Viet Nam News
By Thu Trang
Vietnamese Teachers’ Day is coming this Sunday November 20, and thousands of parents in the country are thinking about and preparing some gifts for their children’s teachers to express their gratitude.
Respecting teachers and organising teachers’ day is a long-standing tradition of the country that has been passed from generation to generation.
The tradition thus becomes a valuable cultural factor of Việt Nam that surprises foreigners.
Peter Cowan, from Northern Ireland in the UK said that he hadn’t heard of teachers’ day until he moved to Việt Nam.
“Back home, as far as I know, teachers’ day isn’t widely celebrated,” he said.
When Peter was at school there wasn’t any single day given to celebrate teachers but it was common to give them a present at the end of the school year, especially if they would no longer be teaching you, a parting gift.
“Teachers’ day in Việt Nam is always exciting for my friends who teach here. They get showered with gifts from their students and their employer,” said Peter.
“I know teachers here appreciate the affection they receive on teachers’ day, it’s quite unlike anything they get at home, probably due to the respect Vietnamese people profess to have for the profession,” he said.
I still remember that, when I was at junior secondary school, every year when Vietnamese Teachers’ Day came around, my classmates and I would put together a small amount of money to buy small gifts, such as a vase or a pen, and came in crowds to our teachers’ houses.
When we arrived at our teachers’ houses, the teachers invited us to drink some water and have some biscuits, every thing was very simple, but we were all filled with joy and happiness.
The period is really meaningful for us all.
Nowadays, with the fast pace of urban life, the atmosphere for students has changed so much and many parents hope that teachers will pay more attention and care to their children.
To express their sincerity, they buy expensive gifts, or put some money in envelopes and give them to the teachers.
The habit spread, and has unintentionally become a burden for poor parents.
Nguyễn Thanh Hà, whose daughter studies at a state primary school in Hà Nội, said that she completed an embroidered picture and a hand-made card to present to her daughter’s teacher on teachers’ day.
“My daughter was very eager to help me prepare the gift, and she is happy with it,” said Hà.
But Hà still worries that whether the teacher likes the gift or not, she should still present an “envelope”, like many other parents.
Hà is not wrong to worry about this, because many parents see money as the best gift for teachers, but I’m still sure that for many teachers, the most valuable gift is the sincere gratitude from students and their parents.
Đoàn Phương Nhung, a teacher of computing at a junior secondary school in Hà Nội’s Thanh Xuân District, said that every year on teachers’ day, she received a number of congratulatory messages, telephone calls and best wishes on Facebook from old students and friends, and she was really moved by it.
“Old students who I taught a long time ago, and many friends living far away from me still remember me, it’s a success for my career,” she said.
"The happiness in teaching life comes from seeing students grow up and become prosperous, not from luxury gifts, "said Nhung.
Talking to Nhung, I suddenly think of how Vietnamese Teachers’ Day is organised in poor remote and mountainous areas, and how teachers there feel and what they expect on the day.
Nguyễn Đăng Linh, principal of the Măng Cành Primary School in Kon Plong District, the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, told the Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper that on teachers’ day, students often picked wild flowers along their way to school and timidly gave them to teachers.
“Sometimes I receive some letters from the students, writing that they wish me health and happiness. The letters are put silently in my bag and I find them when I have free time,” said Linh.
Despite difficulties and shortages in poor remote villages, many teachers live in plain houses, have meals with dry fish and wild vegetables, working to eliminate illiteracy and give poor students a chance for a happier life in the future.
Thinking about them, I feel respect and pride.
Recently the HCM City Department of Education and Training asked concerned organisations to send them congratulation letters for Vietnamese Teachers’ Day via email instead of flowers or gifts, adding that the letters would be the most meaningful present for the department.
So I believe that at every age and in every location, simple, honest and sincere love will be the most valuable gift for teachers, not only on Vietnamese Teachers’ Day but all year round. — VNS