Hello friends and family!
I apologize for not posting an update for so long! A lot has happened in the last year and a half!
I believe the last you heard from me, I was heading back to Indonesia for the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The beginning of that school year was pretty normal, but we did have some staffing incidents that meant we had to let two staff members go mid-school year. One of my good friends here also lost her brother in October of that year.
Despite a lot of sad incidents, we did have a lot of blessings in the fall of 2019. Our guy's soccer and basketball teams took home the championship trophies at our Indonesian International Small School Athletic Competitions and my basketball girls won more than 1 game (we won 4 out of the 7) at our final athletic tournament! We put on an epic performance of broadway's Cinderella (in which I was heavily involved - making over 40 costumes and building/painting tons of sets).
The performance of Cinderella marked the last large gathering on the BAIS campus. In March of 2020, we closed our doors and commenced with online school. I taught from home and tried my best to shepherd my 3 AP students through the process of submitting their AP portfolios online. Everyone expected the quarantine to stop, so we operated on a week by week basis. This made it incredibly hard to establish any sort of routines or rhythms.
Somehow we all limped across the finish line to summer. I made the extremely hard decision to stay in Indonesia for the summer because the prospect of traveling seemed too complicated. I spent the summer mostly in Kota Baru, but I was able to escape to the beach a few times. When domestic tourism opened up in Bali, a few friends and I went for a visit. It was truly sad to see what the lack of tourism does to a tourism-driven economy. Suffice to say, everyone was very happy to see us. Another highlight from the summer was playing Spikeball.
Our school year started at the end of August (we pushed it as far as possible in the hopes that we would be able to open up in person). Alas, we were not given permission to teach in person, but our administration required the teaching staff to be on campus to promote professionalism. I was very thankful for this requirement because it forced me to have some separation between work and home life.
And so began the teaching online. This year felt different than the end of last year because we were in it for the long haul. We had to establish routines instead of simply operate to survive. I learned a lot of new technology skills and I tried my best to create an engaging and interactive virtual classroom environment. Most of my lesson plans have been digitized with detailed video instructions, so I guess that is one good thing that has come out of this whole mess. I also introduced my 8th grade computer class to the wonderful world of spreadsheets and building apps.
Throughout the semester of teaching online, we tried our best to find fun things to do that didn't require being around a whole lot of people. I got to take a little get-a-way trip with Paul, Jennie, and baby Kyla (my newest niece) to a beach town about 5 hours away from where I live. Then, a group of ladies went up into the mountains to stay on a clove plantation for the weekend. We took an epic hike through the jungle to find a 100 meter high waterfall. For Thanksgiving break a few BAIS families drove to Yogyakarta (8 hour drive) for some much needed RnR.