Disabled teacher with a passion for maths

Created 17 October 2020
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Nguyễn Đức Trường is a maths teacher at Đa Tốn Junior School in Hà Nội’s Gia Lam District. He is loved by his students not only for his knowledge, but also for the extraordinary energy he uses to overcome a physical condition he suffers.

Teacher Nguyễn Đức Trường and students of Đa Tốn Junior School, Hà Nội during the break. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Đức Trường is a maths teacher at Đa Tốn Junior School in Hà Nội’s Gia Lâm District. He is loved by his students not only for his knowledge, but also for the extraordinary energy he uses to overcome a physical condition he suffers.

In early October, Trường was honoured among ten other individuals with the title "Excellent Citizen in 2020" by the Hà Nội People's Committee.

School principal Nguyễn Đức Tuấn said: “Although Trường has health issues, he always tries his best to overcome all his difficulties. He is at the forefront of his profession, and his performance in everything he does is exemplary.”

Trường, 47, was born with muscle atrophy in his feet due to the effects of the Agent Orange/Dioxin that infected his father during the American war.

Walking was difficult for him as a child, and he had to ask his relatives for help. Thanks to acupuncture to alleviate his illness, he learned to walk and started going to school.

Throughout his childhood years, Trường inherited a love for maths from his father, who also became a teacher after leaving the army.

That love had been nurtured since then, not only to equip him with knowledge but also to provide him with the skills he needed to bring him to the noble profession of teaching, according to Trường.

He graduated from the Hà Nội College of Education in 1993 and started working at Đa Tốn Junior School.

In 2001, he continued his studies at the Hà Nội National University of Education to increase his professional competence.

He said many students thought maths was difficult and boring, but thanks both to his teaching experience and passion for the subject, he has developed flexible teaching methods that stimulated and encouraged students' sense of initiative and ability to self-study.

During class hours, students are encouraged to express their personal opinions and debate, and asked to research, collect and classify homework assignments in order to share them in class.

“In order to make maths more appealing, I introduce practical problems in life. These are the fun maths problems, the puzzle of building a road or house that is something children from rural areas can relate to.”

"Students are very interested in these types of exercise because they are easy to understand. This has helped them develop a love for maths and they are passionate about it," he said.

Many of his students are determined to become maths teachers and follow in the footsteps of their teacher to pass their passion on to the next generations.

Trường remembers a thin student named Nguyễn Thọ Tùng who was part of a maths team that competed at district-level competitions.

“One day, he brought an assignment to my house to ask about the problems he was working on,” Trường said. “I recognised he was special and encouraged him to pursue his passion for maths.”

Tùng was later selected for an Internationals Math Competition, and he continued to nurture his passion. “Currently, Tùng is studying for a doctorate in the US and we still regularly exchange new findings about mathematics,” said the disabled teacher.

Some students have won top prizes at national and city-level maths competitions.

Others have been accepted by specialised high schools, such as the Hà Nội-Amsterdam High School for the Gifted, and the High School for Specialised Science (Hà Nội National University).

Trường is now head of maths at Đa Tốn Junior School, where he and his colleagues work hard to come up with innovative topics and teaching methods to improve their students' skills.

In total, 24 district-level and 13 city-level initiatives adopted by his school have earned Trường recognition.

He also writes articles for magazines and maths reference books.

"The lectures I have carefully recorded and experiences I have drawn from many years of teaching are included in those articles and books," he said.

His school principal said Trường spread a love for the profession among the other teachers at the school, which was an example of his determination to overcome difficulties for generations of students. — VNS

Source: VNN