It seems that lots of people talking about education reformation, revolution and so on but not so many of them roll up their sleeves or look for a path to make it happen. I believe “every great change in the world happened because there is someone truly want it, learn it and do his best to make it happen”. It is truly wonderful to be a part of Teach For Vietnam where many people who also have the same desire “a better quality education” gather. With many stakeholder to collaborate ahead: local government, schools, teachers and students, … we know we are not the alone in this path.

Thao Nguyen graduated from Foreign Trade University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Economics. After graduation, she was selected to join the Management Trainee program of a big FMCG firm in Vietnam. After the training period, she worked as a Trade Marketing Assistant to Manager in Beer category. But she quit her job few months later. In terms of business, increasing beer sales was the ultimate goal. But persuading people to consume more beer, especially the poor, is against her personal value system.

To Thao, all kinds of problems in this world are man-made. People take actions according to what they believe. And education is the key to shape one’s vision and belief. Unfortunately, in Vietnam, education is still not equal for everyone. Before joining Teach For Vietnam in 2017, Thao Nguyen worked for a leading EdTech startup in Vietnam. During her journey with this startup, she contributed to the mission of spreading knowledge to improve lives of millions of Vietnamese adults. However, she was not satisfied with this goal. She believes that providing good education products and services for office workers can only solve the education problem on a surface level. The key to build a generation of globally competent leaders is to help every child reach his/her full potential. So she decided to join Teach For Vietnam and be a part of the revolution.

I have a strong belief in every child’s potentials to fly high and contribute greatly to the community if they are nurtured by love, integrity and an excellent education. It is unfair to deprive them of the opportunity to learn and pursue their dreams JUST BECAUSE of their poor family background. I join TFV because I desire to be part of the movement that makes education equity happen right here and right now.

Dung’s passion for education derives from her educational experience. She herself experienced challenges of an underprivileged student studying English at a small town in a highland of Vietnam and soon recognized that all along this small country, there still exist students who are in the shoes that she used to be in. She acknowledged how hard it would be for a student, with a few opportunities, to reach out the wonderful world in front of them. That was when she decided to devote herself in the field of education. Dung is an B.A. holder in English teaching and Literature accredited by University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh National University. As an educator, she believes in the potential of every child and that they deserve an education of excellence and equity. Soon after her graduation, she joined Teach for Vietnam with a hope to help underprivileged students get access to learning resources and opportunities. During two years to come at Teach for Vietnam, she commits to help her students unlock their potential. In her way of doing so, she also aims to unlock the potential of herself in giving a hand to create a new movement in the current education system.

Although Uyen went to Nong Lam University to study a food science, teaching English is the second most recommended job for her (The first was masseur, because she had soft, chubby hands and her personality was generally tolerable.) She enjoyed helping her peers with exams and tutoring English as a part-time job, but she never thought she would have the chance to actually lead a classroom, until Teach For Vietnam.

The empowering ways the disabled and disadvantaged were treated in Canada where Uyen had her Mitacs internship during senior year planted a seed of doubt in her mind about how to go about doing good things for people. She began to question the path drawn for her as a researcher: working at a university, asking for grant to fix a small technical problem, publishing the results in a professional journal for a small circle of experts to read. It was not the kind of impact she wanted, Uyen found. She became interested in human beings, their inner lives and how they are shaped by the outside world. It was after reading, watching and learning about social sciences that Uyen began to realize how complex and nuanced the situation of the world and the depth of poverty and injustice were. She wanted to do something, but did not know where to start. As an engineer doomed to work on ketchup and instant noodle, she had the “wrong” degree.

That was when Uyen read about Teach For Vietnam, and for once, she believed in fate. She thought about all the sweeter, nicer, more intelligent friends she knew as a pupil, those thrown under the bus because they did not fit into the system, and could not imagine being anywhere else. She was meant to be a masseur, not a teacher, but Uyen – like everyone else in this young organization – believes children are worth the efforts.

Believing in children as our hope, and education as the golden key for a prosperous and sustainable future, Pham Thuy Duong is greatly motivated by Teach for Vietnam’s mission, visions and values. Happy to be part of the nice team of like-minded people and with a strong aspiration to serve, Duong is committed to realizing Teach For Vietnam’s visions.

Majoring in environmental studies with bachelor degree at HCMC University of Technology, she received MSc in environmental management from Brandenburg Technical University, MSc in urban development planning from Vietnamese-German University, and PhD from Lappeenranta University of Technology. Before joining Teach For Vietnam, Duong worked as technical officer for GIZ Soc Trang project and a coordinator at Vietnamese-German University. Duong’s interests include holistic education, sustainable development, green living, renewable energy, spiritual development, esoteric studies, alternative healing, psychology and astrology.

His parents passed away when he was a baby. Le Hoang Phong was raised in S.O.S Children Village. In the year 2011, he studied Faculty of History at Ho Chi Minh University of Pedagogy with a view to learning more about civilisations and humanities. Through 4 years of studying there, Hoang Phong has become aware of the impact of education and the inevitable role of teachers when it comes to laying the foundations for the future of students.

In addition, he also realises the importance of foreign languages, which is the key to integrating into the outer world. Hoang Phong has the experience of translating and interpreting for many renowned organisations, such as VCCI, World Bank, UNDP, UNFPA, DTRA, HIS. With an outstanding academic record, he received Odon Vallet Scholarship, Vietnam Association for Promoting Education’s Scholarship and Certificate of Appreciation from U.S Department of Defense. Hoang Phong is the first person in Vietnam to be admitted into Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Malaysia, which comes #1 in terms of teaching quality.

Talking about choices, he said: “Leadership spirit in education will benefit a lot of generations of students through initiatives and the connection with a wide range of areas, occupations from different levels, both in the education sector and other sectors, while sharing the same goals towards education and creating a comprehensive foundation for an environment that assist education. In June 2017, Hoang Phong decided to return to Vietnam to participate in Development Leadership Fellowship program by Teach for Vietnam to make his dream a reality. With his will to give underprivileged students access to quality education, Hoang Phong always devotes his time to talk with children from S.O.S in conversations in English and guide them through hardships in life. His hobby is reading history books and travelling to gain insights into other cultures. By 2016, he has visited 10 countries and befriended with a number of international friends.

I always believe in kids’ potential and teachers are people who can help them nurture these positive seeds in their head and their heart. Working as a Fellow for Teach for Vietnam offers me a chance to find out what my students are good at, or what they care about, or what they like and unleash their own potential because I believe it can help them change their life.

Trang studied at Ho Chi Minh City University of Science, major in Biotechnology. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc) in 2013 and Master of Science degree (MSc) in 2016. Soon after she graduated in 2013, she worked as a Researcher and Teaching Assistant at Department of Physiology and Animal Biotechnology, Ho Chi Minh City University of Science. She also has almost 6 years of experience working as a Freelance English Teacher.

Having travelled many places in Vietnam, witnessed the poverty and low quality of education of so many children in the community, Trang understands that without access to good education, children are unable to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Trang wants to really make difference in children’s lives, therefore, she joined the movement with Teach For Vietnam. She hopes that she can contribute to the cause of excellent education for all children. Her dream is that “there might be a day a kid discovers his biggest passion while learning in her classroom.

Hang has been experiencing various educational environments from rural schools to urban schools and later international schools. With her experiences, she believes in the impact of education with equity and excellence that can bring development and innovation from the individual scale to the public scale. Recently, Hang is working in Playback Theatre. She uses the techniques of Playback Theatre to discover how each individual feels and thinks. She believes that the language of Theatre can educate people in the sense of understanding themselves and understanding the society that they are living in.

While taking part in the opening ceremony of Human Rights Space in Hanoi, Hang realized that education can be approached by numerous ways and the Theatre approach can also be an effective one. With her passion for discovering the Self and the Others, Hang decided to engage in education because she has a strong belief in its roles in enabling people to become a better version of themselves and a good member of society.

Trang Nguyen spent all of her childhood school time in Hai Phong, Vietnam. She received a Bachelor’s degree in English Teaching from the University of Languages and International Studies – Vietnam National University, Hanoi. While she was an undergraduate student, she had been a teacher assistant at British Council and Apollo English Center for two years. After her graduation, she joined the International School of Vietnam (ISV) as a teacher assistant. At ISV, she was trained to be an International Baccalaureate (IB) teacher and exposed to a new English teaching module.

She realized that the IB teaching methodologies being inquiry – based and the new English module motivate critical thinking skills and taking intitiative skills. These are the skills Vietnamese students still do not master. Therefore, she took initiative and applied the fresh module and method to set up an English Teaching and Learning Club for the impoverished children in Long Bien district, Ha Noi. These children do not access to proper schooling, housing or health care. Moreover, she paid it forward by training the Club’s volunteers the knowledge so they could be leading trainers to other people.

Nowadays, the children in the Club can decode English words independently and use the pictures as some clues to read illustrated books critically. The current volunteers can instruct new volunteers how to teach critically and initiatively. In the Club, one day she talked to an elderly couple selling seafood at midnight to send their grandchildren to school. Reflecting to her school life, she was lucky to attend the best public schools due to her family conditions. She realized that children are so vulnerable that they depend on their schools and families. As a teacher, she cannot change their family background. However, she can bring them a better education. With this vision, it is her honour to join Teach For Vietnam and continue fighting for equity in education.

Growing up in a farmer family in a small, poor village, Thuyet understands the feeling of the disadvantaged who often does not have access to a quality education. She majored in Chemitry Pedagogy at Can Tho University on goverment’s financial support. After graduation, Thuyet became a chemistry teacher at Vinh Chau, Soc Trang Province, her hometown. She was selected to receive a 5 day training scholarship at Huntsville, Alabama, US on STEM subjects in 2015, and in 2016 about environment, energy and sustainability in San Diego, US. She truly believes in the powerful impact that education has on someone’s life. Therefore, she would like to do something for children that do not have the same opportunity like she did, helping them gaining what they need to thrive, to be able to build the life that they dream of. With Teach For Vietnam, she is proud to contribute a little piece of herself to bring an excellent and equity education for all children in this country.

Born in a middle family in a small town, despite all the imperfection of our education, Vy always feels thankful that her family & small community have offered their best to give her a deep root and teach her to question, to go find the answer, to fail and to learn; she thus believes that to nurture a person takes a collective energy within the community.

Besides, her 4-year engagement with projects addressing different challenges in education, from youth empowerment to child development, has taught her well the importance of the teamwork among enablers across sectors in order to facilitate a well-rounded learning experience for children/ young people. Hence, Vy finds a strong connection with Teach For All approach – gathering talents from a range of academic disciplines to build an ecosystem that co-creates expanded opportunity for children. *

About her journey, for youth empowerment, Vy spent 2 years (2013-2015) serving in the National Leadership Board of AIESEC Vietnam managing partnership with different enablers to facilitate leadership experience through exchange; with her credit in the field, Vy now supports FPT International Exchange Center as an independent consultant for their exchange programs. Besides, Vy also took charge of project “From Universities to Community” (Dai Hoc Khong Giang Duong) in 2016, which is based on the concept of Community Engagement Learning and focuses on developing Leadership & Social Responsibility among students from Central of Vietnam, helping them transfer theoretical knowledge into hand-on projects that serves communities.

For child development, Vy recently co-founded Tre Dong Xanh (since 2016) – an annual summer camp in Hoian– to nurture kid well-being by strengthening 3 types of connections – to self, to other and to nature. * She takes this 2-year commitment as a chance to fully immerse into the context where learning experience actually happen and observe deeply how the teamwork among family, school, community in nurturing a child. For her, they are years that she teaches to be taught, in which fellows will work with the community to offer the kids better learning experience and at the same time learn what it takes to provide a more relevant education and where we are in that ecosystem.

For me, joining Teach for Vietnam is one way of paying tribute to my teachers and all who have helped shape me into the person I am today. I have been taught, and it is my turn to give back. I believe even in the most unfavorable of conditions, every child is a seed of goodness and wonder. I love being around the little ones, and it’s a gift to contribute a small part in nurturing the good seeds for our country. We have a lot of work to do, and I am thankful to be part of TFV team on our shared journey, joyfully, together.

Thao Phuong Hoang was born in Soc Son, Hanoi, where she spent her happy childhood years in a small village school. She did not expect then that she would later join classrooms in countries around the world for her education. When Thao first learned about Teach For Vietnam (TFV), she knew right away that joining the movement would be a wonderful way to return to her home country after several years of educational pursuit abroad.

Thao holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Economics and French Studies from Wheaton College, Massachusetts, as well as a Masters in Human Geography with a collaborative program on Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto. While Thao’s years abroad allowed her to expand her horizons, she always sought and cherished opportunities in Vietnam. For her graduate studies, Thao conducted an original climate change research project in Ninh Binh Province, as part of the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership funded by the Canadian government.

She also worked with different non-profit organizations on various issues: fair trade, urban agriculture and water management. Thao believes in grassroots movements, and the inherent goodness to be nurtured in every child, every person. She believes education is key to getting to the root causes of many problems. With TFV, Thao is happy to join a team effort to expand educational opportunities to all children in Vietnam.

Growing up in a family full of teachers, Phuong has always been reminded of the value of education and the idea of how education changes lives. With her passion in the education field, Phuong joined different volunteer programs to give free English lessons to the suburban children near her hometown Hanoi and realized the huge gap in education opportunity among the children living in different areas in the same country. Yearning to close this gap and to bring equal education opportunity to all children in Vietnam, Phuong decided to join Teach For Vietnam along with the other fellows. After graduating with a dual degree in Business Economics and Marketing from Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, Phuong worked at Nielsen Vietnam as a Qualitative Research Trainee. She also taught at Yola Institute to pursue her passion for language education.

Linh has a strong belief in children’s potential and desire for being beside people and encouraging them to believe in themselves. As a result, Linh finds Social Work a suitable way for her to make it come true. Indeed, she has graduated as a Bachelor of Social Work from University of Social Sciences and Humanities. She has worked as a social worker for two years before she becomes a fellow of Teach For Vietnam.
During the time as a social worker working at two NGOs, she focused on facilitating children facing to challenges of needs from basic ones to sense of recognition and belonging. She has realized that there are challenges that she cannot help children overcome successfully. There is something like a gap between teachers and pupils, schools and families, and schools and communities. She really wants to find out ways to build bridge between and narrow as many gaps as possible. She has a clue that she is a social worker and she needs to find the answer from the children, their families, their schools, and their communities.
Fortunately, Leadership Development Fellowship of Teach For Vietnam is such a valuable chance for her to explore school environment directly and she even can stand in a teacher’s shoes. But, more than that, it is the effort to contribute to a better education for children that put her on the same way with Teach For Vietnam. Hence, here is Linh, being in Teach For Vietnam team, trying her best to empower herself and to empower children to fulfill their potential and find happiness from school life. Let’s see what will happen and what Linh will discover!

Phát triển lãnh đạo trẻ từ nhiều lĩnh vực cùng kiến tạo một hệ sinh thái hỗ trợ giáo dục.

© 2016 Teach For Vietnam.


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