Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Jan 16th
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Home Our Missions Mission of Education A Humanitarian Education - A humanitarian education

A Humanitarian Education - A humanitarian education

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A Humanitarian Education
A humanitarian education
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A humanitarian education
Every Thai teacher that is hired to work at the school must undergo a six-month Tzu Chi training program in Taiwan before they start teaching. It is hoped that they will return to Thailand to serve as a positive influence on the students and help create good traditions at the school.

Pacharee Deejing, a Thai teacher at the school, remarked that the six-month training program had a profound impact on her. She admitted that she often used to resort to corporal punishment or yell at students if they couldn't remember what she taught. She would even look down on the slower students. "But then I went to Taiwan for the training program, and I saw how the teachers at Hualien Tzu Chi Elementary School used praise instead of punishment to teach students. The effect was marvelous. That's when I realized the importance of a humanitarian and ethical education as is stressed in every Tzu Chi school."

Many families in northern Thailand live in poverty. Students who come from poorer families tend to compare themselves with richer students and complain about their inferior situation. In order to correct their negative attitudes and encourage them to embrace a positive outlook on life, the school arranges for students to participate in volunteer activities and to follow Tzu Chi volunteers on their visits to aid recipients and nursing homes.

Deejing said that after a few such visits, there is a visible change in many of the students. "Seeing is believing. Instead of telling students how fortunate they are, we take them to see how others live. They learn to cherish what they have after seeing the suffering of the needy." The approach works wonders. Students often tell Deejing that they feel fortunate after such experiences because they have parents to look after them and they have everything they need.

Anyone who visits the school can see how well-mannered the students are. For example, students stop chasing each other and bow respectfully to passing elders; they help their teachers bring materials to the classroom before a class begins; and when an exam is over, they help their teachers collect the exam papers, put them in order, and place them on the teacher's desk.

With a reputation as a school that fosters upright character and refined manners, the Chiang Mai Tzu Chi School is attracting more and more students. Many parents want to send their children to this school. At every transfer exam, there are always more students wanting to enter the school than vacancies available. Only 12 spaces were opened for the second grade this year, and they were all filled.

March 15 was graduation day this year. A total of 36 students graduated. Thirty-three of them will go directly to the junior high school section of the school. One of the graduates, Wirawan Sa-nguansakchai, burst into tears when she expressed her gratitude to her teacher. She said that in the past, she slouched when she walked, talked with food in her mouth, and often left the water running after washing her hands. "Now I don't do those things anymore. If I hadn't met such a wonderful teacher, I wouldn't have become what I am today. Our teacher treated us like her own children and devoted herself wholeheartedly to educating us."

Her mother was delighted to see her transformation. "I want to thank the school and the teachers for giving me a wonderful daughter."

Wirawan couldn't speak a word of Chinese when she first entered the school three years ago, but today she is the student who has made the most progress. She has even learned to type in Chinese.

Supportive parents
Most of the students at the school wear uniforms that are much bigger than the size they should be wearing. This reflects the modest financial situation the students are in. They have learned that they can wear bigger uniforms longer because they won't outgrow them as quickly. No strategy to conserve money is overlooked here.

The teachers at the Tzu Chi school make an effort each semester to visit the home of every student to learn the condition of each family. Most of the families live modestly; some can only afford to pay the tuition fees in installments.

"A friend told me that the Tzu Chi Foundation based in Taiwan was devoted to doing good deeds and that it had built a school here," said Weera, a Thai who had enrolled his son in the Tzu Chi school. Weera sells snacks in the market. Although he has a mortgage to pay and is financially strained, he insists that his son, Apisit, should receive a good education. Weera is supportive of the school. He even goes with Tzu Chi volunteers to visit aid recipients and help clean up their homes or build houses for them. He wants to be an example for his son. He wants his son to become a kind-hearted person who loves to help other people.

Weera feels nationality isn't an issue when it comes to doing good deeds. It's not surprising that he is training to become a Tzu Cheng Faith Corps member.

When Mrs. Yang and her husband heard that the Tzu Chi school was recruiting students, they traveled for three hours through the mountains to visit the school. Mrs. Yang is originally from Yunnan, China, so the emphasis on Chinese language instruction is important to her. They took to the school immediately. They were impressed with the new buildings and were pleased to discover that the teachers and staff members were all very polite and friendly. "The school focuses on learning Chinese as well as on guiding students to become decent people. This makes it stand out from other schools."

They decided to move down from the mountains so that their children could study at the Tzu Chi school. With her three children going to school at the same time, it used to be a big headache when it came time to pay the school tuition. Fortunately, the Tzu Chi school allows parents to pay the tuition in installments. Mrs. Yang pointed to a tiny figure of the Great Compassion Bodhisattva hanging from her neck and a Buddhist rosary on her wrist. She said they were gifts from some of the teachers at school. When the teachers discovered that she was very worried about her children's tuition fees, they expressed care for her and often spent time talking to her. "They hoped the Bodhisattva would bless me so I could be happier," she says.

Mrs. Yang said that her three children had all changed for the better since coming to the school. Her oldest son, Song-wu (楊松武), has studied at the school for three years so far, and his temper has greatly improved. After school, he even helps her sweep and mop the floor at home. Mrs. Yang pointed to her youngest son, still in her arms, and said that she would also send him to the same school in the future.


The Beauty of the Jing Si Abode


Are you prepared to put your kindness into actions and join Tzu Chi in promoting the goodness and beauty of mankind?
You are always welcome to join our Tzu Chi’s Great Love missions by becoming a member or volunteer. Please contact the Tzu Chi location near you.

" It is meaningless to demand others’ respect. Only the respect inspired by the goodness of our character is real and true. "
Jing-Si Aphorism