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Woman beats all odds to become a great teacher

Update: April, 02/2016 - 09:00
Meaningful: For Kieu Thi Anh Thuyet, helping the students study every day is the most precious gift that life has given her. — Photo doisongphapluat.com

Some people are born to be very short.

It is often not nice for such people to feel they are different from other people.

One such person was not able to become a teacher because of her height.

However, she did not allow that to be a problem and started helping children with their schoolwork.

This has now made her into a very good teacher.

Minh Trang and Nguyen Thao report.

Being just 1.1m tall, anyone will find it difficult to lead a normal life, but Kieu Thi Anh Thuyet, from the northern province of Vinh Phuc, has done just that.

For over 10 years, Thuyet, also known as "small teacher" has scripted a fairy tale while organising a free class for poor children in her homeland.

Every Saturday and Sunday, the students eagerly go to Thuyet’s class which is also her family’s simple wooden house in Cao Phong commune, Song Lo District to listen to her unique lectures.

Thuyet, 34, is the youngest in a family of eight brothers and sisters, but she is at a disadvantage when compared with them because of her congenital dwarfism. While her friends gradually grew bigger and taller, she stopped growing when she reached 1.1m. Every day when Thuyet went to school, she developed an inferiority complex about her situation.

She began to think she was useless, but whenever she saw other unfortunate humans, she attempted to live her life well and tried to become a more useful person.

"I am luckier than most people. Although the creator did not give me a body like normal people, it gave me a happy family." Thuyet said.

With the determination to change her life by way of education, she was always among the top in the class notching up credible achievements.

During three years of high school, on the nearly 10km road, walking to school despite the bad weather, she never gave up on her dream to enter a university.

But her dreams did not come true in the absence of half a point in the aggregate.

Overcome by sadness at her failure, Thuyet decided to apply again to the Vinh Phuc School of Culture and Art in the hope of finding a stable job.

After graduating with good grades, she happily returned home to write out her job application. The difficulties, however, remained. She applied for work in numerous schools, but was rejected by them all because of her height.

"After finishing my studies, I did not get a job. Moreover, I was not confident about my body to become a teacher, so I decided to stay at home with my parents," Thuyet said.

In 2005, she found her siblings’ children were poor in academics and suggested to the family that she could tutor them because she had a lot of free time and wanted to do something useful.

Her class finally opened at her own small house with 7 students. Unlike in school, her class has no chalk and black board, as she can only go to the desk of each student.

The children who come there to learn are of different ages and from varying circumstances. Because of those differences, her lectures and assignments are not the same for all. Thuyet reviews the lessons of the weak students which they have done in school. Those who are good are taught by her to solve the advanced exercises.

Her teaching philosophy is to always make them comfortable. The openness between a teacher and student makes them understand the lessons faster.

"Initially, when teaching them, I was like a fish out of water. It was difficult for me to help them acquire knowledge because I did not specialise in pedagogy and lacked teaching skills."

Therefore, she usually notes down anything she finds useful, watches sample teaching lessons on the Internet as well as gains experience from her own classes.

She used to feel worried that the students would not obey her and ridicule her appearance, but all of them were very docile and obedient.

She said that the children living in the countryside lack parental upbringing and care, so she teaches them not only knowledge but also morals and lifestyle.

After some time, seeing the progress of the children, some of other poor people in the village decided to take their children to Thuyet’s class. The number of students gradually grew, and sometimes reached 30. At the moment, there are nearly 20 children between the ages of 8 and 12 in her class.

The special thing is though she does not have a job and is still dependent on her old parents, the students who attend her classes do not have to pay any fees.

"This is because they are too poor, but are fond of studying. Moreover, I teach them as a passion to satisfy my unfinished dream," Thuyet said.

Her eyes brighten when told that she has a few benefactors who are building a library in her village for students to access and enhance knowledge as well as read books freely.

Thanks to her, many students with weak learning skills matured into better students at school and attended many district and provincial contests. Khong Thi Phuong Ly, grade 4, won the first prize in the district excellent student competition, and Kieu Manh Hoang, grade 5, won the third one in the provincial excellent student contest.

She has no children, but her small house is always full of laughter of studious children whom she loves and teaches like her own. For her, watching them grow and helping them study every day are the most precious gift that life has given her. — VNS

GLOSSARY
 

For over 10 years, Thuyet, also known as "small teacher" has scripted a fairy tale while organising a free class for poor children in her homeland.

To script a fairy tale means to write a fairy tale.

Every Saturday and Sunday, the students eagerly go to Thuyet’s class which is also her family’s simple wooden house in Cao Phong commune, Song Lo District to listen to her unique lectures.

Lectures are lessons.

Unique lectures are lectures that are different to any other lectures.

Thuyet, 34, is the youngest in a family of eight brothers and sisters, but she is at a disadvantage when compared with them because of her congenital dwarfism.

If you are at a disadvantage, things are against you.

Congenial means pleasant.

Dwarfism means not growing to the normal height an adult would grow to.

While her friends gradually grew bigger and taller, she stopped growing when she reached 1.1m. Every day when Thuyet went to school, she developed an inferiority complex about her situation.

People who have inferiority complexes think, for some reason, that they are not as worthy as other people.

She began to think she was useless, but whenever she saw other unfortunate humans, she attempted to live her life well and tried to become a more useful person.

Unfortunate humans are people who are unlucky for some reason.

With the determination to change her life by way of education, she was always among the top in the class notching up credible achievements.

Determination means having the attitude to achieve something, no matter what is in the way.

Notching up credible achievements means winning lots of praise and awards.

But her dreams did not come true in the absence of half a point in the aggregate.

Being in the absence of half a point in the aggregate means being without a few points in the aggregate.

Aggregate  is the total number of points scored by a candidate in an exam or a test.

Overcome by sadness at her failure, Thuyet decided to apply again to the Vinh Phuc School of Culture and Art in the hope of finding a stable job.

A stable job is one that you keep and do not lose because the company, or organisation closes down or shrinks.

After graduating with good grades, she happily returned home to write out her job application. The difficulties, however, remained.

To graduate means to pass a course, usually at a college or a university.

She applied for work in numerous schools, but was rejected by them all because of her height.

Numerous means many.

To be rejected means to not be wanted.

"Moreover, I was not confident about my body to become a teacher, so I decided to stay at home with my parents," Thuyet said.

To be confident means to believe in yourself.

In 2005, she found her siblings’ children were poor in academics and suggested to the family that she could tutor them because she had a lot of free time and wanted to do something useful.

Your siblings are your brothers and sisters.

Academics means learning at school.

To tutor someone means to help them with their studies.

The children who come there to learn are of different ages and from varying circumstances.

Varying circumstances means different backgrounds and situations.

Because of those differences, her lectures and assignments are not the same for all.

Assignments are projects.

Thuyet reviews the lessons of the weak students which they have done in school.

To review a lessons means to take a careful look at the lessons.

Those who are good are taught by her to solve the advanced exercises.

To solve the advanced exercises means to work out the answers to the difficult and more senior work.

Her teaching philosophy is to always make them comfortable.

Someone’s teaching philosophy is their teaching attitude.

"Initially, when teaching them, I was like a fish out of water.

Initially means at first.

 It was difficult for me to help them acquire knowledge because I did not specialise in pedagogy and lacked teaching skills."

Pedagogy means methods of teaching.

She used to feel worried that the students would not obey her and ridicule her appearance, but all of them were very docile and obedient.

To ridicule her appearance means to make fun of her looks.

Docile means quiet and not energetic.

Obedient means well behaved and listening to instructions.

She said that the children living in the countryside lack parental upbringing and care, so she teaches them not only knowledge but also morals and lifestyle.

If there is a lack of parental upbringing and care, there is little or none of it.

The special thing is though she does not have a job and is still dependent on her old parents, the students who attend her classes do not have to pay any fees.

If you are dependent on your parents, you need them to survive.

"Moreover, I teach them as a passion to satisfy my unfinished dream," Thuyet said.

A passion is something you love doing so much that you do not mind how much time you spend on it or how much money you spend on it.

Her eyes brighten when told that she has a few benefactors who are building a library in her village for students to access and enhance knowledge as well as read books freely.

Benefactors are people who give money or other help to a person or cause.

Thanks to her, many students with weak learning skills matured into better students at school and attended many district and provincial contests.

Matured means grew up.

She has no children, but her small house is always full of laughter of studious children whom she loves and teaches like her own.

Studious children are children who study a lot.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. An institution where people can train to become teachers.
  2. The age of the oldest child in Kieu Thi Anh Thuyet’s class at present.
  3. The number of students Kieu Thi Anh Thuyet taught  when she first started.
  4. Something teachers use to write on black boards.
  5. The size of Kieu Thi Anh Thuyet’s house.

 

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. University; 2. Twelve; 3. Seven; 4. Chalk; 5. Small.

 

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