I had more than one year working at CoderSchool as a member of the Academic Team. My job involved preparing materials and teaching our students the necessary knowledge and skills to get them ready for the job market. However, I wouldn't exactly call myself a teacher, as I believe it takes much more than that to be one. In the past, I had the privilege to be taught by many wonderful teachers, who not only inspired us to pursue our dream but also were role models because of their kindness and diligence. Three years later after my graduation, only when I took part in a similar role did I truly realize how hard it must be to be a teacher!
So in this special blog post to celebrate the Vietnamese Teacher's Day, I would like to take the opportunity to have a closer investigation, with the help of data and visualization tools, into the difficulties and struggles of Vietnamese teachers in their mission to educate generations of students.
The Pupil-Teacher ratio shows the average number of students that a full-time teacher takes care of. This statistic in Vietnam has been growing significantly over the last 5 years, especially between Grade 1 to 9. Higher Pupil-Teacher ratio generally means great workloads and more responsibilities for teachers.
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Another important factor that reflects the pressure that teachers have to suffer is working hour. Data collected from a survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2018 ranked Vietnam 6th among 37 countries in teacher's weekly working hours. A Vietnamese teacher has to work 46.8 hours per week, 17% higher than the OECD average.
Impacts of Covid-19
Back to the beginning of March this year, CoderSchool had to switch to online classes due to the influence of Covid-19. Grade schools in Vietnam were closed a few weeks before we did, and universities soon followed. Nevertheless, many schools nationwide soon adopted online teaching. I still remember vividly how challenging it was for our team to maintain a good teaching quality in a completely different teaching environment. Despite only going through the period briefly, I could partly feel how much of a struggle it was for many teachers in Vietnam, who continued their works virtually. A recent study of 294 Vietnamese teachers uncovered the impacts of the pandemic to their work and life, financially, physically as well as mentally.
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While the respondents were under little stress teaching online, many of them felt a much higher workload during this period. This is most likely due to the additional works required to redesign the lectures and logistics around managing virtual classes. The increased workload, combined with long and continuous screen time could be the major factors that led to a decrease in their physical health.
Covid-19 caused significant damage to the national and global economy. Unfortunately, a large number of Vietnamese teachers also had to suffer financially due to schools being closed down. The same study reported salary cuts among more than 60% respondents, some by a great deal.
Each level corresponds to ~$0-$200 increase/decrease in salary.
Despite numerous problems and difficulties, the pandemic may present a silver lining in the opportunity to develop e-learning as a supplementary method for delivering education. And teachers are the front line in this adaptation.
From this short blog, I would like to extend the most sincere appreciation to teachers all around Vietnam and the world, for their continuing and indispensable contribution to the development of the society. Happy Vietnamese Teacher's Day!
You can view the full version of this report here.