Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teachers Day in Bhutan

The public health students exhibit an incredible motivation and sense of responsibility to give back to their country for the education they are provided by the government.  On “National Teacher’s Day” the students dedicated songs, dances and speeches to the teaching faculty of the Institute which gave me some cultural insight into the Himalayan concept of devotion to the teacher.   Even on the mundane level of teaching public health, students professed that “the teacher is everything to us – as important as our mother or father”.  Another warned her fellow students, “just an instant of disrespect for the teacher can lead to rebirth as a dog 500 times!” 
Hmm, no pressure, but I better deliver here, I thought. Followers of Buddhist lamas follow with great devotion as a personal discipline and to inspire their lama to teach them - so too the students inspire their public health teachers.

It's a little different teaching in Thimphu compared to Australia.  The students stand up when you enter the classroom with a "good morning sir!", make coffee for you during the break, and almost die of embarrassment if they forget to turn their mobile phone off - not that this is necessary or anything...

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