Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teachers' Day

May 2nd is Teachers’ Day, and here in Bhutan it is a big deal. Something like Christmas for teachers in Canada. This year it fell on Sunday, which meant we had to be at school at 8:00 this morning, just like any other morning. It was raining this morning, so the whole school met in the MPH (Multi-Purpose Hall). As we made our way there, students were handing out gifts to their teachers. I received 14 pens, a mug, a china bowl with a dragon on it, two mini laughing Buddhas, a rose with a chocolate, and a few lovely notes and cards, with messages like this:

“Dear M’am,
Thank you for coming to our school. We stds (let’s assume she means students, not STD’s), are lucky to have foreign teacher like you who are so nice. You are my extra light coming in my life, glowing it. It will be hard to forget you and I don’t want to forget also.”
~Tshering Lhamo

“Respected Madam Ann,
I wish madam happy teachers’ day and thank you to come to our school to give us your vast knowledge and I wish your year in our school is the best memory in your life.”
~Lots of love from Kuenga Lhamu

“Dear Madam Ann,
Wish you a very, very happy Teachers’ Day. Since you came from Canada and you are been for 2 to 3 months, but so close to our heart. I like you teaching politely and I love you too.”

~Your student, Pema Yangchen

“To my favourite teacher who is Madam Ann. Here I wish you a Happy Teachers’ Day. Enjoy the day ahead la. (La is added as an honorific) You are loved a lot.
~Yours faithfully, Sonam Lhamo

“I would be very greatful if madam would take me to your country.”

~Dawa Pelzom

In the MPH, the grade 8 students were in charge of the program. A few students did eloquent speeches about the importance of having good teachers. The teachers were invited on stage and presented with a khadar, which is a white silk scarf given as a sign of respect. Then there were a few dances and songs by groups of students and individuals. While we enjoyed the entertainment, students served us tea and cake and pop and sweets. The teachers had provided samosas and juice for the kids.

Next it was the teachers’ turn to entertain. I joined with some of the other women teachers to do a traditional Bhutanese dance. Everyone was very pleased that joined in.

Afterwards, the men did a dance. Towards the end of the entertainment, I was asked if I would go on stage and sing a solo. At first I said no, because I had no idea what I would sing, but they were insisting, so up I got. I took two cute cute little PP (preprimary) girls up with me to share the limelight. I asked the audience to all stand. They’d been sitting for a couple of hours, so all 880 of them happily stood up, and I led them through the Hokey Pokey. It was a big hit.

Then the staff had an exhibition badminton tournament. After my turn (played in my kira, tego and onju, and sandals with heels), my Class 6 students asked me to go up to the classroom, along with their other subject teachers for a surprise. The kids had decorated the classroom beautifully. While the girls served more tea and cake and pop and sweets, some of the boys got up individually to sing traditional Bhutanese songs. One of the boys dedicated this song to me. Here is the beginning:

Sleeping Child
Sung by Tenzin Namgay
The Milky Way, up in the heavens,
It’s twinkling just for you,
And Mister Moon he came by
To say goodnight to you.
I’ll sing for you, I’ll sing for mother,
And praying for the world
And for the people everywhere,
Gonna show them all we care.

There were a few more thank-you speeches, and then goodbyes. It was all very sweet. I just wish it hadn’t been on our only day off!

1 comment:

  1. That is so sweet! If I go there, will I be a "madam" too?