When I first met my counterparts way back in Malang, one of the first things they told me about was Dies Natalis, or, our school’s birthday/anniversary. “We would like you to help prepare for when it’s time for our school birthday. Usually our English Club puts on a drama.” Ok, no problem, I thought – though I was a little confused. Who celebrates school birthdays? Turns out that’s quite common here and many schools have a few days of activities to commemorate their institution each year. My school goes above and beyond. We have 7 full days of activity (Monday right through Sunday, no weekend here!) with one last activity the following Saturday evening. And during that time there’s no class, just a variety of competitions and performances from the students…with teachers running the activities, judging, and occasionally participating.
Dies Natalis (also spelled dis natalis?) officially begins tomorrow (Monday) at school but we have been preparing for months. Our English Club will perform a drama, the Indonesian folk tale of Timun Mas and Buto Ijo, directed by yours truly. The kids have been working hard on memorizing their lines, finding costumes, and creating props and scenery. Our big debut (and only showing) will be on Thursday – Happy Indonesian Thanksgiving! We will also have an English language singing competition (“English Idol”) and an English story telling competition for junior high school students. To kick things off, we have a mural painting competition and a school magazine competition (which basically means classes can create posters depicting a theme and the best one wins). Classes also compete for the cleanest classroom award – a brilliant idea, if you ask me. My 11th graders are MESSY. And for my grand finale on Saturday I will be joining one of my classes to dance Gangnam Style on stage in front of the whole school. Dancing is not my forte (understatement), but after hours and hours of practice, I’ve got it down. Check out the video here – we are copying the dance that this flash mob did at Cornell University – though we will be adding a short skit as an introduction before the dance.
Here’s a few photos of the prep…
These students are part of my counterpart’s homeroom class so she is responsible for helping them prepare for Dies Natalis. This is the same class that invited me to join them to dance Gangnam Style and seeing as I am not a homeroom teacher, I’ll be adopting them/rooting for them to win the competitions this week. Here, the students (plus my cp and her kids) and prepping their poster for the school magazine contest.
One of my favorite things about my school is students get the opportunity to paint murals at school every year. These two too-cool-for-school kids are also in Bu Chris’ homeroom class (IPS 2). Note that the mural is not painted yet – the red color is from the red tarp protecting this masterpiece from the rain.
The theme for this year’s mural competition is “character building” which is a frequent theme in Indonesian schools…but I’ll save that for another blog post. Last year’s was Environmental Education so the back of our school is covered with pictures and slogans to encourage students to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Stop Global Warming. This year’s murals will adorn the south parking lot and I’m excited to see students’ interpretations of what is important in one’s character.