From the Office
Here we feature another hero – Mr. Somwang Insupha – a Laotian teacher who is highly admired for going beyond his duties to create transformative learning experiences for his students.
Somwang has been teaching Music and Performing Arts at Pang Hai Secondary School for almost six years. Located in northern Laos, the school has been supported by Child’s Dream since 2013 through various projects including school building, boarding houses and a water system. As a model school, Pang Hai has empowered many marginalised students with well-managed curricula and extracurricular activities. Much of this is down to Somwang who constantly develops opportunities to alleviate the students’ hardships.
In class, he enables students to enjoy learning through well-prepared and interesting materials and student-centred activities. Such practice is rare among the usual traditional teacher-centred methods in Laos. He respects individuality and encourages students’ voices in defining what they are interested in studying.
He also sees importance in student engagement outside class. Living in boarding houses, he saw impoverished students struggle with hygiene and poor management. Together with the students, he drafted plans to ensure a high level of amenity as students volunteered as on-site managers, promoting leadership and ownership. The majority of boarders needed to visit their families weekly for food supplies, despite the distance and danger. He therefore requested permission to plant vegetables and raise livestock on campus, allowing students to ensure sustainable and healthy food supplies.
At the moment, Somwang is teaching students how to weave so as to help improve their capacity in vocational skills. The school now plans to produce bags as souvenirs for visitors, a means to also generate income for the school as a whole.
When asked why he became a teacher, Somwang recalled his kind and caring primary school teacher, his great teaching techniques, and how he was selfless in helping students in need. Coming from an impoverished household, Somwang felt accepted, safe and motivated to study. That defined for him what a wholesome teacher was, and inspired him to become one who can bring hope and create space where students can grow to their potential.