If you visit Duc Tho town’s nursery school you might see a man carefully spoon-feeding children and covering them with blankets.
He is Luong Xuan Phong, believed to be the only male nursery school teacher in Vietnam.
Phong did not choose the career. He was trained instead as a musician. After the training course, he ended up in Military Zone No 4. However, soon he had to move to another group after the ensemble decided that it no longer needed him.
However, Phong went onto experience many other kinds of jobs, including being a photographer. In 1995, Phong decided to go to HCM City, a quite unfamiliar place for him. There, in the city, Phong had to take all sorts of jobs to earn a living, from tailoring to vehicle driver and porter.
“I can speak English well and I have good knowledge about life because I spent many years in HCM City taking different jobs and learning the hard way,” Phong said.
In 2001, Phong decided to return to his home village in Ha Tinh province and played instruments at festivals and wedding parties in the small town to earn a living
Phong said the was lucky to be invited by head teacher of Duc Tho Nursery School to work for the school. Nguyen Thi Phuong, the headmaster, realized that Phong was a good instrumentalist and great with children. At first, Phong only played and taught music . He later also took the job of a security guard. Even with a low income of 300,000 dong a month, Phong gave his time freely in helping the young children.
Head teacher Phuong is impressed by the only man at the school – now a fellow teacher. “Teacher Phong can play musical instruments, speak English and play badminton. He is very enthusiastic,” she said.
Meanwhile, Phong said that he had realized after a great deal of travelling that school is the best place for him. He feels comfortable there. He can play music and take care of children.
“When I first came there, the teachers here joked that I would not find a wife if I take a job that is taken only by women,” Phong said.
However, Phong has married an English teacher of Yen Tran secondary school.