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August 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

When I Taught English

Antonina Suryantari is a freelance English instructor who currently teaches in various institutions in Yogyakarta where meets students from all across Indonesia. Antonina is interested in the issues of World Englishes and local wisdoms in English language teaching.


When I taught English,

I insisted that my students should sound English.

When I taught English,

I forced my students to understand texts about foreign matters written English.

When I taught English,

I told my students foreign places

like New York and Sidney and also London where people sound so British.

When I taught English,

my students perfectly spoke and wrote English was what I wish.



I saw students from all corners of this country.

We read about London and Sidney,

and they told the class about their hometown reluctantly.

“My hometown has nothing, Miss.”

“It is small and full of trees.”

“We have no shopping malls.”


And I felt guilty,

for I made them feel small and unworthy,

by reading about foreign cities so flashy and busy.


English should not be intimidating.

It should be empowering.


So now, when I teach English,

we talk about Indonesia’s rivers, mountains, birds and fish.

When I teach English,

I don’t get annoyed when they don’t sound American or British.

When I teach English,

I tell them how they can tell a story and wish

about their beautiful hometown and its beach

about their unique cultures which are so rich.

When I teach English,

I hope that their love of their cultures can flourish.

One day,

I hope

They will tell the world how great Indonesia is.

Tagged  Poems 
  • The Sweet Smell of My Teaching Reflection
    Singgih Widodo Limantoro, Indonesia

  • When I Taught English
    Antonina Y.D Suryantari, Indonesia

  • Sandwich: for ESP teachers
    Arnis Silvia, Indonesia

  • Thoughts in Verse
    A. Effendi Kadarisman, Indonesia