Teachers devoted to island students

February 20, 2023 - 08:41
The teachers are good role models and need more encouragement and care from the state and community.
Teacher Ngô Thị Thùy gives a lesson at a school on Giang Island of Kiên Giang Province. Photo tienphong.vn

KIÊN GIANG – Teachers who have left behind their comfortable surroundings to move to island areas and bring education to students have different reasons for their choice. But all of them have one common cause: the love for island students.

Teacher Ngô Thị Thùy was uniquely familiar with challenges and difficulties during years of working at a primary school in Hải Tặc Island off the coast of Kiên Giang Province.

The teacher was hired by Tiên Hải Primary and Secondary School, the only school in Tiên Hải Commune on Hải Tặc Island, which was 28 kilometres from the mainland.

However, she was still in shock when she moved to teach at the school on Giang island in the summer of 2022.

The school, which was about 30 minutes away from Hải Tặc island by boat, was only a small room with basic studying equipment. Her job was to educate all students aged between six and ten at the same time in that room.

Thùy was the only teacher in charge of 17 students at different academic levels and ages.

A multi-age classroom was set up to educate students effectively. It combined students from four different grades.

“This was such a challenge as I had to arrange the subjects in the curriculum appropriately so all students at four different grades could understand the lessons,” she told Tiền Phong (The Vanguard) online newspaper.

Thùy said she always spent more time with first graders to help them read and write. In her multi-age classroom, older children acted as role models for younger classmates and helped them when needed while young children aspired to do work like the older children.

“The children are obedient. They like to go to school,” she said.

Lại Văn Tol, a parent on Giang Island, said he was very happy since Thùy came to teach children on the island.

“She has inspired the children and helped them improve their studies much better than previously. In particular, the children have memorised many songs and games,” he said.

Trương Tấn Hưng, a teacher at a primary school in Hà Tiên City, has left his comfortable surroundings in the city and moved to Đước island commune since the beginning of the academic year in 2022.

Hưng started a new life at a school site on the island. The school site has two rooms: the big one for the classroom and the small one for his living place.

Trương Tấn Hưng at his class on Đước island. Photo tienphong.vn

His class combines 15 students from four different grades.

Hưng said life on the island was tough, but the children were studious.

"Seeing them sitting in the class waiting for new lessons is touching," he said.

Danh Văn, a 33-year-old Khmer ethnic teacher, said he had been teaching island students for more than ten years.

Văn volunteered to move to the island after graduating from university. Most of his students are children of local residents, who mostly work as fishermen and are offshore for days.

“Every time they (the students) were absent, I went to their homes and encouraged them to get back to school,” he said.

“Life is difficult here, but seeing the children growing up and being literate makes me feel happy. I know my decision to stay on the island is right,” he said.

According to Đỗ Quang Biên, principal of Tiên Hải Primary and Secondary School, the school has a total of 258 students, including 134 primary students and 65 secondary students.

The two school sites located on Đước and Giang islands offer education for 32 students. The school has opened two classes for pre-school students on these islands.

The school's infrastructure and teaching equipment have been adequate. However, the school found it difficult to hire four more teachers to take care of the students.

The lives of people have been much improved due to the development of tourism in recent years. But teachers’ lives are challenging as the cost of living keeps rising while their salary and allowances remain unchanged for years.

Biên said the teachers were good role models and needed more encouragement and care from the state and community. – VNS