Sunday, 18 October 2015

Pak Marcus (EF #29)

I am now 33 years old (owww that's a lot of numbers :P ) and there has been so many people I've known and met in my life and surely some of them took a part in changing me into what I am today. One of them is the one whose name I made the title of this post. 

He was my English teacher when I took an English course twice a week in YPIA Surabaya when I was in my first year of senior high. I still remember, during my years in junior high school I didn't have a good understanding of English and sometimes I even cried because I couldn't do my English lesson homework (I do still remember these moments!). So when I graduated from junior high school, my mom sent me to an English course, where Pak Marcus became my first teacher. 

Although my English competency was boosting fast after I was taught by him, at first I didn't think or realise that he was a very good teacher. Until he got promoted and was replaced by another teacher. That was when I was not happy with the new teacher, and then I started thinking what made him different with this new teacher, or my other English teachers at school. So these are some things that he did that I think really helped me boost my English:

1. He teached mostly in English (only used Bahasa Indonesia when it's really needed)
Yes, he rarely spoke in Bahasa Indonesia when he's teaching. If the students didn't understand, he tried to explain it using simpler words, but still in English. When we still didn't understand, then he would use Bahasa Indonesia, which didn't happen very often. I believe this is one key to successful foreign language learning: we have to be forced to think and speak in that language. 

This is how my book looked like.
2 years being taught by Pak Marcus, I always had notes filling the page like this. (Thanks to my mother who took this pic :D as I requested last week :D),

2. He explained the meaning of difficult / new words using English, not Bahasa Indonesia
As you can see in the picture of my English course book above, I made notes of some words meanings in English. For example, I made note "to sneak into = to go quietly / secretly into" or "to plop down = to fall with a plop = menjatuhkan diri". Like I wrote in no. 1, this habit of always trying to use English to explain something really help us learn faster and better. 

I can ensure you about these habits no. 1 and 2 because I also experienced this during my German language course. I had been taught by some different teachers and I learned better and faster when they taught and spoke mostly in German (instead of Bahasa Indonesia or English). This also inspired me to always buy English-English dictionary instead of English-Indonesia dictionary, and to check the meaning of a difficult word in English, instead of in Bahasa Indonesia.

3. He was always being consistent (in teaching), no matter how many student attended the lesson
One thing I remembered the most during my course with Pak Marcus was, he always started the class on time, even if there was only me at that time. I think it was a very good habit because when the other students came late and missed some lessons, they would not want to come late again next time. I remember few times when it was raining there were only one or two students for about half an hour before other students started arriving. But still, he would teach the lesson as usual. 

Some of the other teachers I had was doing the opposite. When the class was supposed to start and there were only very few students, they gave us some worksheets or some reading materials to read while we waited for the other students to come. Then after some more students came (usually after half an hour), the lesson started. Sometimes also during a heavy rain when most of the students didn't come, we had the whole course for only doing the worksheets and reading some texts, without any lesson. It was a bit disappointing for me because I felt as if the teacher thought about the one who didn't come to the class, but they didn't think about us who did come to the class. Well, maybe the teachers had some other considerations, but at least that's what I felt as a student, hehe...

There are actually other language teachers who are my favourites. But because pak Marcus was the first one who brought me from someone who cried because of English homework to someone who became really confident in English in just two years, this post is mainly about him hehe... If you happen to know him, please say my hello to him! :) Thank you!


  1. He was my first teacher at YPIA when the building was still located at Jalan Kartini. And then, years after, he became my supervisor for 3 years when I became teacher at YPIA :)

    1. Hooraaayyy!!! mari kita selametan, ndutyke bisa komen lagi di sini!
      Btw, so you took English course earlier than me?

    2. I started as soon as I can. Kelas 1 SMA.

  2. O dear, you actually asked your mother to take picture of your waaay-long-ago english book?? Hhmm, pretty authentic though! Hahaha! Anyway, it's wonderful to know how big Pak Marcus' dedication is...that he put the effort to teach no matter how few the students were. And yup, you got your point there when you said that it's the present students that matters and not the other way around! (PS: i'm commenting your post as distraction to my work here! Hahaha)