More than a Teacher

By Maykl Hovhannesyan

Mher Davtyan, 29, was born in the Northern part of Armenia, in the city of Vanadzor. He received his bachelor’s and first master’s degrees at Vanadzor State University majoring in the field of philology. In 2014, Mher decided to apply to the MA TEFL degree program at the American University of Armenia in search of new opportunities to experience innovative method of teaching that was new to him.

Mr. Davtyan believes that during his study years before AUA he wanted to be a History teacher, but during his study years at AUA, he came to a mind that he admired teaching English. AUA empowered Mher and gave him the opportunities that he could never wish for. “I was successful enough in my life because I could always find right people at the right place and Dr. Rai Farelly and Rubina Gasparyan were such examples at AUA,” claims Mher.

Mher was invited to work as a teacher at experimental English classes in Yerevan, and while working here, he had the idea of going back to Vanadzor and extending that program in his region. “I shared my idea with Mrs. Rubina Gasparyan, and the very first question she asked was “Do you really want to go back?” because many people come to AUA to study and not many people try to go back to their communities and try to develop their region,” remembers Mher. There was a high risk that the education that Mher attained at AUA would have been worthless if he returned to Vanadzor and began introducing new ways of teaching to the community. However, Mher had the dedication and faith that he would succeed and, eventually, he successfully started AUA Extension’s project-based English courses program in Vanadzor.

After achieving the first dream of his career, Mher does not want to stop contributing to his community in Vanadzor and the educational system of Armenia in general. He, along with his best friend, plans to publish a comprehensive handbook addressed to English teachers working in Armenia shortly. He thinks that the handbook is a takeaway example from the University of Minnesota, where he was participating as a representative of Armenia in the educational exchange program. But, as a long-term goal, Mr. Davtyan plans to build a school in his community. “My first inspiration is the future of this country because when you are in the region, and you see more than 30% of poverty, you think you should do everything to support the kids and help them do better,” states Mher. The idea of building the inclusion-based elementary school in Vanadzor was born because of his 4-year-old son. Mher intends to create the school not only for his son but also for the other children in Vanadzor who deserve receiving a high-level education.

Mher believes that education is the essential step to changing things in Armenia. “No revolutionary change will happen in the near future, things will change slowly, and education is the first thing to start the changes with,” ends Mr. Davtyan.

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