Vannavimone Keodara-Sotakoun, also known by her nickname “Ting," is a first grade teacher in Corona, California. She came to the United States with her family when she was only seven.
In a recent interview with VOA, Ting says…”I came from a large family, with eleven siblings. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I got my inspiration from my mother who
was a teacher back in Laos. Of all twelve children, I am the only one who wants to be a teacher like Mom. When we first came to US, we did not speak English at all, but we’d teach each other by playing house being teachers and students. Sometimes I would be a student; other times I would be a teacher. The feeling of wanting to be a teacher started from there.”
During high school, Ting grabbed at any opportunity to teach. She taught Sunday schools and church activities. She also worked as a teacher assistant while going to college so that she could stick close to the job she loves and also tested out whether that really was what she wanted to do in life.
She explains to VOA that…”Being a good teacher is not easy. You have to love what you do. You have to love being around children, to want to bring out the best in them and be a great example to them. I am a mother of two and I value education. I see education as a tool and a good foundation for children to prepare themselves for the future.”
“No Child Left Behind” is one of the President George W. Bush’s education policies that promote and support education. Every child in America needs to be educated regardless of her/his
residency status. Ting says it is a great policy that would help every one get an education, but at the same time that policy makes it very difficult for all teachers to bring all children who have different background to the same level.
In conclusion, Vannavimone says that, “Teachers have so many roles and responsibilities in bringing up students and prepare them for a bigger world ahead, but the main responsibility rests with parents. I highly recommend parents to get involved and participate in their children’s interests and school activities, to be aware and stay close to their children. Parents do have an important role in their children’s education. They don’t have to be able to speak English in order to help their children as long as they are involved in their children’s activities and teach them to value education in order to better themselves in life.”
Listen to our audio file for more details.