May I Wish You Happy Teacher’s Day!


Today in my country is Vietnamese Teacher’s Day, 20-11. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to send my best wishes to my Father, my Uncles, my Vietnamese Teachers in Vietnam and abroad, my American and Belgian instructors who taught me English at Can Tho University, my friends in Vietnam and abroad, my colleagues at Can Tho Newspaper who teach English at Can Tho University, my Fulbright fellows in Vietnam and America,  and my close friend in Concord, MA who came to teach English at Can Tho University, and my American Fulbright fellows who were and are in Vietnam to teach English, Vietnamese teachers who have been teaching Vietnamese and other subjects in America and all the teachers in this world… on a very special day honoring and recognizing the teachers’ crucial roles and relentless devotions and contributions they have made to our lives.

Today is YOUR DAY. Please fully enjoy the love and appreciations from your students.

Many special and heartfelt thanks to my Father and my instructors who have helped shaped me to be a useful and educated person.

On the Vietnamese Teacher’s Day, I also would like to extend my thankfulness to my instructors at The Massachusetts International Language Institute, who were my first American instructors, for helping me improve my English before I began my study in Boston. One month at ILI still lingers in my mind. Especially, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all my professors at Emerson College who have instructed and trained me to become a dedicated, ethical and professional reporter and editor. I couldn’t tell how lucky and thrilled I have been as a student taught by very devoted Emerson Journalism Department faculty.

Professor Emmanuel Paraschos, one of my first professors at Emerson College. He said he enjoyed to be called “Teacher” by me. In the photo, he dressed up as a doctor to entertain our class on Halloween Day of 2011.

Also I would like to say big thanks to the editor at GateHouse Media New England who is also a professor, for training me to be a more careful and better journalist. The same to my other mentors who have given best advice to me whenever I need help.

My close friend Elizabeth Hollingsworth and her students in Can Tho, my home town in Vietnam. Photo provide by Elizabeth

There is also a very special person who has never taught me in class but I always need his instructions and supports. I know for sure that he always enjoys mentoring me. In my eyes, he is a very devoted Mentor and one of the greatest journalists in Vietnam. Let me say how I have been lucky and fascinate to know him and to have been his mentee for years. He is one of those who have empowered me and have followed every of my single step in the United States. He is Tran Hoang Tuyen, Can Tho Bureau Chief of HCMC-based Sai Gon Tiep Thi and the founder of the news website, which is devoted to Vietnamese farmers and Vietnamese agriculture development. My mentor is also one of the loyal readers of this blog. I would like to send a big hug and bis thank to him, my Mentor.

I would also like to express my gratitude to my retired deputy editor-in-chief and my beloved senior editor who is studying in Australia for training me to become a good writer and a good editor (I believe so :))

America’s National Teacher’s Day


I have been in America for more than 14 months (I exclude 2 months I visited Vietnam in January and August) but I feel so ashamed of not knowing that there is actually a National Teacher’s Day in the United States and a separate Teacher’s Day in Massachusetts.

The America’s National Education Association describes National Teacher Day is a day when thousands of communities in the United States take time to honor their local educators and acknowledge the crucial role teachers play in making sure every student receives a quality education.

The origins of National Teacher Day are murky, according to NEA. Around 1944, Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.

NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only. NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May. The next National Teacher’s Day is May 7, 2013.

I find it very interesting to learn that as of September 7, 1976, September 11 was also adopted as Teachers’ Day in Massachusetts. Currently, the New England state sets the first Sunday of June as its own Teachers’ Day, annually.

My wishes on Teacher’s Day

On this special day, I would like to share some thoughts.

I think as a student, we should NOT await until Teacher’s Day to honor and recognize the lasting contributions our teachers have been making to our lives. Everyday should be a Teacher’s Day because we would never be who we are without the instruction and support from our teachers. I bet our teachers would never expect us to offer gifts and flowers on this day but they DO expect us to become a good person.

Please DON’T FORGET their devotions to our lives.

Please NEVER think that we have been succeeding in life because we are naturally excellent.

Please NOT EVER think that we secured a chance to study abroad because we are distinguished by our own.

Please REMEMBER how many times we knocked on the doors of our former instructors and sent countless emails to them to ask for their mentorship. But when we got our dream jobs or scholarships to study abroad, we didn’t bother giving them a call or an email let alone coming to meet them to say “thank you Teacher” or at least let them know that you made it. What a shame if you are also a teacher! You teach your students to be grateful to your instructions but you yourself are not a grateful student.

As a person whose father and uncles are teachers, I can tell how struggling Vietnamese teachers are to balance between teaching and making both ends meet for their family.

I feel sad when:

– Teaching, the most noble career as we always say, is still one of the low-paid jobs in Vietnam.

– Many teachers across Vietnam are still living in rented houses, especially retired teachers  because  their low-paid salaries haven’t enough for them to support their family and their children’s education let alone thinking of purchasing a house.

– Many teachers across Vietnam whose income are less than $200.

– There is a noticeably small percentage of teachers who get rich and become richer not because of their devoted teaching (a true teacher is never rich) but because they don’t mind receiving money from those who don’t want to absorb knowledge by themselves but to knowledge to get a degree to keep their position or to get promotion.

-There is a very small percentage of teachers who bully students and refuse to recognize their students’ excellence just because they refuse to exchange love or money for good grades.

– Several teachers are under a substantial pressure from their boss, their chair, their dean and people in power… to give a good grade to students who don’t bother to come to class but always want to pass because they need a degree for their career.

My story

Did you know that besides being a teacher’s daughter, I was also a teacher and a wife of a university instructor?

When I was in college, I had been tutoring one elementary student and a group of four high school students in English for three years. Right after graduation, I have been tutoring an elementary student in English for more than four years, who has been studying in America since 2009 (so proud of her). During my first years at Can Tho Newspaper, I taught English for a year at The Vietnamese-American School in Can Tho. Believe it or not, I got an  reward for teaching well. All my students who were under 10 years old, passed the Speaking and Listening final test.

Like any other teacher, I also had my Teacher’s Day. I was so warm to receive the unexpected visits of my students and their parents on that day at my newspaper and home. Because of my teaching experience, a close friend of mine, still prefers to call me “Ms Teacher.”

And believe it or not. I fell in love with a newly-graduated law student who chose to become a teacher, when I was in my last semester in college. I became his English tutor after graduation. I became his sweetheart after finishing tutoring him. I become his fiancee before he went to study abroad, I became his wife after he came back to Vietnam. And I became his best friend before I went to America. Now I am proud to be the best of his best friends.

For 13 years, I can tell how dedicated, clean and strict he has been as a teacher,the same as my Father and Uncle. I think he has done an excellent job as an instructor at Can Tho University. I believe that he will always be one of the favorite teachers in his students’ eyes.

Again, Happy Teacher’s Day to all my dearest Father, Uncles, Teachers and Friends. I wish you all the best.

(Vietnamese Teacher’s Day, November/20/2012)


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