An elderly paralyzed Vietnamese teacher has spent more than 20 years teaching English to children for free in a suburban district of Ho Chi Minh City.
Nguyen Minh Quang, 69, who is almost completely paralyzed from the neck down, has 22 years of teaching English classes, at no charge, for poor children in Thai My, one of outlying Cu Chi District’s communes.
Although the class only has a small bed of three square meters on which the teacher sits and does not have any tables, it still attracts many students to attend. The students said they really like studying the foreign language.
Before class one day, Vuong Hoang Long, a 6th grader of Nguyen Van Xo Middle School, was seen speaking English confidently with his friends.
Long still tried to speak as fluently as he could, notwithstanding his nervousness causing him to stumble over his words.
The aged teacher spent time studying English in the U.S. and became an English teacher at Nguyen Van Xo until 1990 when a stroke left his body almost completely paralyzed.
Being awake and eager to stand on the podium while his body could not move, the teacher fell into a deep depression. Only one year later, he decided determinedly to start over.
The teacher studied with his youngest son. He strived to write with his weak left hand and learnt lessons by heart to train his memory.
In 1992, for fear of forgetting his foreign language knowledge, Quang offered to teach free English classes for the kids in the neighborhood. That was how the teaching journey of more than two decades began.
Besides tutoring children from seven to eight years old in the morning, the old man also educates adults in the afternoon. At the peak time, he might teach up to seven classes per day.
All the lessons, which do not use many books, are more like conversations between friends in order to cultivate a love of learning English in young children.
In addition to comparing basic language differences between English and Vietnamese, Quang teaches the students a number of tips to pronounce and spell words as well as how to arrange the adjectives and nouns in written and spoken English.
Vo Van Hung, father of Vo Tuan Kiet and Vo Nhat Vy, who studied in the devoted man’s class when they were young, said that in a poor and outlying region like Thai My Commune, it is good to have Quang as an English teacher.
“It’s enjoyable. Teaching helps me still feel useful and proves I am not a burden on my wife and this society. With a little more effort each day, I try to do something new in teaching the children. I’m really happy seeing them gaining a higher level of competence in English,” Quang told of his choice to be a busy teacher.