ClockFriday, 08/12/2023 08:13

Overcoming difficulties to bring literacy to mountainous areas

TTH.VN - For teachers working in mountainous areas, in addition to their dedication to the profession, their “baggage” also includes boundless love for students. The dream of bringing literacy to students in these regions is always nurtured through the silent sacrifices of these educators.

Knowledge is more precious than wealthA brave teacher saves lives from the evil flood


For teachers in remote areas, teaching is not only a responsibility but also an enthusiastic love for students. 

Being bonded

Up to this academic year, Mr. Nguyen Van Sinh, a teacher at Hong Thuy Primary and Secondary School, has been closely connected to the highland region of A Luoi for exactly 32 years. Over 30 years ago, Mr. Sinh left his hometown in Phu Vang district to devote his youth to the land of Hong Thuy. The main school in Ke hamlet has 2 wooden classrooms, along with the room built of bamboo with thatched-roof, the whole school has only 6 teachers. After getting married, Mr. Sinh brought his wife from Hue to settle down in the land of Hong Thuy until now.

Recalling the past, Mr. Sinh recounts that it is impossible to fully express the difficulties and hardships faced by teachers in the highland region. They lived a difficult life with a salary of only 146 VND per month, traversing treacherous terrain, especially during the relentless rainy season and freezing cold, overpassing tight roads, water-rising streams, slippery mountain paths, and muddy trails. After school, the teachers and students would go fishing in the streams and gather wild bamboo shoots to improve their evening meals.

Mr. Sinh reminisces, "Our kitchen only had a pot of rice and a few salted fish, but the students would come as guests every day. I felt deeply touched by the kind hearts of the ethnic parents in the highland region, who hunted animals, picked wild vegetables, and then left a portion for the teacher. As for me, whenever I returned to my hometown, there was nothing more than a jar of fermented shrimp paste or a few loaves of bread as gifts, which was simple and humble, but filled with deep love." Nowadays, life has changed a lot, but the difficulties here still persist, as 75% of the households in Hong Thuy commune are classified as poor ones. Therefore, the journey to seek education for the students is still filled with hardships.

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Quoc, a teacher at Huong Nguyen Junior High School, has also been accompanying students in the highland region of A Luoi for 23 years. Living in An Hoa, Hue City, he travels over 90km round trip to teach the students every day. During lunchtime, Mr. Quoc stays with his colleagues at the staff quarters. Whenever there is heavy rain or strong winds, or when the road becomes impassable due to landslides,  Mr. Quoc has to stay overnight there. In addition to the challenges of long and remote roads, teaching in the highland region is very difficult due to economic circumstances and limited learning conditions.

Mr. Quoc shares, "In the city, students seek teachers for extra lessons, but here, teachers have to find the students. The parents entrust their children's education to us, and sometimes they have to work in the fields for a whole week, not knowing if their children go to school or not. Many students in grade 6 lack fundamental knowledge, so teachers have to teach them the knowledge of grades 4 and 5 again. During the flood season, many students miss school, and the teachers have to wade through streams and rivers to visit their homes, understand the reasons, and find ways to overcome the obstacles. This is because, with the new curriculum, it will be very difficult for students who miss school to catch up with."

 For highland students, teachers are always their mental support

Empathizing and sharing

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Quoc shared that, teachers working in highland areas, are not only literacy teachers but also a support for students. When going to remote areas to teach literacy, in addition to lesson plans, each teacher also brings a warm heart, dedicating himself to helping literacy sprout in difficult lands. That is a silent sacrifice which is difficult to describe in words

He also shared that he didn't know when, the worry about books, clothes, and school supplies not only comes from students and parents but also is a constant concern and worry for teachers in remote areas. The student's family situation is difficult, and the students are at risk of dropping out of school; hence, teachers reduce their salaries to give them a hand; then call on mass organizations, and mobilize acquaintances, friends, and relatives to support them. Each set of textbooks and new clothes are donated for the children in the remote areas to help them continue going to school. After class, teachers also take advantage of time to cut, bathe, and wash their students' hair.

Whenever they see a student missing school for a few days, the teachers make the arduous journey to their homes to visit and encourage them to continue going to school. Many times, when witnessing students in need, the teachers could not help shedding tears. Mr. Quoc recounts, "Once, I visited a student's home during lunchtime. I noticed that the student was eating cassava instead of rice. I asked why there was rice but he did not cook it; and the student replied that there should be soup, fish, and vegetables to have a meal, but their family had nothing; so, he boiled cassava and dipped it in salt to make it easier to swallow. Hearing that, I couldn't hold back my tears."

For teachers in remote areas, teaching is not only a responsibility but also a love for their students. Otherwise, not many would be able to hold on to the profession in such challenging regions. 'For me, being a teacher is not just a job, but a sacred mission. In the classroom, I teach children to read and write; outside of school, I teach them to become good human beings. To sow the seeds of knowledge in them, it takes time along with the concerted efforts of the local authorities, as well as the love and dedication of teachers who care about each student's situation. What I desire is for them to become good citizens, using their knowledge to change their lives and develop their homeland. When my students succeed, I am also happy,' expressed Mr. Sinh.

Dedicating to nurturing students in difficult regions, the sacrifices made by these teachers are immense. However, when it comes to what they desire, many teachers don't think about themselves. They simply hope that students in remote areas receive more care and support; that during the winter, the students have warm clothes and shoes to go to school, that their meals include meat and fish, and that they have chance to attend class and excel in their education to overcome poverty.

Story and photo: MINH HIEN
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