Andrew Phung’s Twitter feed is an oasis of positivity. This is rare on social media, of course. But it also shouldn’t be surprising for anyone familiar with the actor’s comedy, the happy-go-lucky character he plays on the CBC series Kim’s Convenience or just his personality in general.
So when Phung read something that upset him about attitudes toward Alberta teachers on social media earlier this week, he politely responded with a tweet suggesting it was “disheartening.” He then proceeded to write nearly a dozen posts dedicated to the teachers who had an impact on him as he grew up in northeast Calgary. There are shout-outs to his kindergarten teacher Ms. Dawes, who held his hand on his first terrifying field trip. Ms. Callahan introduced him to the original Star Wars trilogy in Grade 3. Mr. Fisher shared a love of David Letterman and allowed Phung to host a “talk show” in Grade 6. High school homeroom teacher Ms. Pezzente recognized potential in the “funny kid” and encouraged him to “aim high” in all areas of his life. Phung ends the series of tweets with a heartfelt tribute to his wife, Tamara Sharpe, who is also a dedicated teacher. His fans were soon following suit by posting their own tributes to teachers.
“I wanted to shine a spotlight and bring a reminder to me of teachers who made me who I am and taught me the values that I carry with me today,” says Phung. “I love Calgary. I genuinely feel excited when I get back. When I get off that WestJet plane and smell the air, I’m like ‘I’m home.’ When all this happened, when the show broke and I was getting more recognition, I said to myself that I always want to be someone that values where he came from. Calgary will always be part of my narrative.”