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Ellen May: To Succeed is to Work Hard

February 16th, 2020

Ellen May released various books about stocks and her books have become national best-selling books. Since the release of her books, many people have asked to be taught about stock market by her. Finally, Ellen conducted seminars and training, and now most people know Ellen May as an expert in the field of stock market. However, on February 16, 2020, she got the chance to show the other side of herself, which is sharing her experiences and knowledge in pursuing dreams.

In front of enthusiastic Titian scholarship beneficiaries, Ellen, who used to teach and share all things related to trading, forex, and commodities, transformed into an educator for the teenagers who taught one important thing: to succeed is to work hard. She gave energy and sparked some inspiration for Titian Bayat scholarship students in the auditorium at SMKN ROTA 1, Bayat. Ellen does have a strong dedication in being an educator. With enthusiasm, she shared her views on success. “Many people have had success, but they don’t feel content.” Ellen shared her perspective on defining success, and the Titian students looked impressed.

In addition, Ellen also told how we should achieve our dreams. We still have to work hard. “We must be consistent in working. For example, if you want to become a YouTuber, don’t be lazy to create something. If you want to be an artist, juts learn every ways to do it; if you want to be a public figure, you must know the consequences, such as how our personal life will be exposed to the public.” In short, Ellen stressed on how important to know all knowledge about our dreams is.

The Titian students were very interactive and they gave questions to Ellen, such as asking how we plan to reach our dreams and how to increase our confidence. “I love how Titian works. Titian helps students by providing knowledge that will be continuously used,” Ellen said. Her visit to Bayat was a new experience. “This is my first time, sharing experiences with high school kids. I enjoyed it.” It is obvious that everyone that presented at the session was very happy because Ellen May has nurtured a new spirit and inspired Titian students! (SK)

A Teacher That Students Missed

February 15th, 2020

On Saturday, February 15th of 2020, a seminar with the theme of “A Teacher that Students Missed” was held in Titian Kaliurang Community Learning Centre. This seminar was presented by Sapta Kurniawati whose mastering psychology studies. This seminar was inspired by some findings related to children who have lack of support and also lack of comfortable place to study for reaching better achievements. It is well acknowledged, that various learning support activities for the children have been given, but children do not grow by themselves without the accompaniment of parents and of course involved educational institutions, so it is important for us to equip children’s supporting parties in reaching their achievements; such as teachers, parents or, guardians.

The purposed for conducting this activity is that the teachers could be able to be counselors for their students—at least, the teachers have a basic capacity for understanding students with various deviant behaviors at school, because until now, there are still so many parents who place all burdens or responsibilities solely on the school. This specified competency must be comprehended in order to achieve these expectations, so that the teacher could be able to create social sensitivity in the social environment related to what is happening at schools.

The activity began with a Focus Group Discussion (FGD), and then it continued to discussing contents about professional commitments and sharing sessions related to teacher findings in the school environment. In the FGD, participants were divided into three groups; each group was accompanied by one facilitator. Then, the FGD groups discussed about things related to the obstacles of the teacher in the school during the learning process, then what has been done by the teacher to overcome these obstacles and finally what obstacles have not been resolved by the teacher.

Then, the discussion continued to a presentation session related to teacher’s professional commitments. In this section, many seminar participants were giving examples of case findings that often occur in the school environment, as well as how they deal with them. Mrs. Kurniawati gave them insights about the solutions; what should be done and what teachers should not do in the school environment. After that, the story sharing session began. Each teacher has their own stories which are not all the same and need to be shared from one to another, in order to carry out the betterment of their profession as a teacher, so that they can learn from one another. For example, there was one teacher who shared about one of her students. The child was heavily influenced by a soap opera about displeasure relationships with parents, and it made the child intends to hurt his parents. After being approached by the teacher, the child gradually improved and apologized for his actions.

Mindfulness was discussed thoroughly in the next session. Teachers were encouraged to be able to accept the circumstances, attitudes, and behavior of students in school. If there’s intimacy and mutual needs grow between all students and teachers, a pleasant learning atmosphere will be created. Finally, the presenter showed a video about teachers being fair and understanding the situation of students. It motivated the teachers in dealing with daily life in the school environment.

This seminar is truly a good start. All parties involved in this activity hope that they will continue to create a comfortable space for students to reach achievements. This is not only done by our teachers, but of course we can also involve parents and students to create a better learning environment in the future. (DAP)

Three Weeks That Empowered Me

January 20th, 2020

It was so humid and blistering outside. Klaten was the hottest place I’ve ever visited in Indonesia—although probably it was caused by the climate change—2019 was the second hottest year in history, according to NASA and NOAA scientists. While carrying a book, I stepped down onto the green grass, bare-foot; the grass covering the Titian’s beautiful garden. There were around twenty teenagers waiting for my presence, all of them seem intrigued, because of course, I was a stranger which was interesting for them. They were all sitting on the grass field, wondering what comes next. Nurul Liza, the coordinator of Community Learning Center at Titian, gave me a warm welcome, and then she let me lead the discussion. “Hello,” I said. I kept my eyes staring at each of them and put on a huge smile. After explaining a bit about myself, I asked them, “Who are you?” Right after that, each of them introduced themselves by telling me their names, homes, and high school names.

There were three boys and the rest were girls, with an approximate age of sixteen years old. Not all of them were Titian scholarship awardees, there were also some teenagers living around the Paseban, Bayat area. On that day, I was excited to give them an insight about socioemotional literacy based on Guy Winch’s bestselling book, ‘Emotional First Aid’. Days before, I tried to summarize and comprehend the first two chapters of the book: Rejection and Loneliness—after realizing that both chapters are so easy for youngsters to relate to. Those teenagers were very eager to ask questions about alternative ways of how they cope with their life, especially aspects that related to rejection and loneliness. Then, I presented them with my opinion and interpretation of the book.

My first excitement increased once they started asking so many unpredictable and detailed questions like, ‘How to prevent prejudice?’ or ‘Is it possible at my age to help a friend solving their personal problems at home?’, and I was really awed by it. I postponed answering one of the questions, because I have not done any research regarding the subject of the question; and a Titian staff, Nisa’u, was impressed because of how I handled it. Nisa’u is one of the alumni of Titian Scholarship Programme who became one of Titian’s staff members. She now focuses on the alumni management of Titian. The feeling was mutual: I was impressed at Nisa’u’s reaction as well, because she showed such a nice and keen gesture by blatantly saying that she learned something from me, and of course, I learned from her and all the teenagers present, too. Since that particular case, I understood that most of Titianers (‘Titianer’ is a word used to describe Titian scholarship recipients) appreciate small things and also learn small things from everyone they meet (I also witnessed similar things in the days after). Nurul Liza, the one who assisted me most with Titian’s literacy programmes, is also a Titian alumni, and now she ignites the light of literacy at Titian Bayat’s library. She has the big responsibility to encourage the kids and teenagers to read more books and she is a book reader herself.

After that day, the reel of activities never stopped. Some of the teenagers were curious about the books I published in the past few years. Then, I agreed to give them sharing sessions about my books and the story of being a writer and also a community founder. We had that particular session twice; one session at a Junior High (SMPN 1 Bayat) inside the Abisatya Library (this library was also reconstructed and developed by Titian Foundation) and one in CLC Titian Bayat. When I conducted a sharing session in SMPN 1 Bayat, I was quite surprised when a teenager sat in the back row owned one of my books and asked me to sign it.

The activities I undertook in Bayat were all spiritually fulfilling. I talked with the teenagers of senior high coming from different schools every day, when I got a chance in the afternoon (when they got back from school) in the Community Learning Centre. They often visit the CLC building to learn, finish their homework, or just hang out with their friends. Happily, I made some new friendships with them; it’s not just because I was a volunteer, it’s because we had built trust between one other to exchange knowledge and build a true friendship. I inevitably felt that they had a strong willingness to develop during my interactions with them.

The Titian scholarship awardees have a regular gathering in every Sunday (that’s why they name it ‘SG’ or ‘Sunday Gathering’, where they could have some new knowledge from various sources presented by the competent staff, volunteers, or guests. I had an opportunity to give three generations of scholarship awardees (around 200 teenagers) some insights about the use of social media. Days later, I and Nurul Liza visited an elementary school and gave a short class about social media for kids. For the pre-school students, with Nurul Liza, we also visited the school and read them interactive books. After spending weeks in Bayat, I also got a chance to visit Titian Kaliurang for just a night. Even though it was a short visit, I feel fortunate that I still had a chance to have a sharing session about the process of becoming a writer and how important literacy is.

Never in my life would I have imagined about how a place in the middle of a village could possibly empower so many people in the community. From my perspective as a volunteer, Titian Bayat is so enriched by lots of intellectual activities. I felt that that my cognitive and creative abilities were used and developed every single day I spent in that place. Once I woke up, I knew that there were lots of new things that I could learn and explore in Titian Bayat, even small things. I am always fascinated when I recall my memories the first time I interacted with those kids and teenagers. Being involved with Titian made me double-highlight the fact that all of us humans are equal; we are all having the same brain capability, we are struggling together in figuring out how to survive life and living life to the fullest. Being a volunteer with Titian taught me to work both with heart and mind, it is somewhat inexplicable; definitely one of the life lessons that more people should try.

Once I got home, I thought I would cry, but apparently not! The reason was obviously because I knew that those kids and teenagers I had met in Bayat and Kaliurang are in good hands—Titian provides a bridge for them to lots of knowledge and opportunities and Titian also ditches the stigma that education is a privilege. Education is for everyone. Well, there should be more places like this! (SL)