Over fifteen plus years I’ve been working as a teacher.: Becoming Minnesotan

Wangyal T. Ritzekura, c.2005.
  • Name - Wangyal Ritzekura
  • Age at interview - 52
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 08.19.2005
  • Tibetan Children's Village classroom, India.  Photo courtesy Wangyal Ritzekura.
    Celebrating India's Independence Day, Tibetan settlement, Kollegal, India, 2009.

    Class & Work

    Education, Tibetan

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    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Class & Work: How important is work in defining a person’s identity?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    There is an extensive system of schools throughout the communities in India where the Tibetan refugees are living.  

    Tibet has been led for centuries by a Dalai Lama, and even in exile the current Dalai Lama continues to provide support and guidance for those refugees—including encouraging young people to get an education.  Any place that the His Holiness the Dalai Lama spent time is considered a place worthy of study and prayer.  

    To learn more about Tibetan history and culture, visit our Tibetan Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Wangyal Ritzekura 1
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    Interviewee: Wangyal Ritzekura (WR)
    Interviewer: Charles Lenz (CL)
    WR:  Over fifteen plus years I’ve been working as a teacher. I worked three years at Bylakuppe. Out of those three years I worked two years as head teacher of a small elementary school and the last year I worked at the main school, which has grades up to eleven and I taught history and English. Then it was 1980. I remember that my dad passed away and there was the need for me to be near my mom. I requested for transfer, which I got very quickly, and so moved to Hunsur in the settlement where I worked for eight years.
    Then on administrative ground I was transferred. So I was transferred. Administrative transfers are not regarded good and I didn’t know it because I was a very hard working teacher. Besides being a teacher I was involved in Youth Congress. I was involved in regional freedom movement committees where I was completely absorbed in community activities and programs. And at times when you do too much work, you know, you are bound to create people who doesn’t...who do not like you very much. For such reasons I was transferred. But then the good thing is I was transferred to the place where a lot of teachers wanted to go. That’s Mussoorie. In the school where I attended as a student. So that was good. 
    CL:  Why did a lot of teachers want to go to Mussoorie?
    WR:  Mussoorie is the first Tibetan school started and it is on a small hill which is called the Hill of...I mean it’s on a very beautiful small hill. Queen of Hills. It’s beautiful. In fact Mussoorie is the place where His Holiness stayed and spent some days first time when he came into exile. And after Mussoorie he moved to Dharamsala which became the headquarter. So it is a very sought after place by teachers.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Noun:  1. The state of being banished from one's home or country.  2. Someone who is banished from one's home or country.

    Verb:  To send into exile.  (exiles, exiling, exiled)

    His Holiness

    A title given to the Dalai  Lama, the supreme head of Tibetan Buddhism and spritual leader of the Tibetan people.


    Adjective:  Complicated.


    Noun:  A colony that is newly established; a place or region newly settled.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 13