According to the survey on Thai children’s dream jobs in 2019, it is found that the teacher profession takes the second place in the top five of most-wanted occupation chart. Teacher is another profession which can directly benefit the society and is recognised as the profession that best contributes to the humanity, second only to physician…because teachers are givers and builders; they build all students from scratches until they realise their full potential and become good members of the society.
“When I was young my favourite dream was to become a teacher. It is the job I would like to do the most.” Jeerapa started with a smile.
Jeerapa Prakitkittikun, or Teacher Sammy, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration Program in Computer Information System (BBA) from Faculty of Business Administration and Liberal Arts, Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna Lampang in 2016. She is currently a government employee in the position of Assistant Teacher at Ban Doi Saeng Border Patrol Police Learning Centre, Mae Hong Son province. Looking back, her house was in a remote area. Her siblings and she, all seven of them, were born with the help of the village’s traditional midwife because going to the public health station from home was difficult. Her family was extremely poor. They lived in a one-storey ramshackle wooden house with a shabby zinc roof. The only two rooms of the house were overcrowded by all family members who must live and sleep in them. The most trouble came when it rained as the roof was leaking, leaving the whole family soaking wet. Their parents were farmers. The produce was just enough for their own consumption. Their regular dish which could be found in every meal was scald vegetables with chili paste. The family mainly lived on non-timber forest products foraged by the parents. Jeerapa wore only used clothes that were passed on from her older siblings because her parents could not afford buying new ones for her.
When she was in grade 3, Jeerapa started getting support from her sponsor through World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)’s Child Sponsorship Programme carried out in Mae Hong Son Project. She was excited to have a brand-new school bag and school uniforms for the first time in her life. Through her years from primary school to junior high school, she received school supplies, warm clothes, and blankets. On a school break, she had opportunity to join a life skills camp. Jeerapa loved to read. She regularly represented the school in an academic skills contests and volleyball competitions. Later, she pursued higher education in a vocational college in town, which meant higher expense. The support she received tremendously lessened her mother’s burdens. Yet, at that time her father became bedridden due to a terrible accident. Her hope for further education became dim. Despite her father’s request for her to quit school, she did not give up on her hope and decided to contact WVFT for help. She eventually got financial aid through the Bachelor’s Degree Project, which supported her tuition fee every year until she completed the bachelor programme.
“Sponsors and WVFT are the hope and the light of underprivileged children. We feel like we have someone to count on. They give us a dream to grow up with aspirations. Without the support from the project, my dream wouldn’t have come true, nor would I have come this far. I thank my sponsor and WVFT.” Jeerapa elaborated upon how much the support meant to her as it enabled her to complete higher education.
“All children are gifted with unique abilities. Some are good at studying while the others do best at vegetable gardening or pig raising. If we don’t simply judge them based on their academic performance, children will develop self-esteem from their own aptness and won’t feel inferior to other children. They will feel encouraged to excel in what they’re good at and can even achieve the betterment.” Jeerapa shared her opinion from a point of view of a teacher.
Jeerapa, the true strong-hearted, high-spirited teacher, has worked at Ban Doi Saeng Border Patrol Police Learning Centre, Mae Hong Son province since August 2016. Today she teaches 8 subjects to the 3rd-graders. The teacher loves kids, enjoys the teaching profession, and upholds the principle of gratitude when it comes to her choice of occupation. That explains why she has chosen to teach in this small school at the border of the country. Because she was once a receiver, she knows how her hope was rekindled when she received the support. She would like to give back to the society based on her capacity as she’s aware that there may not be any future for a vulnerable child if she or he is not granted with any life options.
The smiles of Jeerapa and her students’ are our prize. It is WVFT’s greatest pleasure to serve as a bridge which connects the vulnerable children to sponsors, the givers who expect nothing in return, to pass on their well-wishing to the children, encourage them to realise their full potential, walk on the righteous path, do good deeds from their hearts, and bring well-being to children and their hometown.