The day offers an opportunity for students to express their gratitude and esteem for their teachers.
Katrina Hiller, a lecturer at the Hanoi-based Goethe Institute, recalls that towards the end of a class last year, a student asked for her permission to go out. Five minutes later, he came back with a bunch of flowers and a small gift tied with a lovely ribbon.
Then, to her surprise, the whole class stood up and sang a song she vaguely understood. She later found out the song is about a devoted teacher. She simply cannot wait for teacher’s day this week.
“In Germany, there is no day like this; so I love this day even more than my birthday,” Katrina says.
For Marlines Borogolotto, also a lecturer at the Institute, every day is teacher’s day. Her class always includes extra-curricular activities like cooking and singing. Last week a student timidly approached her and gave her a lipstick. Gestures like that always make her feel happy she chose Vietnam for her destination.
On friendly terms
Marlines enjoys going out with her students. When she first came to HCMC, she and her boyfriend took Vietnamese lessons but the language seemed beyond her. It was then that she discovered that if she hung around cafés and small shops with her students it was easier to learn Vietnamese.
Kim Young Suk, a junior at the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities, works part-time as a tutor. She and her student often drive around the city on an old motorbike to small eating-places where they could discuss their lessons and enjoy themselves at the same time.
Kim says she has to understand Vietnamese language and culture to be a good tutor.
“I feel I learn as much from my students as they do from me”, she admits.
The tradition of respect towards one’s teacher is deeply ingrained in the Vietnamese mindset. In the process of global integration, with more and more foreign teachers coming to the country, this tradition is reaching out to encompass others too.