Monday, August 21 2017

VietNamNews

Shining example leads the way

Update: March, 04/2017 - 09:00
Following her passion for teaching, 39-year-old Nguyễn Thị Hải Yến, who lost her legs in an accident, opened free English classes for the disabled residents of Đông Triều, in the northern province of Quảng Ninh. — Photo Nghĩa Hiếu
Viet Nam News

A woman in the northern province of Quảng Ninh has not let things get in the way of her dreams.

Nguyễn Thị Hải Yến always wanted to become a teacher but things became very difficult for her when she lost both legs in an accident.

Now, she teaches other people who are disabled.

Not only does she teach them English, she is also there to make them feel good about themselves.

by Nghĩa Hiếu

As a child, Nguyễn Thị Hải Yến of Đông Triều town in the northern province of Quảng Ninh province dreamed of becoming a teacher. A serious accident, in which Yến lost both legs, threatened to end that dream. She was 18 years old, full of confidence and hope for the future.

The accident proved to be a challenge for Yến, and she was determined that it would not stop her. She would go on to inspire and encourage others to overcome similar fates. And eventually, after much sweat and tears, Yến managed to see her dream come true.

We visited one of Yến’s classes, and saw both students and teacher engrossed in a lesson. Yến was teaching English pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, illustrating points with her hands.

The students, aged between 25 to over 50, were all engaged in taking notes and practising the language. After class, Yến told us her life story, in her living room which doubles as a classroom.

When Yến was 18 she had an accident and lost her legs, making her dream of becoming a teacher seem impossible.

“Waking up in the hospital, I felt desperate, hopeless. I would have to stop my studies, and my ambitions seemed so far away. Many times I contemplated killing myself. But thinking of all the things my parents gave me, I chose to live,” she said.

Yến had to take a vocational training course but three years later she was determined to return to her studies and graduate from high school.

Initially, I learned to sew and read a lot. But even three years later I still held onto the dream of becoming a teacher,” said Yến.

After a lot of effort, Yến passed the entrance exam and was admitted into Việt Nam National University’s English Studies Major.

“I chose English Studies because I had been passionate about English when I was in high school,” she said.

Yến was not only an exemplary student, but was also active in social work. Yến gathered other disadvantaged people to share difficulties and provide support.

Moved by the strong will of Yến, a man fell for her and defied disagreements from both of their families. They married in 2003, and moved to settle in the south of Việt Nam, eventually starting a family with one son and one daughter. At that time, Yến worked as an editor for travel magazines and newspapers.

Unfortunately, 10 years later, Yến and her husband divorced, and she brought her four-year-old son back to her hometown of Đông Triều.

Seeing that there was no club or organization for the disabled in the locality, Yến founded the Đông Triều Disabled Club. A year later, she opened the first free English class in her own house with the aim of improving local peoples’ communication skills, and developing their social networks. As word spread, the class grew, with more students attending and parents starting to send their kids.

She has taught about 800 students over the past 10 years. 

Trần Thị Vinh, a student said “Attending class, I have the chance not only to acquire new knowledge but also make friends with other people in the same circumstances. We share life experiences as well as consult each other to overcome difficulties.”

“I can see that my communication has improved a lot since attending Yến’s class. I no longer feel inferior like before,” said Vinh.

Teacher Yến said that most of her students showed significant progress, and their English communication skills were getting better every day.

“Even now, I still dream of being a high school teacher, standing in front of the class and teaching English,” said Yến. VNS 

GLOSSARY

She was 18 years old, full of confidence and hope for the future.

Confidence means belief in yourself.

She would go on to inspire and encourage others to overcome similar fates.

To inspire somebody means to encourage them to want to go out and do something positive.

To overcome a problem means to win over it.

A fate is something that happens that you can do nothing to stop from happening.

And eventually, after much sweat and tears, Yến managed to see her dream come true.

When something is done with sweat and tears, lots of effort and emotion is involved.

We visited one of Yến’s classes, and saw both students and teacher engrossed in a lesson.

Engrossed means absorbed.

Yến was teaching English pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, illustrating points with her hands.

Pronunciation is the way words are spoken.

Vocabulary is made up of the words of a language.

Grammar is the way sentences and words fit together.

Illustrating means showing.

The students, aged between 25 to over 50, were all engaged in taking notes and practising the language.

To be engaged in something means to be busy with it.

After class, Yến told us her life story, in her living room which doubles as a classroom.

If a living room doubles up as a classroom, the room has two uses.

“Waking up in the hospital, I felt desperate, hopeless. I would have to stop my studies, and my ambitions seemed so far away.”

Ambitions are aims you want to achieve.

“Many times I contemplated killing myself. But thinking of all the things my parents gave me, I chose to live,” she said.

To contemplate doing something means to think seriously about doing it.

Yến had to take a vocational training course but three years later she was determined to return to her studies and graduate from high school.

Vocational training means training for a certain job.

Initially, I learned to sew and read a lot.”

Initially means at first.

Yến was not only an exemplary student, but was also active in social work.

An exemplary student is a perfect student.

Yến gathered other disadvantaged people to share difficulties and provide support.

Disadvantaged people are those without luck or wealth on their side.

Moved by the strong will of Yến, a man fell for her and defied disagreements from both of their families.

A will is a desire.

To defy a disagreement means to ignore it and do your own thing in spite of it.

Seeing that there was no club or organization for the disabled in the locality, Yến founded the Đông Triều Disabled Club.

Founded means started.

Trần Thị Vinh, a student said “Attending class, I have the chance not only to acquire new knowledge but also make friends with other people in the same circumstances.

Your circumstances are the situations you find yourself in because of what is happening around you.

“I no longer feel inferior like before,” said Vinh.

Inferior means of less importance than others

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. The status of people after they choose to end their marriages.
  2. A person who is in charge of a newspaper or magazine.
  3. A language that comes from England that many people all over the world learn.
  4. Liquids that come out your eyes when you cry.
  5. Nguyễn Thị Hải Yến’s job.

 

 

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Divorced; 2. Editor; 3. English; 4. Tears; 5. Teacher.

 

 

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