Education: Teachers, the Change Agents in Students’ Lives
For the first time in Thailand, a region-wide award ceremony event will be organized, with an intention to recognize the contributions of teachers who have fostered changes in the lives of their students. The candidates will be pooled from the 11 countries in the Southeast Asian region, each to be received a royally-bestowed trophy from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on 2 October 2015. The event is a collaboration of many parties, with the Quality Learning Foundation as the main host.
Students from the participating countries are encouraged to write stories of the teachers who have created a significant impact in their lives. Dr. Kulachat Julpenkrua, lecturer at Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi’s Departemnt of Food Science Technology, shared a story that he wrote about his teacher.
“I grew up in an impoverished family, without much financial or educational resources, because my parents were separated. When I was studying in Prathom 3-4, I was a mischievous child and a truant. For this reason, teachers played a very important role of filling the emptiness that was a big part of my life back then,” said Dr. Kulachat.
He shared that his primary school’s head master handed him the opportunity to continue his secondary education in the provincial school. This quota was actually meant to be handed to the student with good academic performance; but he ended up getting this opportunity.
“My secondary school math teacher taught me about responsibility, to persevere and stick with what I disliked until I could overcome it. Then, my mechanics teacher saw me collecting trash and selling it for pocket money; he told me to give him a massage and paid me some money. He said that he didn’t want to give me the money directly. I felt good and decided to continue my study in mechanics at a technical college, where I met another teacher who also provided me with many opportunities to train and continue my education in the higher vocational level,” he said.
“The teacher whom I will never forget is Kru Chalit Mathurosmontri, lecturer at RMUTT’s Faculty of Engineering, because he’s been like a father figure and mentor. I have never felt that I had a father. Kru Chalit was there for me when I needed help and support. He inspired me to continue my study in the master and doctoral levels and is my role model,” he elaborated.
Dr. Chalit concluded that teachers play a very important role in Thai education system, because many times, they assume more than just the teaching role. “This, of course, means that teachers are overworked, but it’s a crucial job to provide a firm foundation,” he said.