The teacher who ’empathizes’ with thousands of unruly students for 30 years.

Students, despite being judged weakly by other schools, suffering from social evils, having different personalities … are all accepted by teacher Nguyen Tung Lam.

On the morning of November 19, Dinh Tien Hoang High School was crowded with parents to congratulate Vietnam Teachers’ Day. At  the meeting with the Chairman of the School Board – Dr. Nguyen Tung Lam, the parents excitedly told  how their children had changed.

“My children used to talk less, but now they are more confident. Coming  home from school, he happily helps parents doing house works, he seems happier than when he was at  famous school,” one parent said. The 75-year-old president, white-headed with a smile on his face said: “Students who change positively are what I’m most happy about”.

Dr. Nguyen Tung Lam – Chairman of Education Council, co-founder of Dinh Tien Hoang High School (Hanoi). Photo: Quynh Trang.

The school that does not select students

In 1989, at  the school year closing ceremony of  Hanoi’s education sector, Vice Chairman of the City People’s Committee at that time, Ms. Tran Thi Tam Dan, expressed concern about the quality of moral education for students, since  after  Doi Moi (renovation), the economy had just opened, a part of students appeared to be playing around instead of studying.

At that time, Mr. Nguyen Tung Lam, Chairman of the Union of Hanoi Education, proposed opening a school to accept and teach students who had been expelled  to solve pressing problems for the capital’s education. More than 2 months later, Dinh Tien Hoang Private High School was approved to establish.

With the concept that the mission of education is to teach all students in need, Dinh Tien Hoang High School operates on a non-selective input model. Students, despite their poor academic conduct, social evils, and different personalities … who were rejected by other schools, had been accepted by Dinh Tien Hoang high school. Number of these students who was called by teacher Tung Lam “students with difficulty in studying and practicing morality” accounts for 20-30% of the school’s total students. Because of that, the school is also nicknamed ” horrify Dinh “.

At some points, school administrators had to call mobile police to supervise the school to prevent students from fighting. Many teachers who had only worked for one week have quit their jobs because they cannot stand the unruly, threatening and challenging students.

“But I believe that with a kind-hearted  view and method,  with respect to the students, plus the good teachers, we will be able to help them,” said teacher Nguyen Tung Lam. He has built a team of dedicated homeroom teachers with professional competence, paid them high, and given them space to create new teaching methods. Teacher Lam himself also studied for masters and doctorates  to improve the management capacity,and to research more effective educational methods.

Non-selective input, Dinh Tien Hoang High School is committed to the output that students can learn by themselves, have good qualities, have the ability to achieve school goals and be trusted and used by their families and society. Therefore, life skills education has become a highly recommended content in the school.

Students who do wrong do not get criticized but are asked to think about their actions. “We do not classify students on counting mistakes and violations they have made, but look at the good things they have done. In particular, the students are not compared to each other but only compare themselves to see  how they  improve. “said Lam.

In the student handbook of Dinh Tien Hoang High School (equivalent to a contact book), in monthly self-evaluation sesion has questions: things  you tried to improve yourself in self- learn and creativity / self-respect / confidence …; Positive contributions to the collective; Things to learn from experience …

The evaluation of teachers on the learning and training results of students are only based on  following criteria: Have actively self-taught; There are changes and progress; Need to try more. The ranking of good / fair / moderate / weak conduct is only marked at the end of each semester to “comply with the regulations of the Ministry of Education and Training” – Teacher Nguyen Tung Lam said, if not required, he would not evaluate student morals like that, because that was a way of “labeling” the students which is counter-educational, no advanced country would.

Self-evaluation table of Dinh Tien Hoang high school students on the results of implementing the criteria: self-esteem, self-control, self-confidence, creative and self-learning.

Since 2001, while schools across the country are new to School psychology counseling room pattern, Chairman of Dinh Tien Hoang High School has spent several hundred million VND every year to develop this room with a team of specialized experts.. Dr. Tung Lam understands that the students of the school have a high need to express themselves, so they need a third person to listen and talk back to the head teacher to find a solution. This is also a place to help students to find guidance for their career and help Dr. Lam find effective ways to educate students.

75-year-old teacher revealed that many rich people have proposed the establishment of  a school with the goal of developing a good student team but he refused. Many others discussed that he was foolish to choose a difficult path.

“I really like the philosophy in the song “A human  life – a forest ” by musician Tran Long An: “Everyone chooses the light and easy tasks, who would take the hard ones?”. I take the task of educating students with learning and practicing morals to be fun and I  persist in persuiting it, “he said.

“I have created decent people”

Talking about the results through 30 years of building the school, Principal Nguyen Tung Lam did not mention how significantly the percentage of students graduating or being accepted to university has increased, he told  stories of special students who had become good people, and  he was proud that it was the greatest achievement of his life.

“One day I took a taxi and  the driver was my old student. He said that earning a living makes people not easy to be kind, but with the values ​​learned in school about morality as a humanity, he chose to live a little poor to be kind. That point of view made me very happy, “Lam said.

Parents congratulate and thank teacher Nguyen Tung Lam on November 20. Photo: Quynh Trang.

Another former student in grade 11, because of desiring to play around, had sold a motorbike that his single mother bought for him by the saving from a little drink stall. When the student and his mother went to see the Principal, Mr. Lam asked the student: Who can you live for and who can your mother  live for?

When the student was silent at the second question, Mr. Lam analyzed: Your mother lived because of  you. If  you change to become a good person, your mother will live long. If you hang out instead of  learning your mother will have to live  her whole life miserably selling drink After a day at home thinking, the student came back to school with his little finger cut off. He cut off his own finger to show his determination to change. Later, he went to two universities, went to Australia to study for a master’s degree and became a director of a steel company.

“If anyone asks me if I regret studying at Dinh Tien Hoang High School – a name that  scares many people, I will answer that: I’m happy to study and grow up here … Teachers helped me to understand that knowledge is not everything. My father, who disliked parents’ meetings, after  talking to a school teacher had said: your school is great, “said a former student of 2004-2005 class – the person who’s father had opposed Dinh Tien Hoang High School.

Dinh Tien Hoang Ha Noi High School is founded by 4 people: Former Vice Chairman of  Hanoi People’s Committee Tran Thi Tam Dan; former Director of  Hanoi Department of Education Vu Manh Kha; former Deputy Director of Hanoi Department of Education Nguyen Trieu Hai and teacher Nguyen Tung Lam.

In the first academic year 1989-1990, Dinh Tien Hoang High School had 136 students with 20 teachers. In following years, the number of students  increased to thousands, in school year 1999-2000 received  the peak number more than 2,000 students. The percentage of students who passed the graduation exam for many years is 95-98%, the school year 2017-2018 is 100%.

Currently, the school has nearly 700 students with more than 80 teachers and staff.

The development culture of Dinh Tien Hoang High School is built with the formula:

Vft = đ.t.h ​​- x2. In which Vft is the development of each individual and the school; t is dedication to work, to everyone, to ambition; to the cause of education; h is to learn and cooperate to develop ourselves and the school; x2 is all negative isues to be removed such as conservative, boned, dishonest, unloving, intolerant, non-cooperative.

Minh Anh