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Nov 20, 2021 / 20:10

Covid-19 leaves Teachers’ Day in Vietnam incomplete

Teachers all feel that the illustrious event wouldn't be complete without students.

Most of the schools across Vietnam celebrated Vietnamese Teachers’ Day [November 20] full of flowers, balloons, gifts, and wishes but no students due to Covid-19.

It means that this year’s celebrations became less exciting without gathering of key factors: teachers and their students.

 Nguyen Thi Hong, Rector of Vietnam International School 

“It’s really a pity that the celebrations excluded our beloved students,” said Nguyen Thi Hong, Rector of Vietnam International School (VIS), Hanoi. “It can be said that without students, our honorable occasion remains incomplete,” Hong told The Hanoi Times

“Working in the education sector for almost three decades, I myself have vivid memories of the Vietnamese Teachers’ Day but this year’s celebrations were so special as students chose to make handmade cards, videoclips or strive to earn good marks despite difficulties caused by the pandemic,” Hong shared.

Sharing the same idea, Ha Xuan Nham, Rector of Phan Huy Chu High School, Dong Da District, Hanoi, said “Taking precautions in the face of the fresh coronavirus outbreak has prevented our teachers and students from on-site celebrations. It seems like something remains half-done on the special occasion.” 

“Covid-19 has caused unprecedented challenges to the education sector, leaving teachers and students with difficulties. Nonetheless, online lessons require so many efforts from both, especially our teachers who always put the sake of students first and foremost,” Nham said in an interview with The Hanoi Times.   

Bui Thi Phuong, a senior teacher at VIS, said emotionally: “I’ve spent my whole life pursuing the teaching career, however, I’m so touched every single occasion celebrating the Vietnamese Teachers’ Day thanks to its meaning and the nature it brings about.” “Working as a teacher means a lot to me,” she stated.

 Nguyen Thi Hong, Rector of Vietnam International School and Nguyen Hung Viet (3rd right), Vice Rector of VIS, miss their beloved students and wish to meet them soon when the pandemic brought under control. 

Vietnamese Teachers’ Day is an occasion for people to say thank to outstanding educators in Vietnam for their tireless efforts and teachers for all the valuable lessons.

British nationals Ingrid Travis, Deborah Smith, and Emma Hart Davey, teachers at Ev360online English Center in Hanoi, shared with The Hanoi Times that Vietnamese Teachers’ Day is a festival to honor those who work in the education sector. It means that Vietnam really values the sacrifices and efforts of educators and acknowledges the significant role that teachers play in nation-building.

“I was surprised when many wishes came to me some days ago. The nicely-decorated cards and wishes from students in Vietnam had me in tears,” Ingrid Travis said.

Card featuring online learning in Covid-19 by students in Cau Giay District, Hanoi

Deborah Smith shared that “The special day has inspired us much, giving us more energy to share experiences with our students.”

“It’s amazing that Vietnam has a special day to honor teachers. It’s a big reward for people working in the education sector and it’s the recognition that the whole society gives us,” Emma Hart Davey exclaimed in delight upon hearing the history of the day.

Some days prior to November 20, campuses are filled with beautiful flowers and gifts from parents and students to teachers. Schoolchildren even decorate their own ‘thank you’ cards to their teachers.

 Ingrid Travis, teacher at Ev360online English Center, Hanoi 

Admirable job

Vietnam chose November 20 as an occasion to honor all teachers. Teacher’s Day provides students with the opportunity to recognize the important role that educators play in their skill development, showing their appreciation and respect for their teachers’ enthusiasm and knowledge.

Late Prime Minister Pham Van Dong said: “Teaching is the noblest of the noble professions, the most creative of creative professions because it forms creative people.”

Nguyen Hung Viet, Vice Rector at VIS, said in the first years of his teaching career, it took him sometime for self-reflection and review his life as a teacher when the greetings and the appreciation come pouring in. It helped him rebuild himself and motivated him to become a better teacher. As much as the whole society appreciates this day, there are also pressing issues that need to be addressed in the educational system and teachers’ engagement would really help, he added.

 Card for Teachers' Day designed by students in Hoang Cau High School, Hanoi

In a video sent as a gift to their teachers at VIS, students said “it is fantastic to see the smiles on our teachers’ faces and we wish them all the best in their career at VIS and successfully guiding the future generation.”

They shared that they understand how tough it can be to educate a generation into smart and hard-working people. They understand that it is harder than ever to be an educator in this increasingly globalized world.

For that reason, students admire their teachers for the mission they are tasked with. They wish their teachers an amazing day filled with joy, inspiration, and perseverance to pursue the noble mission of educating and connecting young people.

Vietnam has around 23 million students and nearly two million teachers. The 2021-2022 academic year that started in September is going on with online lessons due to Covid-19. But the prolonged pandemic has forced the education sector to change its teaching strategy to make online learning effective and prevent loss of learning and take less time as well.

While some believe that the unplanned and rapid move to online learning – with no training, insufficient bandwidth, and little preparation – will result in a poor user experience that is unconducive to sustained growth, others believe that a new hybrid model of education will emerge, with significant benefits.

With this sudden shift away from the classroom in many parts of the country, the role of teachers will continue to be crucial post-pandemic.