An Australian Teacher Works in a Class with Disabled Children

On a visit to Vietnam more than a year ago, Australian Jodie Patterson heard from a friend about a special class for children with disabilities, visual impairment, Downs syndrome and autism. She wanted to help these children practice English and since then has worked in the class. The class, which is held at the Sport Talents Club in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, aims at helping children with difficulties to integrate into the community.

Every Thursday morning, Jodie Patterson and her friends go to the Sport Talents Club to teach English free of charge for disabled children in a class full of enthusiasm and joy.

She said: “My younger sister is disabled, she could not walk and speak and she has to use a wheelchair so I understand and sympathise with the children in this class. I want to help them within my capabilities.”

Jodie teaches children English speaking skills with simple and practical lessons. She acknowledged that her teaching is slow and understandable with proper methods in order for the children to acquire.

Australian Jodie Patterson is a volunteer English teacher
for disabled children at the Sport Talents Club in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.

She shares her love for foreign languages with disabled children.

Jodie uses visual aids to help children understand her lessons.

Jodie welcomes her special students as family members.

Jodie at the special class for disabled children.

Jodie helps a blind student to read Braille books donated by her friends.

Jodie uses available equipment and tools to teach children.

A joyful music lesson of foreign teachers and Vietnamese students.

Students are eager in the class’ activities and gain some improvement.

A student with English flashcards provided by the teachers.

Jodie tries to teach slowly and understandably so her students can understand the lesson.

Children are more and more confident in speaking English.

Lessons are full of fun and laughter.

The joy of volunteer teachers in the special class.

With Jodie in the class are Frenchman Jean Marc and his wife, American Amber, British Alan Murray, Vietnamese Phuc Son and Thanh Loan. All want to contribute to helping these children study and be entertained. Based on personal schedules, they take turns to go to the class to teach and play with children.

The teachers also donate specific English materials as well as supportive equipment and machines for children so that the kids can receive the most of each lesson. The class is always full of laughter and happiness.

Whenever she goes back to the US, Amber tells her friends about the special class and then on her trip back to Vietnam, her friends donate a lot of books and study materials to help the children.

Seeing the children becoming more and more confident in English conversation and taking care of each other, the teachers are pleased. Among them, Bich Tuyen, Mac Dang Mung, Bich Lien and Dang Hải are the ones with the most improvement, they can also help others who are slower in studying.

Nguyen Thien Chi (District 11, Ho Chi Minh City), Nguyen Bich Lien’s father, said: “I have found that my daughter is more confident in conversation with foreigners. I am really grateful to the volunteer teachers in the class for their enthusiastic care for our children”.

For Jodie, she always feels happy and motivated when going to the class, and learns much from her students. Therefore, she hopes to work for a long time to help children as well as to see them to quickly integrate into the community and lead a decent life.

Story: Son Nghia – Photos: Thong Hai