Abnormal Days in Teaching: Arts Fest Edition

Most days as a teacher are very similar.  The students come to class.  They learn (or don’t learn).  They leave class.  Rinse and repeat.  There are days with more drama, days with discipline issues, days with evacuation drills and days when I hang out with 13 year-old-girls after school, simply because they have time to waste and they want to waste it in my room.  Regardless, most days are very similar to one another.

However, two weeks ago marked the beginning of Term 4, a set of ten weeks in which all but two have some sort of religious or political holiday that prevents the week from running normally.  (This, if you remember, is part of my work-hard-play-hard strategy:  Work extra hard on the normal days and weekends, but do absolutely no work on the special mid-week days off.  This past week, we got Wednesday off for the presidential primary elections.  I did nothing but read a book and go to hot yoga, both which were fantastic ways to break out of the normal routines of being a first year teacher.)

Two Fridays ago was Arts Fest: one of the most unusual (and fun!) days of my year.  Asia is big on festival days, and Indonesia is no exception.  While an American elementary school may have a Track and Field day once a year, here in Indonesia my school has had Sports Day, Math Week, Science Week, Reading Day, and now Arts Fest. At first I thought the day was going to be low key, but my expectations were quickly shattered.  Student artwork was hung on an elaborate set, being showcased in a labyrinth of professionally set up displays.  On multiple floors of the school, vendors were selling all sorts of food: sate, dim sum, noodles, juice, bubble tea…On stage, students showcased their ethnic backgrounds with cultural dances.  Later, students competed in a Talent Show, with acts ranging from Grade 1 students doing a hula hoop dance, to a boy doing karate and a student band.  Pianos were played, songs were sung, and, best of all, it was a whole school event!

I never realized how fun an all school event could be:  my memories of the entire student body gathering focus mostly on the pep rallies  of my high school days, which were not exactly events I want to highlight in my memory.  This was a totally different experience.  It was energetic.  It was fun.  There were parents, teachers, and kids from kindergarten all the way through Grade 12.  The students were enthusiastic about supporting their classmates during the cultural performance and talent show.

All in all, the event not only showcased all of the talent and culture out students bring to our school, but it also really highlighted one of the things I love about working at my current school: we are a community.

*** Photos are purposefully not of student faces, since I don’t feel comfortable posting images of my students online.  I know you just thought I was a terrible photographer, which cannot be denied, but come on– I’m not that bad!


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