Teacher’s Dedication to Increase Early-Grade Students Literacy Skills in Central Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara

Hot and dry are two words that describe the environment of Mananga Islamic Elementary School, located in Mamboro, Central Sumba District. The school is located not very far from the Mamboro Beach which makes the temperature in the school environment as well as the nearby houses can reach 38ºC.

This is where Sitti Rugeyah dedicates her time and energy to teach her students, increasing the interest and reading ability of her early grade students. This first-grade teacher does not hesitate to spend time outside of school hours to help her students learn to read. Her house is often visited by students to get extra lessons. Not infrequently, she also visited student’s house which she considered need extra guidance. Sometimes, if there is a student who does not go to school, she will also come to the student’s house and talk to the parents.

“As a teacher, we need to build good relationship with the parents so that we know about each students and their progress at home. Through that approach, I feel that I can provide students with what they really need in the classroom. The open dialogue between teachers and parents is effective and can contribute to their children’s success,” said Sitti Rugeyah, a teacher who has served for 24 years teaching at the Mananga Islamic Elementary School.

She underlines the fact that role of education cannot be carried out by schools alone. Parents also need to be involved as they play a very crucial role for children’s learning abilities at school.

“My assessment is based on my observations so far,” Rugeyah said. According to her, there are still parents who pay less attention to children’s health and safety. Several times she heard about students who did not return home after school and slept elsewhere at night. There are also parents who need their children to help at work. “Although children are very enthusiastic to help their parents, but if done excessively, it will certainly have an impact on children’s learning process,” she added.

Rugeyah’s observations made her even more excited to help her students. She was very grateful to learn that her school was chosen to be one of the schools to receive program assistance from INOVASI through the Child Friendly Library program in collaboration with the Taman Bacaan Pelangi (TBP).

INOVASI works together in partnership with Taman Bacaan Pelangito provide quality book access for children in Sumba. The Mananga Islamic Elementary School Library in Central Sumba is the 111th library that Taman Bacaan Pelangi presents in Eastern Indonesia.

“Previously, the library at school only had a small collection of books and that was not suitable for elementary school children, especially grade 1 students, because the language and topic were too high. In addition, the teachers do not fully understand the classification of books according to students’ abilities so that the assistance they do is not yet optimal, ” said Rugeyah.

Currently, the old library building has been renovated and inaugurated on April 9, 2019. A collection of kid-friendly books has already filled the shelves in the library. In addition to building and book collections, TBP also provides training to library staff and teachers. The training covers library management, book selection, administration, and how to care for books.

The existence of the library has succeeded in increasing students’ interest in reading. The principal of Mananga Islamic Elementary School, Muhamad Subhan Satirando, acknowledged that students are now much more eager to read.

“Before the library was renovated, there were no students who wanted to go to the library, even though they were told to. Now the children are even happily visit school even though it is closed.”

Subhan’s face looked very happy as he told the story.

Now, the library is open for visits every Monday to Friday. While Saturday is only open for returning books that has been borrowed.

Teacher’s Dedication to Increase Early-Grade Students Literacy Skills in Central Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara