Teachers not only give us knowledge at school, but also are the inspiration for us, especially filmmakers, to become the best version of ourselves in our tough and risky career. Let’s find out interesting stories of “the inspirational humans” – Mr. Thien and Mr. Tuan, and their students, also our talented Terryh – Editor, and Summer – Senior Producer.
Different teachers are inspired by multiple unlikely sources to step into the profession.
To Mr. Dong Van Huu Thien – Terryh’s teacher, also an English teacher at Tran Dai Nghia High School for the Gifted, everything comes to him like fate. He says that the profession chooses the teacher, but the teacher has no intention of choosing the profession. Recalling when he was 12, in the midst of facing the admission papers to the University of Education and Banking University, Mr. Thien thought that as an introvert, it would be more suitable to become a teacher than a bank employee.
And to Mr. Pham Dinh Tuan – Summer’s U70 Literature teacher, the perspective is different. “A teacher is an idol in the eyes of many generations of students, a benefactor of parents. Isn’t that the most interesting motivation to constantly develop and become the best teacher ever?” – Mr. Tuan discovers his dedication in the teaching profession through the process of practicing and expresses an interesting aspect of being a teacher.
Photo: Mr. Pham Dinh Tuan (left) and Summer Doan (right), 2009.
Mr. Thien and Mr. Tuan have found inspiration in their teaching career from unexpected moments. And in the most unexpected way, they inspire their student to be successful in her future life and chosen career, even from the most little moments of teachers and students.
Then let’s discover how the inspiration Terryh and Summer get from their teachers help them to succeed in their chosen filmmaking career.
Q: Can you share some memorable moments or valuable lessons from your teachers that motivate you in your filmmaking career?
Terryh: I wasn’t an excellent student then. I found it very difficult to stay focused, especially on theoretical subjects. I was even stressed when I could not catch up with my classmates. However, in Mr. Thien’s English class, I was encouraged to choose to learn what I like. Mr. Thien always motivated and inspired me to explore new things. The important thing was he always tried to make the lessons more interesting, especially by showing us various films (I think that his activity keeps me attracted to movies and heats up my passion for filmmaking). Thanks to him, I constantly realize during the filmmaking class that it’s okay to do what I love, no matter how tough and unconventional it is.
Summer: What I remember most is when I took the Graduation exam, I didn’t think I would be determined to go to the School For The Gifted of my choice. But having seen my potential, Mr. Tuan encouraged me to take the entrance exam for the School For The Gifted. He was also the first person to call and inform me about the results. Since then, my life has followed the crossroads of art and literature. He was not the one who directed me to the filmmaking industry, but he was the one who motivated and helped me, inspired me to strive to become the talented filmmaker as I am today. Mr. Tuan is very loved and respected by students, the reason is not only because he is an excellent inspirational teacher who burns the fire within each student, but also a friend to share and exchange daily stories with. I really want to have him by my side in every stage of life.
Q: How do you apply those lessons in your filmmaking career?
Terryh: Mr. Thien indirectly teaches me that I must do everything with all my heart, how to create an output as vivid as possible (for example, he can just simply assign me to the grammar exercise, but no, he also teaches about the culture and origin of each grammar structure so that students can understand the lesson better and remember it longer). When I go into the filmmaking industry, I always want to work with enthusiasm like him, keep pushing myself to produce the most meaningful and perfect film. When I meet him again in the future, I really want to show him how successful a filmmaker I am now, my journey to reach this position, and most importantly, how I am different from “a non-motivational me” like before.
Summer: Me and Mr. Tuan always talk about literature and language in every conversation. Every New Year’s Eve, when I visit him, we “chirp” about different kinds of stories, including the stories of our life. I think by sharing stories, we can understand each other, the meanings of life and gather many meaningful narratives. This helps me to have a closer look into life to tell impactful stories in successful films. My teacher also teaches me that: “There are joys and sorrows in every profession; you have to try to get rid of sadness, and to find and cultivate joy, even though you might not succeed, you still gain more than you lose”.
Q: Any appreciative words you want to express to your teacher, especially on Teachers’ Day?
Terryh and Summer: We really appreciate the inspiration that the teachers give us. We just have one simple hope that you will always be happy in your life. We have been saying this for so many times, but we won’t ever stop: “Happy Teachers’ Day! We cannot say how lucky we are to have you as our teachers!”
There will surely be “inspirational humans” in our life, and it will never be too late to honor them. In this article, we also want to express our deep gratitude towards Mr. Thien and Mr. Tuan for sharing your interesting and emotional stories of teaching life. Hope that you will maintain your dedication to “grow” many more generations of talented students.