Here we are at the closing of 2017. Many moons have passed since Taman Bacaan Pelangi set another home base in Ende, NTT & already we’ve joined forces with 18 elementary school partners to develop child friendly libraries in this eastern part of Flores. Next year, we are going to team up with 18 more elementary schools to complete our 48 child friendly libraries goal. We are both excited & soliticious on finding, sorting & selecting these schools.
School selection is this delicate phase where we as project coordinators pay visits to numerous schools – which databases we’ve gathered with the help of DoE – to see whether or not they are suitable for the project. It requires carefull assessment based on not just the measurable components but more importantly on the immeasurable one, that is the positive energy among the school personels. Positivity is THE main factor that we hope to feel during school selection visit. Often times we come across school that has all of our boxes of criteria ticked, but the positive energy is way too subtle to be felt, hence the trickiness.
Apart from it being tricky, school selection process has lots of fun for us who undertake it. Countless stories were and still are born from it, from funny anecdotes to emotional hearty moments worth sharing to our grandchildren 😀 A former coordinator friend was once mistaken as a door to door Batik seller during his 1st visit to a school in West Manggarai thanks to his formal appearance & thick Javanesse accent. Another coordinator had to struggle her teary eyes upon seeing how committed teachers were to their pupil’s improvement. Sometimes we simply got offered a cup of warm Flores coffee accompanied by even warmer welcome & folklore stories from the faculty as we sit & pitch the project. All of these experiences boil down to one thing. Energy. Energy doesn’t lie & it is our job as project coordinators to sharpen our senses so that we can capture it during school selection.
In determining a list of potential schools we rely on the exuberance that comes in a holistic energy from the individuals. It can be felt coming from the principal, the faculty, and off course from the kids. We can tell a lot simply by observing the dynamic of interactions happening among them. A clear sign of positive school environment is how cheerful & enthusiastic the students are toward unfamiliar faces (in this cae, ours) & how well the teachers are at handling their little burst of excitement. Once we’ve spotted this, we’ll put it above all of other criterion .
That’s all for now about school selection process. Wish us luck & health in acquiring the next 18 potential elementary schools here in Ende to establish another 18 sustainable child friendly libraries together. Cheers to that!