Leaving Traces

An Exchange Student Teacher Experience in
Great Crystal School and Course Center, Surabaya, Indonesia

by Tracy Ruth H. Leal

School: General Information and Academic Administration


Great Crystal School and Course Center

Great Crystal School and Course Center is comprehensive education pathway that provides highest standard of education, International and National recognized academic programs from Preschool, Primary, Secondary and Junior College. It is accredited by Ministry of Education and Culture, one of the Satuan Pendidikan Kerjasama (SPK) and CAMBRIDGE Assessment International Education School in Surabaya.  The school offers a Collaboration Curriculum (National and Cambridge) and endless opportunities for all students to achieve excellence in academic, creative, social, cultural, sports and community endeavors.

Great Crystal School and Course Center is guided by:

With Graciousness, Confidence, Success and Perfectionas our school motto, we aim to give our students the best quality and the highest standard in education. This is achieved by offering our pupils a comprehensive education from Toddler – K12; educating the youths of the world to take their productive place as leaders in the global community.



To provide a learner-centered school environment which nurtures and brings out the best in every student.

Menyediakan Lembaga Pendidikan di dalam lingkungan Selokah yang dapat mengasuh dan membimbing murid menjadi yang terbaik.


To provide a multi-cultural environment for our students in which to foster:

-Academic success

-Personal Growth

-Social Responsibility

-Global Action

-Lifelong Learning

            Memberikan keanekaragaman lingkungan bagi murid yang bertujuan membantu perkembangan murid, diantaranya:

-Keberhasilan Akademik/Pendidikan

-Pertumbuhan Kepribadian

-Tanggung jawab terhadap lingkungan Masyarakat

-Tindakan/ tingkah laku yang universal

-Pembelajaran yang terus menerus

The school values collaborative learning, positive relationships and building capacity amongst students to effectively allow them to engage in the world of the future, where problem solving, evaluating, working in teams, communicating, creating and innovating are not only valued concepts, but expected skills, attributes and capabilities.

Great Crystal School,founded in 2004, is Fully Licensed by the Indonesian Government as an SPK (Satuan Pendidikan Kerjasama).


            Great Crystal School and Course Center was founded in 2004 in an influential residential area in Surabaya. The school aims to serve the community by providing quality education and opportunities for our students to achieve proficiency level in English that will enable them to seek admission school or universities.

The Major of Surabaya, Mr. Bambang D.H, officially “Cut the Ribbon” on March 5, 2005. Recognized by and registered with the Dinas Pendidikan Surabaya, Great Crystal School is a center of the University of Cambridge local examinations syndicate in both sets of exams. The highest standard in education with high affordability – That’s the Great Crystal School Promise.

Source: http://www.great.sch.id

Pedagogical Contents

As a school accredited by the Ministry of Education and Culture and Cambridge Assessment International Education School, Great Crystal School and Course Center offers a Collaborative curriculum (National and Cambridge).

Effective teaching methods, enough learning materials and innovation as well as sources of learning and technology and authentic assessment make up a good quality education produce. These provide the learners the necessary competencies and skills to fit in the global stage.



1 – 5 years old

We believe that children learn best when they’re truly engaged. Through a Montessori inspired approach and a focus on inquiry and self-guided learning, students ask questions, investigate, and learn about things that genuinely matter to them. There is exibility in our daily schedule, offering our children time to be curious, to play, to wonder, to learn.


Ages of 6 and up

Our system aims to provide students with a holistic and broad-based education. Given the multi-cultural characteristics of Indonesia, the bilingual policy is a key feature of the Great Crystal School and Course Center system. Under the bilingual policy, every student learns English which is the common working language. Students also learn Chinese to help them for face global networking.


Middle School/Junior Highschool

A key component of the Secondary level is the advisory program. This small group of students meets at the start of every school day with the Class Teacher, encouraging a sense of community among classmates and a close mentoring relationship between the student and at least one adult in the school.


Support Their Dreams!

Every Junior College’s student belongs to a small advisory group, and has a class teacher who mentors them, helps them track their progress, set goals, discuss and solve learning issues, and build on their capacities to take responsibility for their learning


Great Crystal School and Course Center offers a General Certification Examination (GCE) ordinary (“O”) level. GCE “O” level is offered for Secondary 3 and 4 students or students who are between 14 to 16 years old. GCE “O” level is recognized globally and its qualification is acknowledged worldwide. “O” level is also useful for students who want to continue their study overseas such as in The United Kingdom, America, Canada, Australia or Singapore. “O” level provides a system certification of the knowledge and achievement the student has reached.

Cambridge is committed to encouraging positive educational experiences by providing qualification and services that are relevant, accurate, reliable, affordable and internationally recognized. Cambridge qualifications are designed for all and are available for a wide range of abilities and age groups.

Cambridge International Examination (CIE)

CIE is one of the world’s leading providers of international assessments. CIE is part of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). CIE has a comprehensive provision which supports educational programs in Primary and Secondary schools and also the teachers and administrators in those institutions.

Examination Subject

Students usually follow several subjects depending on their requirements, interests and abilities. Students intending to continue their study overseas are strongly recommended to take a minimum of five examination subjects.


Every stage of learning is equally important. Learning embraces both explicit instructions and student-centered approaches. Hence for an effective learning, it is important for educators to understand the needs of each student. The school uses both national (KTSP and K13) and international curriculum (Singapore and Cambridge International Examination) for different stages of education.

There is an emphasis on how teaching relates to the child, with the explicit instruction approach to Literacy and Numeracy in the Preschool and Kindergarten level, supplemented with a thinking and problem solving pedagogy; a specific approach to learning needs in the Primary Level, emphasizing deeper understanding and higher level learning outcomes; and unique programs for the Secondary and Junior College. These are all directed at creating the resilient, independent learner.


Information and Communication Technology skills are developed progressively from the Preschool until Junior College. Students will learn about design, animation, e-learning and office skills. The introduction of Programming is designed to provide students with the latest technology to enhance their learning engagement and academic outcomes.

Sport and Physical Education

Health and Physical Education are part of the curriculum at Great Crystal School and Course Center. It offers sport programs for Swimming, Futsal, Badminton, Kyukushinkai, Table Tennis and Basket Ball. We also conduct weekly gymnastic for all students and teachers.


Great Crystal School and Course Center provides a safe and supportive learning environment and a Pastoral Care program appropriate for each stage of schooling. Each student is under the guidance of a class teacher, discipline teacher and Head of teachers. There is also a Health and Well-Being program from Preparatory to Primary and Secondary and a Personal Development program at Preschool – Junior College.


Leadership development is part of the program for all students, and leadership training is provided for those who take advantage of the vast opportunities for leadership provided at Great Crystal School and Course Center.  Leadership opportunities are available at all levels of schooling and all students are encouraged to participate.

Extra Curricular Activities (ECA)

The school offers ECA to all students to develop their skills and talents.They are invited to participate in Robotic, Kyokushinkai, English, Chinese, Cooking, Dance, Robotic, Pantomime, Futsal, Drawing and others activities.

Source: http://www.great.sch.id

Observation on Teacher in the Classroom

            Every job immersion starts with a general orientation of the what’s and how’s in the field. Upon our first visit in Great Crystal School and Course Center, together with Ma’am Evangelista Palupi, Mathematics Mentor from UNESA, we were greeted by the warm and welcoming ambiance of the school. This is coupled with the very accommodating school head, Mr. Mifta Churohman.

            Mr. Mifta gave us enough background of what Great Crystal School is. He also discussed to us the overview of our student teaching experience hence, the referral to my cooperating teacher, Mr. Ahmad Mizan Ghofuri.

In Great Crystal School and Course Center, the teachers are required to submit their Lesson Plans intended for the whole semester. The plan is in tabular form which  includes the month or date, the topic to be taught, the learning objectives, the teaching procedure, the method of teaching, its assessment and as well as the references or resources.

Below is an example of a plan for Primary 5 on their second semester this school year. This served as a benchmark for me to write my lesson plan.

During my observation and assisting week, I have noticed how the plans for the lesson materialize in class. The procedures run smoothly with the aid of the course books and activity books of the learners. In another class, Secondary 1 for instance, my cooperating teacher makes use of real-life activities on which the students gets to experience data gathering on a first hand basis and the data collected will be used in the deepening and valuing of the lesson. On the other hand, in the Secondary 4 class, Mr. Mizan uses mathematical measuring instruments for class discussions. These are protractors, rulers, compass etc. which aid in the students understanding and appreciation of geometry. As for the students’ assessment and evaluation, they are monitored based on their daily performance in class.

Teaching Plan

As a student taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Mathematics, my plan is always to become systematic in the teaching-learning experience. Hence, devising a step by step strategy is but necessary.

Luckily, I had the chance to introduce myself in front of the students during the flag ceremony. It gave me an opportunity to somehow establish an authority that would give them the idea that I came as a student-teacher intern.

In my one week of observation and assisting period, I was able to connect with my students thus allowing me to identify which teaching strategy suits them. It was a bit of a challenge for a Secondary Education major to handle a number of Primary students but the experience taught me how to adjust and become flexible in such circumstance.

Teaching Practice

As per the schedule given to us, we started off with a week of class observation and assisting. Prior to my actual teachings, the school head provided me my class schedule and a sample lesson plan to study. Also, my cooperating teacher gave me learning resources such as books to help me in my teachings. I am required to submit my lesson plan before each teaching schedule so that we may be able to discuss the parts of the lesson for revision if any.

            It is a bit of a challenge to handle three different classes; Primary 5, Secondary 1 and Secondary 4.

For my Primary 5 class, I had sixteen young kids to teach. They are very active and playful hence, catching their attention is indeed challenging. In this case, I made use of commands like the “Eyes on me, eyes on you”. This is really effective to get their attention to focus on me as the teacher for them to follow my instructions.

For my Secondary 1 class, I had six students, all having varied characteristics and learning abilities. I had to really take into consideration each one of them to catch the phasing of learning as a class since there are fast learners and slow learners.

Lastly, for my Secondary 4 class, I only had two students; the challenge is to keep their motivation and engagement in learning the lessons. So, I used video clips to aid in the teaching-learning process.

In teaching, many problems will arise for teaching is never an easy job. But, with proper time management for the organization of the lesson and good classroom management skills, I was able to juggle the task easily. 

Classroom observation in Secondary 4 class.



            January 29, 2019 marked my demonstration teaching evaluation day. The intended lesson for my Secondary 1 class is Reverse Percentage.             I started the class with the routine activities and then followed by a video presentation that arouses the students’ value of teamwork and cooperation. After that, we had a simple recall of the previous lesson to activate their prior knowledge for the discussion. We discussed the key concepts on Reverse Percentage and then divided the class into two groups each having a problem to work on. After giving the students ample time to answer each problem, they shared to the class their answers. At the end of the period, the students were also able to wrap up what they learned in class.

            Overall, the demonstration teaching was a success based on the positive feedbacks that I got from Mr. Mizan, Miss Evangelista and Mr. Mifta. Also, they gave me pieces of advices that would help me grow into a more effective teacher in the field. 




Summary and Suggestions

Purposes of practicum

The SEA Teacher Project or the “Pre-Service Student Teacher Exchange in Southeast Asia” is a project that aims to provide opportunity for pre-service student teachers from universities in Southeast Asia to have teaching experiences (practicum) in schools in other countries in Southeast Asia.

Objectives of the Project

  1. To enable pre-service student teachers to develop their teaching skills and pedagogy
  2. To encourage the pre-service student teachers to practice their English skills
  3. To allow the pre-service student teachers to gain a broader regional and world view
  4. To expose future teachers to diverse teaching and learning situations and opportunities, and the value of flexibility.

Procedures of practicum

As a student teacher participant in the SEA Teacher Project, I went through a four-step procedure that includes the orientation and classroom observation, teaching assistant, actual teaching in the classroom and evaluation and finally the reflection part.

Outcomes of practicum

The SEA Teacher Project contributed much on my growth not only as a teacher but also as an individual. It helped me boost my confidence in teaching, developed my communication skills especially in dealing with people across cultures and made me become a more flexible teacher since I was exposed into a diverse teaching and learnin situation.

The challenges of practicum

Adapting a different culture can be considered as a challenge in my practicum. But, through the help of our buddies, teachers and coordinators; I was able to conquer it. It is actually a blessing to have a first-hand experience of another culture which resulted to a deeper appreciation of diversity.

Overall impression

All in all, my SEA Teacher Project experience is a success. I was able to meet the targeted objectives set by the program which rekindled a bigger flame for my passion for teaching and love for culture and diversity among Southeast Asian countries.

Suggestions for future improvement

My only suggestion for this project is a longer duration of the teaching practicum. I believe that it will be more successful if student teachers are given more time to share their teaching skills to the school and the school in return will help the student teachers grow into a more effective teacher.

Exploring Indonesia

National Monument

Tunjungan Plaza

            We went to the oldest and largest mall in Surabaya, Tunjungan Plaza.

Soroboyo Bus

            We experienced riding the famous Soroboyo bus wherein we prepared plastic bottles as payment for the city trip. It is a great way to accumulate plastic bottle trashes, indeed eco-friendly!

Surabaya Zoo (Bonbin)

            We woke up early to get tickets for the largest and most complete zoo in Southeast Asia and took photos in front of Surabaya’s iconic “Shark and Crocodile” plus we tried the elephant ride!

Grand Pakuwon Food Junction

Great friends, great place, great food, what else can I ask for?

House of Sampoerna

The House of Sampoerna is literally to perfection!

Hutan Mangrove Surabaya

In one with nature while visiting Hutan Mangrove

Masjid Al-Akbar Surabaya

First-ever mosque visit and it is in the second largest mosque in Indonesia.


Sendang Puncak Wangi

Unplanned trip to our dear friend Putri’s hometown plus having a breath-taking sight of Lamongan.

Kwan Sing Bio

            Strolled around the largest Chinese Temple in Southeast Asia, Kwan Sing Bio!

Pantai Kelapa

Stories in the wind, secrets in the sand.

Farewell Ceremony

I wore a modern Filipiniana for the SEA Teacher Project Farewell Ceremony.