Visiting SMK1 Batam – Sekolah Ibu Mia 

We have been so fortunate that Ibu Mia organised visits to several schools while we were in Batam. With Good Friday also being a holiday here in Indonesia, we had to squeeze our school visits into 2 days which has actually worked out well. 

Our first school visit was to Ibu Mia’s own school where she is one of the English teachers as well  as the first aid officer. SMK 1 Batam has over 100 staff and 1600 students and is situated on a 5 hectare campus. Unfortunately the principal was absent the day we visited and in her place, we were warmly welcomed by 5 of the 6 deputy principals. 

After the obligatory photos in the (absent) principal’s office, where we appreciated her air conditioning, we headed out to the reception area to photograph the official presentation from our school. Our gift was graciously received by one of the deputy principals on behalf of their absent principal. 

Ibu Mia’s school is a ‘SMK’ school, which in SA we used to call a technical high school and now has more in common with the programs offered at TAFE campuses. The pathways available for students at her school include computer, automotive,  engineering, welding, architecture and megatronics. SMK schools pathways vary from school to school just as TAFE programs vary from campus to campus.  

From the 1000 who apply each year to study at SMK1 Batam, only 400 are accepted. It is a highly regarded school for students seeking training in the above courses. 

Ibu Mia invited us to work with 2 classes from her school so that they could experience interacting with native English speakers. Thus, after some deliberation, we decided to use the materials Marg had created for our partner school in Medan, even though Ibu Mia’s students are considerably older. The ‘wheels on the bus’ props were disregarded in favour of ‘Old MacDonald’ which turned out to be hugely popular with 2 of her year 10 & 11 classes. 

I was able to incorporate some TPRS circling questions which was very exciting. They responded so well which was encouraging………   Is Budi a cow? No Budi is not a cow! Is Budi a cow or a mouse? Yes, Budi is a mouse!! For this reason, we disregarded the dog prop!! Didn’t want to upset anyone by suggesting they were a dog!! I also used Jason Fritze’s idea of a rhyme like eenie, meenie, minnie, mo to select volunteers when necessary! Worked beautifully!! 

Ibu Mia then played a game where the students sang the song together and then had to guess which animal Ibu Mia was going to sing about next. Anyone who called out the incorrect answer copped a penalty. They had to sing an Indonesian children’s song in front of the whole class. Before the lesson, I had mentioned to Ibu Mia my hope to video students singing this song, so it was a clever way to achieve this!! Two students, even though very embarrassed, sang beautifully with the rest of the class joining in the chorus. 

The next class offered to sing for us in appreciation of us spending time in their class and asked for our requests. I happily requested 2 songs; firstly the song my year 6/7 students are studying at the moment: Lupa, Lupa, Ingat and then secondly ‘Aku punya anjing Kecil’. Jeffery lead the singing with the latter and did a beautiful job even though it’s no doubt been a long while since he last sang it!! Stay tuned for the video!! My plan is to collect various people singing the song throughout this trip and slice them up to create one video. 

After visiting these classes, we were taken out for lunch to a kelong restaurant which was located after the 4th bridge past the Barelang Bridge (see previous post).  The restaurant is called a kelong, and like the kelong we photographed on Bintan, floats above the sea yet is much lower to the surface of the water and obviously is a restaurant and not a fishing vessel! This kelong also rested upon enormous plastic barrels and was connected to a building (the reception) that was anchored to the ground with concrete pylons. Around the edge of the platform where customers sat to eat were several enormous ponds with their frames made from PVC and covered in netting. Each pond contained a different type of seafood from which you could choose either prawns, squid, shell fish, crabs or fish. Following Ibu Mia around while she chose what she wanted, was a young lad carrying a stack of buckets and a fishing net on a pole (think butterfly net size). Once a choice was made, he dipped his net into the water, caught the required amount and placed them into their own bucket to keep everything separated. Then the buckets were stacked inside each other to keep those that could, from escaping. 

In the very centre of the restaurant was a larger pond in which were several enormous fish (see above). There were some in this pond that looked remarkably like ugly puffer fish!! There was also a long stripped snook looking fish and a humongous barramundi shaped fish that would win any fishing competition!! All were deemed too large for eating. 

Once we’d finished choosing the seafood, we sat at our table enjoying the cool breezes and es kepala mudah (coconut water with ice) which was delivered in an enormous green esky from which we served ourselves using a ladle. The ice was delivered on the side for those of us who can tolerate icy cold drinks. 

Our dishes were carried out to our table by waitresses as they were cooked. Altogether they made a colourful display. There were ginger/chilli prawns, chilli crab, steamed fish with ginger, capcay and kai-lan in kecap manis.

A huge thankyou to to Pak Hudawi, who drove us out to the kelong and then paid for our lunch. We are especially grateful considering that he had eaten earlier and wasn’t all that hungry! 

Thankyou so much to the staff and students of SMKN 1 Batam for your enthusiastic and warm welcome. And an even bigger thankyou to the amazing and entertaining Ibu Mia for making it possible. It was truly a memorable day.  


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