Vietnam Time

9/28/2017 4:36:01 PM

English teacher for poor kids in HCM.City: Teaching is a meaningful job

(VNF) - In the past 3 years, Rich, a 66-year-old American man, spends nearly one hour everyday riding to his workplace - Binh An Center for Development (Dist.8, Ho Chi Minh city), where  he works as an English teacher for disadvantaged kids.

Thay Rick day tieng Anh cho tre em ngheo Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh - Anh 1

He always tries his utmost to help the kids memorize English words, grammar structure faster and be confident with their communication in the language. (source: Vietnam Photo Journal)

The hilarious class

Rich, whose full name is Richarch Joseph Hoesch, comes from Seattle Washington DC, USA.

He traveled to Vietnam in 2014, after retiring, and since then, he has been dedicating unwavering efforts to train children, especially the underpriviledged in Binh An center for Development.

Binh An center, an affiliated of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Friends of Street Children (FSC), is providing shelter and learning facility to hundreds of needy kids in the city.

Many of the kids there are Rich’s students, who are always eager to study with the 66-year-old American teacher. 

In their eyes, teacher Rich is someone who is always young at heart.

Teaching kids is challenging, since these little students’ level of concentration is unstable, and so is their willingness to learn. 

For a foreign trainer like Rich, language barrier even makes the job tougher.

Nonetheless, the loving teacher still manages to overcome all of the obstacles to convey knowledge to his students in the most effective way. He always tries his utmost to help the kids memorize English words, grammar structure faster and be confident with their communication in the language.

Normally, Rich does not require the students to do much exercises in workbook, instead, he focuses on engaging them in more interesting activities, including working in pair or group to apply the use of the newly learnt words, structure in real-life situation.

Rich’s exciting teaching method has proved its effectiveness in stimulating the kids’ eagerness to study.

In every lesson, the little students cannot wait for their turn to come up to the blackboard to describe a new word through their drawing, from teddy bear to a ball or a train. 

At the same time, as a native speaker, Rich particularly pays attention to  his students’ pronunciation. In case any of them makes mistake, he will try to use simple Vietnamese phrase, such as "noi lai" (say it again), or "khong, khong" (no, no) to correct them.

To a foreigner who does not speak host country’s mother tongue very well, body language is considered the fastest way to get thing done.

For instance, to illustrate the word “air plane”, Rich will spread his two arms like two wings of the object, while shaking his back like flying.

Thay Rick day tieng Anh cho tre em ngheo Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh - Anh 10

Teaching kids is challenging, since these little students’ level of concentration is unstable, and so is their willingness to learn. (source: Vietnam Photo Journal)

It takes Rich a lot of energy to depict the “air plane” that way, as the old teacher sweats bucket. But the method really works, since none of the kids get bored, as they keep laughing out loud at the old teacher’s funny expression.

After dedicating efforts in teaching the 2nd, 3rd students, Rich continues his training for adult learners, particularly the teacher at Binh An center.

“Everyone here loves learning English, therefore we are very patient to wait for Rich to finish his previous class for our turn to study. Despite we are not quick learner, little by little, we are getting used to simple phrase and sentence for basic conversation, such as greetings, talking about hobbies, daily routines, among others. Now, when we have foreign guests visiting us, we are able to apply what we have learnt into practice”. said Hanh, one of the nuns working in the center.

Vietnam does not let me down

At the age of 66, Rich still enjoy traveling by bike. Bicycle is his favorite and most frequently used means of transport.

“Unlike most Vietnamese here, I adore the sun. To me, riding under the sun is a priviledge, because in my homeland, for nine months of the year, the weather is  cold and gloomy,” He explained.

“I love the feeling of riding my bike along Hoang Sa street, where I can see Vietnamese of different ages going out for morning exercises, having a walk with their children, their pets, or praying in front of a temple. That scene brings peace to my mind. The people whom I meet on my way are very amicable. For example, if they can speak some English, they won’t feel shy to approach me with a friendly "hello",  Rich said, excitedly.

He continues the conversation by saying that living abroad was his dream since he was young. However, he could not do it until his retirement.

Rich initially decided to travel to Brazil, but the American man later changed his mind after talking to some friends who recommended him to visit Vietnam, the country which has become part of his life.

However Rich also admits that adapting to the new living environment in the South East Asian country was very challenging.

He has to manage to get used to a lot of strange stuff, including congested streets, and the ‘free-style’ driving of the locals.

“If you’re not mindful, you are very likely to be hit by a motorbike which travel in a wrong direction. Besides, I have to train myself to ride like a Saigonese. When I was in the US, it was much easy. When the green light is on, we just cross the road without thinking of anything, however, here, I have to forget that habit, and pay attention to the movement of other vehicles, instead.”

Earlier, some of Rich’s American friends were concerned about his decision of living in Vietnam, the land that was terribly devastated by the US in the past.

Thay Rick day tieng Anh cho tre em ngheo Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh - Anh 6

"I think if possible, we should join our hands to help enrich the disadvantaged kids’ knowledges" (source: Vietnam Photo Journal)

“I told them that Vietnam is the country in which 60 per cent of the population are young people. At the same time, the war has ended for four decades. The people seldom mentioned the war, and it is what happens in the US nowadays. I am impressed by both Vietnam's pursuit of change and its attempt to preserve traditional values. I have met many Vietnamese people, who value their family’s tradition over a high-pay job, high standard of living. I think it is not easy to balance those desires.” Rich said.

Explaining about his willingness to teach English for the underpriviledged kids, who can hardly get access to the language, Rich said: “I notice that the people here show much admiration to those who can speak English fluently, which make me realize how lucky I am while I had chance to learn a lot."

“ Teaching is a meaningful job, I think if possible, we should join our hands to help enrich the disadvantaged kids’ knowledges, so they can keep pace with the rapid change of the society, and become the active forces who can generate values for society in future.”/.

  ( Translated by Phi Yen )
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