Retired teacher back in class to help disadvantaged students

November 19, 2022 - 08:36
For over seven years, Nguyễn Thị Ba has spread love in her charity class, which she developed using her own meagre income.
Nguyễn Thị Ba teaching students in her class. — Photo

BÌNH DƯƠNG — For over seven years, Nguyễn Thị Ba has spread love in her charity class, which she set up using her own meagre income.

Ba always sees her students as her children, and takes care of them even outside of the class, often providing food and valuable life lessons, reported the Quân đội Nhân dân (People's Army) newspaper.

In the small class at the Phú Cường Community Culture and Education Centre, "Miss Ba" often starts her work long before the class opens at 5pm. She always tries to get there early to prepare free meals for the students.

Having majored in pedagogy, Ba worked as a teacher from 1970 until she retired in 2003. After her teaching career ended, Ba started to sell lottery tickets for a living.

"When I started doing charity, I heard that the class was short on teachers," said Ba, "In my time as a lottery ticket vendor, I also met many young kids having to sell lottery tickets due to poverty."

"I am still healthy, I know how to teach, and I must help these kids achieve a better future," Ba added.

And after 13 years, Ba came out of retirement in 2016 to teach at Phú Cường Centre for free. She would teach the children after her day selling lottery tickets.

There are currently 25 students in the class, mostly children of impoverished workers in the area. The students are aged 8-16, with some of the lottery-selling kids persuaded by Ba to register for the class.

"Because there is only one classroom, I divide students into groups from grade 1 to grade 5. Each class will have its own lesson plan and teaching method. I personally guide the students according to their level in each lesson," said Ba.

Having taught here for a long time, Ba knows what it takes to shape and guide a student.

“Previously, I taught daily, but from October, I only teach on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays," said Ba, "I have just recovered from an accident in September 2022 and the class also welcomed some volunteers to help, so my workload was reduced."

Outside of basic knowledge, Ba also focuses on teaching students live in a good way. The students here by themselves act politely, even know how to tidy up tables and chairs, line up neatly before entering class and greet each other when they meet.

All students in the class have deep feelings for Ba. They always see "Miss Ba" as their mother and grandmother, and not just their teacher.

From having no idea of their future, through the teaching of Ba, the children identified their own dreams and were determined to study. Every student wants to grow up, help their family and be able to help those around them.

“I feel in "Miss Ba" the dedication and love. She taught my friends every little thing. She taught me that even though the situation is difficult, I must strive to rise up. I hope in the future I will have a stable job to help my grandmother and be able to come back to help Ba take care of the students," said Doãn Thị Yến Nhi, 16, a student of the class.

Nhi is currently living with her elderly grandmother, since her parents have already left Bình Dương. From being illiterate, Nhi is now in the 5th grade. She's currently hard at work studying and helping her grandmother sell sticky rice every day to earn a living.

“When Ba came to help, we were very happy because she has good expertise, dedication in work and always gives you love," said Phạm Minh Cường, Deputy Secretary of Phú Cường Ward Youth Union, "What we admire about Ba is that even though her life was still difficult while staying in a boarding house, she spent money on selling lottery tickets, monthly pension to support students and helping some parents. From that gesture, we are also actively mobilising benefactors to provide books and learning tools to help the children study fully."

In addition to providing each student with 5kg of rice per month, Ba also used her own savings to buy gifts or help disadvantaged children in the class.

On special holidays, to encourage the students, Ba buys gifts from her pension allowance. She also convinced benefactors to donate more uniforms for the students.

However, Ba is also sad that there were children who attended the charity class but then had to leave because they had to go to work or moved to another locality.

“I'm living a happy life. Although I'm old I can still contribute to the community and society," said Ba, "Many of my students are now successful adults and returned to support the charity class. That made me very happy that my work has spread good deeds to the young generation." — VNS