Hong Kong International Schools
For today's blog post, I am going to write about schools in Hong Kong. My job is pretty similar as to what I was teaching in Ecuador, middle school social studies at an 'international' school. Just like in Ecuador, my school is mostly local children. That's about where the similarities end. I've taught in Ecuador and the US, and now Hong Kong, and for all you teachers out there: YOU GOTTA GET TO ASIA. Here are some reasons why.
Kids Behave: I think I came off as a hard-ass in the first week of school here because I'm used to having to be a jerk at the beginning of the year to establish who is boss in my classroom. Discipline is a non-issue in Hong Kong schools. I spend zero time worried about classroom management and discipline because the kids just behave. No chaos, acting out, fights, late work, missing assignments, or attitude.
Bell Schedule: As a result of the kids' great behavior, the bell schedule looks a little different. Period 1 ends at 9:20, and Period 2 starts at… 9:20. Classes are back to back and kids are expected to just walk from one class to the next. I asked my colleagues, 'well, what do we do about kids that show up late?' and they just laughed at me. Chinese kids just aren't late. The school day isn't as long because of this.
School Lunch: Yummy Asian food every day. Yes, please! Our school has dumplings, stir fry, a ramen noodle and bbq pork buffet, and various Chinese lunches served at lunch.
Built Up: Instead of a sprawling campus, our school is built up. I go up and down stairs all day. We have rooftop gardens, and pretty views of the sea from the top floors.
Happy afternoon in my classroom
Field Trips: Because Hong Kong is safe, we are able to take our students on many field trips throughout the year. We explore not just Hong Kong, but also all of Asia. Kids go to Malaysia, mainland China, Thailand, etc. When we talk about sustainability, students get to actually go into the community and examine what that looks like in practice.
Technology: Schools in Hong Kong are completely digital, which is way more eco-friendly. Every student has a laptop and we never have to worry about internet or electricity going out randomly. Instead of creating big posters, why not use some graphic design and build a digital flyer using a template on Pages? In the rare occasions when I do need to print something, I don't have to wait in line for a temperamental office lady to make the copies for me (if she feels like it), I just press print on my computer, and then scan my ID on any printer on campus when I'm ready.
Money: The pay is good in Hong Kong. 'nuff said.
I always heard that you have to work really hard in Asia and that some schools will suck everything out of you. I do work hard in Hong Kong, but the big difference for me is that all the work I do in Hong Kong feels worthwhile. It's a really professional, driven, high-achieving place, so you are actually accomplishing a lot, rather than working your ass off doing pointless paperwork or administrative nonsense. All the work I do here has a lot of meaning, and it's makes my job really fulfilling.