Tết, besides spending time with friends and family, is the time to reflect, and grow. Trang Hoang, Leadership Development Officer of Teach for Vietnam, reflects on her journey toward the vision that “In 2050, all children in Vietnam will attain an excellent education”.
(Trang Hoang – Ngoài cùng phía bên phải)
It was that mixed feeling when I visited a low-income school in the border and rural areas of Vietnam in 2013, which made me really angry but paradoxically inspired. I felt angry when I saw students studying in harsh conditions, available resources not being leveraged to their best use, and innocent dreams of children getting crumbled each day. Yet those things inspired me to roll up my sleeves and say, “These kids deserve a much better education and I will join the movement of giving them a brighter future”. I knew at that very moment that had a strong belief in how much potential I saw in their beautiful eyes and it dawned to me that educational boost is needed so that these children are no longer magnetized to where they were born…
I wish all kids in the world could be granted opportunities that they deserved… to discover the light within them… a chance to find their true potential. I wish they knew the bigger world out there where there are infinite possibilities for them to find new territories, break new ground, raise the bar and especially find their own greatness. There is so much that I wish I could have left the kids I saw that year with… there is so much more I wish we could leave all kids with. I want to share the beauty of empowering our students to find their light… and in the process… I want my dedicated Fellows to find their own light as well. Taking on the role of Leadership Development Officer at Teach for Vietnam was just a step towards that dream.
Looking into the year ahead, I am envisioning this picture in my head…
All of my Fellows’ students will find the power within themselves and strive continuously to cultivate this power.
They will attain the academic goals set out for them at the start of the year. All of our students will be able to identify their own strengths and areas of development, take ownership of their own learning, show gratitude for the strengths of their peers and appreciate the beauty of differences. They understand that the journey to excellence of each person shall have different patterns. However, what we all share is the passion to try hard, put our best foot forward, not afraid to make mistakes in order to become better every day. Simultaneously, they will develop a stronger bonding with their homeland, their country and strive to make the surroundings around them a better place to live in.
All 16 of my Fellows will work with a strong sense of urgency but never lose sight of positivity and grit. Inside their classroom, they will love their students for who they are and deeply nurture the belief that every child has huge super power within them that needs to be discovered and showcased. More importantly, they will be able to zoom out of their classrooms and actively work with surrounding communities, discuss about big picture that matters in education field.
All 16 of my Fellows will build meaningful visions and ambitious goals, plan purposefully, execute effectively, invest stakeholders, work relentlessly and continuously increase their effectiveness; all in the spirit of cultivating positive classroom environments that are not only shaping their students’ academic achievement but also are oriented to the long-term vision of sustainable skills, values and mindsets. More importantly, they will commit themselves to purposeful teaching that focuses on both teacher actions (what a teacher is doing inside and outside the classroom) and student outcomes (what children are able to do, say and believe) in pursuit of a long-term vision of educational equity and excellence during their fellowship and even beyond.
My Fellows will all be able to engage in healthy discussions and negotiations with regard to the Education landscape of the local province, the country and the world. They will confidently discuss and debate to develop strong initiatives to address the root causes of education inequity.
Lastly, my fellows will be deeply committed to their own personal transformation. Like their students, they will consciously go extra miles to become better people. They will be continuously reflective on their own strengths as well as areas of development and actively seek out ways to leverage their strengths and work on their areas of development. They will strive to become the best versions of themselves possible … both as teachers and as leaders.
As an LDO, I believe that there is a dynamic connection between what teachers can do (their skills and practices), what they believe (mindsets and dispositions) and building a classroom environment that can nurture broadened outcomes for students. I will relentlessly look for transformative teaching practices around the world as my benchmark and fuel our fellows’ energy to make positive changes in their own classrooms. I will celebrate both of their the big and small successes. I will strike the right balance between being warm and strict and I will always seek to understand while maintaining the highest of expectations.
I will truly care about each one of my Fellows both on professional and personal levels. I will provide support to both struggling and successful teachers. I will let them know that the road ahead is not going to be easy but we are all in this journey together with a strong purpose for our children so let’s stand strong in the face of challenges…and for doing so…we will find the enlightening light within ourselves.
Above all, I will continuously ground myself in my vision by keep reminding myself why I took on this role and what is possible. Throughout the year, I will bring myself and my team back to their visions to ensure that they are coming to life. Yet I also understand that this vision needs to evolve day by day, in line with my self-reflections.
Trang Hoang – Leadership Development Officer of Teach for Vietnam