With a little experience of tutoring my neighbours’ kids, I started my college life with worries about personal matters as well as future study. I used to feel too intimidated about my English language competence to deliver a speech in front of the crowd, for fear of being ridiculed by the lecturers and friends.
What I had worried most happened at last: oral presentation. It was deemed to be a kind of ”specialty” of our student life, having haunted me a lot in my very first days of making presentation. How clumsy these experiences were! Fortunately, these worries gradually disappeared thanks to generous help of my lovely friends as well as dedicated lecturers who always put their minds to the students and sympathise with our difficulties.
Throughout my study at Faculty of Foreign Languages - HCMUTE, I was fortunate to cooperate with great fellow friends to make progress in oral presentation and group-work. With constant efforts and strong determination, we minimise the weaknesses together. The constructive comments of the lecturers and classmates were always in my mind, encouraging me to try harder to better my skills and dispel my fear of delivering public speeches. It is my pride that making presentation is now one of my strengths, especially in the annual parent meetings; I feel confident and comfortable to share my personal opinions and teaching methods with ease. The school principal has nominated me as a good exemplification of oral presentation style in talking with parents. That triggers me to feel grateful to my former lecturers who gave us opportunities to develop our presentation skills. Special thanks come to Ms. Hua Tran Phuong Thao, who was in charge of the Public Speaking course.
As time goes by, with some valuable experience in tutoring and working part-time as a teacher at language centres, I started my most memorable teaching practicum at HMCMUTE. At this time, I was confident about my public speaking skills and teaching methods after continuous practice in my third year. However, teaching requires more than just understanding of what is written in textbooks. Fortunately, I have opportunities to cultivate my pedagogical skills and develop classroom management techniques with Ms. Tran Thi Phuong Ly - my mentor. Although I designed lesson plans carefully and paid attention to every detail of the lesson, my performance was just an oral presentation. That triggered me to reflect a lot, yet no sources of ineffective lessons I had made was found. Then, with constructive comments of Ms. Ly, I realised that my lessons are purely knowledge transmission, without focusing on students or giving them chances to practice. This learning point has been with me for years. The focus of each lesson has shifted onto the students and what they are able to do, rather than sticking to the schedule in the syllabus. That also helps master my classroom management skills.
Currently, I am working for Vinschool. It is my honour to get the praise from the manager about pedagogical methods and classroom management skills. Also, I has been assigned to supervise some other teachers. The teaching practicum at HCMUTE was not long, but helped me determine my future career and gain valuable experience from senior lecturers and other interns. Now, I have become a distinguished teacher in the eyes of my colleagues, students and parents, distinguished in the aspect of both expertise and managing pedagogical incidents. If you want to know how distinguished I am, feel free to make a visit to my school and ask people about Ms. Phung!
My advice for those who planned to become an English language teacher in the future consists of three key words:
- Devotion: Love your profession and focus on students
- Mind: Be a master of your expertise and creative; train your educational sensibility and soft skills as well as make use of information technology
- Effort: Try your best, nurture positive energy, take risks and acknowledge mistakes
I am still in the process of perfecting myself to make my performance at its best.
I wish all the undergraduate students could best nurture their devotion, mind and efforts to become distinguished.
Nguyen Le Hoang Phung
2014 Alumna, TESOL Program