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[Vietnamese Teachers' Day -20/11] Mr. Ngo The Hai: “Thank you, our old respectable teacher!”

Post by: trangtrang | 30/11/2014 | 1916 reads

“When your hair turns grey, mine is still black…”

He started teaching our class when his retirement was less than half a semester to come. An old teacher with pepper-and-salt hair entering our class right on Monday morning made us somewhat reserved, as we children then regarded “old” as “boring”: a teacher heading for retirement like him could not teach us interesting things.

He started teaching our class when his retirement was less than half a semester to come. An old teacher with pepper-and-salt hair entering our class right on Monday morning made us somewhat reserved, as we children then regarded “old” as “boring”: a teacher heading for retirement like him could not teach us interesting things.

 

Mr. Ngo The Hai – a veteran Math teacher

 

  We lived through tedious working weeks. His Math periods were not as enjoyable as English periods, or as lively as History ones. He kept on lecturing when we talked to our hearts’ content, sometimes we even nodded off. We asked the form teacher and the parents committee to change the Math teacher, as our class’ Math results was miserable. But then, day after day, he gradually changed our thoughts.
He gave oral grades easily. Really, you only had to do your homework, raise your hand, bring your notebook and solve the problem, and you would get an easy “10”. Thanks to that, our class became significantly livelier. Everyone raised hands enthusiastically, fighting for the chance to go up to the board for good marks. We solved many problems, but never had he not check every numbers carefully before demanding us to copy into our notebooks. He corrected even the colons, and then even refused to give marks so that the mistakes were embedded into our minds.
He was kind, very kind. Probably no one could be as kind as him. He was so kind to be “bullied” by us. When in a good mood, he told us stories to the point that we even neglected the lesson. It was the stories of his first love, then how he met his wife, the feelings when they held hands for the first time. It suddenly dawned on me that our old teacher also had pure and adorable moments.

Mr. Hai and Mrs. Hoa at recess

He taught our class for the whole 2 years of grade 8 and 9. Sometimes we joked:”You’re old, why not stay home and rest but continue teaching!” He laughed “Well, at home I do nothing, teaching on contract does not earn much but I have fun meeting my students. Also, it’s already winter, I’m aged, were I to be late you all sit still and be quiet!”
He was as strict in grade 9 as he was kind in grade 9. He said, ‘you’re ninth graders; you must pull your socks up.’ So the periods become heavier with tens of exercises each week. Each kind of exercise he took pains to collect numerous problems from different books, copied them down for us to do, and then corrected scrupulously. He especially fancied giving us entrance exams to 10th grade from different provinces, as he said “Students in provinces take far more difficult exams, so by taking their exams we can attain valuable experience.” Therefore we get to test our abilities with many exams, from HCM City, Nam Dinh, Hai Phong, Hai Duong to Gia Lai, Binh Dinh. He didn’t know how to use computers or the Internet but for unknown reasons he could collect and keep so many exercises.

He always checked our work carefully.

As examination day drew closer, he became stricter. During his period, at no time were we able to rest. Doing exercises, correcting exercises, and quick tests. He said “You must be tested many times to know your mistakes and fix them!” Every week we had 2, 3 tests and checked

one another’s work. “Every time you check your friends’ work is another chance to draw experience to yourself”- he told us. We gradually recognized the importance of the forthcoming exams, so no one dared to be late; no one dared to skip homework.
During the last Math period, surprisingly, all of us attended, nobody made excuses to make preparations for Nineternal. It’s only natural, as that was not only our last Math period but might also be his last lesson. We sat attentively, but he neither lectured nor asked us to do exercises. Instead, he told us about his student days, then wrote in our autograph books. We, the mischievous students, were deeply moved; everyone wanted to give him a long, tight embrace.
Our class’ entrance exam marks to 10th grade was very high – which was unanticipated for a class with only one member in the Math team. That was his efforts, the efforts of strenuous periods, of handwritten worksheets. That day’s last period was not his last one, maybe because his passion for profession and his love for students were still so great!
Thank you, our old teacher!  

Reporter: Phuong Linh Literature 1417

Translator: Phuong Ha A1 1316