Meet Ha Anh Phuong: The First Vietnamese Teacher to Rank in Varkey Foundation’s Top 10 World’s Best Educators

The prestigious Varkey Foundation has named Ha Anh Phuong from Vietnam as one of this year's 10 most outstanding teachers worldwide. This honor, recognized as the 'Nobel Prize in teaching', has acknowledged Phuong's immense commitment to education and her significant contributions to the field.

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The Vietnamese teacher, Ha Anh Phuong, was born in 1991 in Thanh Son, Phu Tho. She was announced by the Varkey Foundation as one of the top 10 best teachers globally in 2020 for her innovative cross-border English teaching model for students from challenging countries. Ha Anh Phuong is the only Vietnamese teacher to be recognized by the Varkey Foundation, which is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” for teaching that honors exceptional educators from around the world.

Who is Ha Anh Phuong - First Vietnamese in Varkey Foundation Top 10 World’s Best Teachers?
Photo: Vietnamnet

To achieve her exceptional teaching skills and become the teacher she is today, Ha Anh Phuong dedicated a lot of effort during her schooling. Since 6th grade, she developed a special interest in English and set a goal of becoming a proficient English teacher and returning to teach in her hometown.

In 2009, Ha Anh Phuong enrolled at Hanoi University. Throughout her four years in college, she consistently achieved high grades and actively practiced English.

She was awarded the Hoa Trang Nguyen Scholarship by the Ministry of Education and Training in 2009 for being a high school valedictorian. Additionally, she was one of 14 Asian students in 2011 to receive a leadership potential scholarship from American International Education IIE.

Who is Ha Anh Phuong - First Vietnamese in Varkey Foundation Top 10 World’s Best Teachers?
Photo: Tien Phong

In her free time, Ha Anh Phuong took up tutoring and worked at an English center. She also worked as a translator for various events. Despite being offered an attractive position as a director and translator by a Pakistani pharmaceutical company, she declined the offer to pursue a master’s degree in English Education.

In 2016, she successfully completed her master’s degree. She then made the decision to return to her hometown and applied to teach at Huong Can High School in Thanh Son district. Recognizing a lack of English language interest among students and parents, Ha Anh Phuong always sought ways to provide them with opportunities to interact with reputable foreign teachers.

This led to the creation of her “Cross-border classes,” which she developed through extensive research using platforms like Skype. She formed professional development groups consisting of English teachers from around the world.

Ha Anh Phuong strongly believes that “when teachers change, students will follow suit.” Along with utilizing information technology, she employs innovative teaching methods such as using movies and projects as teaching tools. She also organized online teaching, even before it became widely known and practiced in Vietnam.

Who is Ha Anh Phuong - First Vietnamese in Varkey Foundation Top 10 World’s Best Teachers?
Photo: Baodantoc

Ha Anh Phuong collaborates with a group of teachers to provide free online English lessons to children in various countries. Every Sunday, she and an Indian teacher take turns teaching children in slums in India. She also dedicates time to teaching Vietnamese culture to children of Vietnamese descent in California, USA.

In July 2023, Ha Anh Phuong achieved first place in the national final round of the 2022 – 2023 information technology-based educational innovation forum with her project “Prevention of violence in cyberspace.” As a teacher, she consistently strives to create a joyful and inclusive learning environment.

Regarding her current English teaching method, Ha Anh Phuong highlights the importance of the happiness index in school. She seeks ways to effectively teach English while fostering a joyful and stress-free atmosphere with the support of technology. Through her teaching, she aims to inspire students to recognize the role of learning English as essential in modern society, beyond exam purposes. She has explored various forms of learning throughout her career.

Charlotte Pho