they didn’t mix things up and have students change classes like in the US? Well, there are simply not enough classrooms here to do that. It is logistically easier to have classes stay together all day and then have the teachers move from room to room to maximize resources and attempt to make scheduling somewhat easier.
4) Also, the schedules are crazy. I just counted how many teachers the 10th grade at my school sees in one week, and it came out to 20. Here, one student can study up to 18 different subjects all at once. These kids study Math, Chemistry, Biology, Sociology, Physics, Geography, History, Indonesian, Arabic, English as well as another handful of religion classes at the madrasah. In America, high school students may study 7 subjects in one semester, and we cluster subjects like Biology into one full year of study rather than spreading it throughout the entire high school career. It helps put in perspective just how much of my English classes these kids will ever retain when they have information from 15 other classes crowding their brain.
|This is one semester of LKS, or workbooks for one student.|
5) I think pretty much all schools have uniforms here. I explained that usually it was only the private schools in America that wear uniforms, and the teachers couldn’t believe it. The best part is teachers wear uniforms too! Checkout my beauties below. Mondays and Tuesday are the beige, Wednesday are the blue shoulder pads, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday are batik, and Friday is ohlaraga, or sports uniform.
|Me in my "seksi" school uniform giving a speech to the new students.That is my principal who I also love.|
|This is the Wednesday uniform. Shoulder pads, butterfly collar and tie. This is my counterpart, Bu Olif, and I visiting another PCV, Natasha.|
|This is the ohlaraga, or sports, uniform. Mine is about 2 sizes too large, and I particularly like this photo b/c I look like a giant alongside my fellow teachers.|
Elementary school = SD (Sekolah Dasar)
Junior High school =SMP (Sekolah Menengah Pertama)
There are 3 different types of high schools:
Public = SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas)
Vocational = SMK (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan)
Madarasah = MAN (Madrasah Aliyah Negeri)*
*although MANs are public also. I forget how this works. I teach at a MAN.