Saturday, November 1, 2014


Soooo... I have now been back from Hong Kong for, what, a year and a half now? OMG. And I really do hate myself for this. I have forgotten so much. I have a few notes up to day 12, but I've lost all the interesting anecdotes and tidbits. The emotions that went with everything are hazy. Just... ugh, so upset with myself for not keeping this blog up.
I mean, I KINDA knew this would happen, because the same thing happened with my Japan trip blog. But I started off so well! The problem was, again, that I tried to make it too much. If I had just done simple, small posts... little bits at a time. Tiny thoughts here and there, it would have been awesome. Cause really, we pack SO MUCH into that month. It was amazing. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime thing. But it was also somewhat crushing to me. I had such a hard time when I was there, not necessarily with the whole being in another country thing (although, at times, that was incredibly difficult), but just the actual "work". No one else that went seemed to go through that.
As I said, I've been back for a year and a half, and I completely stagnated since then. I have literally not done a thing since coming home. The experience was awesome, and, as people do, I found out so much about myself through it, but... I also lost myself.
I spent two years in ECE, and even though I was always kind of feeling kind of lukewarm towards the idea of teaching in a preschool, I still just went along assuming I'd get a job in "the field" at least for a little while. Or go back to school to upgrade.
Yeah. That's not happening. Working in Hong Kong kind of destroyed my confidence. Everyone else seemed to slide right in and take initiative and 'do well'. That was not the case with me. I feel like I barely scraped by. The entire time, I felt this weight on me of "I can't do this".
Maybe it's me being exceptionally hard on myself like I always am. Maybe it's looking back and not seeing it clearly. Or maybe, and I think this is really the case... I'm just not meant to teach. Not in that capacity anyway.
So, feeling this way, how can I possibly go out and get a job with my confidence shattered that way? Can't, really...

This was so NOT supposed to be the point in this update. Sorry!
What I meant to come here to say is that I am finally "in the mood" to upload pictures and whatever else I can remember. All posts will be back dated but they won't be written in present tense (except day 7, because I wrote something on that day and saved it in the drafts). That's all. Enjoy!

Oh, check out this video I made for the next batch of interested students. Our group reunited at the 2014 information session to give a presentation. (There is a part 2 but it's pictures of the schools and the kids. I'm not supposed to share that online.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

journal entry #4

reflections journal part 4 ~ homework (5 days late)

We were asked to describe the activity we were most proud of. I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly “proud” of any of the activities I’ve done so far. I am extremely hard on myself and things never go exactly the way I want. I don’t mean that as a control thing – I’m very aware I’m working with children and things never go as planned or expected. That isn’t what I mean. I am pretty flexible and it would take a lot for a group of children to “ruin” an activity in my mind. It’s more that I lack the confidence for things to go as smoothly from my end as I envision. I mentally stutter as I go along. I’ve asked supervisors before about that and apparently it isn’t as bad to others as it is in my head.

All that being said, the activity I feel went smoothly was when I taught the children the song “Pufferbellies” (or Down By the Station). I think that is because I have done this song before with quite a few various groups of children. I was pretty comfortable. I already have that “routine” worked out. Also, music activities are usually what I feel most comfortable doing. Unlike my peers who are here in Hong Kong with me, I actually prefer doing large group activities rather than small group stuff. I grew up in a teacher-directed educational system. It’s what I’m used to. Learning about the High/Scope approach where the kids’ interests are what guide you and your interactions was new to me. I like it, but I need more practice implementing things that way.

So, I sat in front of the group of 28 (supercute) children and reminded them of our “transport” theme and showed them a few pictures of trains. I showed them a steam engine and told them another name for this type of train was “pufferbelly” and linked it to the puff-puff-puff thing trains do. Then I asked them if they knew where trains go at night after they drop off their passengers. I showed pictures of a rail yard. Then I explained that they come back in the morning to start their day and help the mommies and daddies (they don’t seem to use “adults” or even just “people” in my classroom, so I went with what they’re used to) get to work. I showed a picture of another rail yard with trains lined up on many tracks and another of a station with a train ready to go and some people waiting on the platform (envision Harry Potter…).  Then I finally got around to introducing the song. (I know that seems to be a lot of talking and “teaching” but it was only a minute or two.) I sing-said the lines one at a time and demonstrated the actions, explaining what they were if needed. Then I did the whole I sing a line, you sing it back thing. Then we sang along with Sharon, Lois, and Bram while they did their thing on my iPod and (newly purchased from the night market) Beats speaker. Then I did what I always do – we sang through the song a few times increasing the speed each time. I don’t know what it is about kids and “going faster” but they love it, no matter where they are from. One of those universally silly things.

Aother reason I like doing this particular song with kids is that the words aren’t too hard and the actions are very easy. The word to action ratio is great. Even if they can’t sing along, due to language barriers or being too young, or shy, or whatever, all the children can participate in some way. Even if they are just sitting there, listening and watching, they all seemed to enjoy themselves. There was a lot of laughter. I like that.


The activity I would like to change if I were to do it over again would be “Cross the Street”. It looked good on paper. We were going to discuss road safety – the things you need to do before you cross the street (look both ways, wait for the light, go with a friend). I was using The Wiggles’ song “Look Both Ways” as an aid. Then, in pairs, children were going to cross over a construction paper street I made after determining if it was “safe” or “not safe”. (Originally, I had thought to have some children act as cars and go over the road, but that was far too complex.) That IS essentially what happened but it was kind of a mess. It was too involved for the space available. (I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of my classroom yet but it is quite small.) And I didn’t like that the children who were waiting their turn had nothing to do and couldn’t really see what was going on because the street was on the floor.


Based on the activities I’ve done so far (9 – 3 more to do), I’m not really sure what to change going forward. Most of what I would improve on, I don’t really know until I do it. I’m glad I get the opportunity to do my activities twice, although I feel bad for my morning class. The afternoon class gets the benefit of having my “corrected” activity. But even that isn’t much different. The only thing I will definitely try to do is involve more children at a time. There is too much waiting for turns in my classroom. Not just with my activities, but all the time. It is a necessary skill to teach children, especially here in such a highly populated place, but they are still 3-year-olds. I hate waiting for long periods of time with nothing to occupy me and I have 30 years on these kids. I want to be able to keep the most number of children engaged at one time as possible.


The entire time at LHK is an experience. I can’t narrow it down to just one thing that stands out.  The teaching itself has been great. There ARE parts of the trip to Hong Kong as a whole I would rather not deal with, but I have no complaints about the time spent in the classroom. (Getting more sleep would probably been wise though.) Whether or not I continue teaching in the future is still up in the air, but I believe that my experience here has made me a better teacher and probably a better person all around. Well, at least one can hope. I’ve learned more strategies about disciplining a large group, how to keep so may kids interested and engaged at one time, and how to work with teachers in your classroom who may not understand you or be understood 100%. More importantly, I’ve spent a lot of time personally reflecting on how I view young children and methods of education. I am completely fascinated by this age group. Being here as demonstrated just how much potential a 3 year old has. It really is amazing.

If I do go into the teaching field upon returning home (gotta make some $ so I can come back to this corner of the world somehow!), there are certain things I will keep with me. As I mentioned in a previous journal entry, I think that educating young children should be a balance between the structured, academic focused methods they use here and the exploratory, free-thinking ways they have in Canada now. There are skills children should learn. There is a time and place for silliness. There is truth to children learning what interests them, but there is so much out there in the world they may not have the opportunity to experience until you present it to them. I may not be placing yellow lines to the toilet in future environments, but I will set standards of behaviour, let the children I teach know what is expected of them and follow through, and teach them to respect others. I think, as a teacher, if you aren’t doing what you can to help a child reach their potential, you aren’t doing your job.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 18 ~ A Walk

(I will continue to write the previous dates but I will back date them so they appear in order. You will get the full story... one day...)

I JUST finished posting the most recent journal entry when the cleaning people finally showed up. Although I had slept in until 2:30 and hadn't showered, was wearing no make-up, and 'technically' still in my pajamas, I decided it was time to vacate the apartment and go get some food. So I grabbed my purse as I was and headed out to McDonald's... again. (If I'm not 10 lbs. heavier when I get home, I will be shocked.)

Btw, let this be a lesson to all the people who work at McDonald's in Canada and the States... I eat there almost everyday and, even though they barely speak any English at all, they have not once gotten my order wrong. Today, I ordered a quarter pounder with just cheese and ketchup. I was worried. She looked like she didn't understand what I meant. But apparently she did. The only strange things I've come across when ordering is when I get my ice tea with one liquid sugar cup, I ask, "Can I have two (or three) more?" and hold up the corresponding number of fingers. They always give me one less than I ask for. So, I guess they think I mean 2 or 3 altogether... even though I specifically say "more"... The other thing is that they ask me "stay here or take away". Both times I said stay here, they packed up my food to go. Why ask?

Anyway, it didn't take me long to eat but I knew they'd still be cleaning, so I decided to go for a walk. I snaked up and down the streets in my neighbourhood and took miscellaneous pictures of things I found interesting for about two hours. (Thankfully it wasn't supergross out.) Wanna see?

some buildings just look cool

We seem to live in a metal-working area. There are a lot of "shops" like this.

The bar we went to with the turtles and jellyfish.

weird alcove

cat pet store place - although you aren't allowed to have cats here...
more metal guys - there were 6 of them working here, doing who knows what

|Ooh, I found another bubble tea place!

As I took a picture of this restaurant, the owner rushed out and gave me a takeout menu
and told me to come back. "We even have lamb burgers!" she exclaimed. Haha.

The Olympic MTR station I walk to and from everyday.

Olympian City Mall right near our place... which I have yet to explore.

prettiest parkade I've ever seen

I like the way the taxis look here.
(another view of Olympian City Mall)

Crossing the street here is a pain in the ass.
There are metal barriers surrounding the corners so you have to walk down the street 20 feet to get across.

Langham Tower in the distance

Tai Kok Tsui is the name of our area.

I live just on the other side of New Kowloon Plaza.

A huge indoor playground I walk above everyday that I never knew existed. Very cool!

First thing I see when I walk outside on my way home everyday.

Look up. Again, I walk past this every day and never noticed it had a second floor of shops.

A palm tree avenue lined with benches that are constantly occupied by
old people just hanging out - my street juts out the other end.

I like taking pictures of alleyways.

Langham Tower and Langham Place

I <3 Pet Pet  :)

laundry day?

Another way you can tell Hong Kong values children - there are parks EVERYWHERE!

more metalworking... stuff

The brown one is the YesInn main building.

All the trees are labeled.

I think this man thought I was stalking him.

YesInn main building

bamboo scaffolding and wrapping the building - an Asian thing

Wifi booth. Coolest idea ever.

Maybe cock roaches wouldn't be an issue if people didn't do this!

7-11 every 50 feet. Awesome.

See the corner barrier thing? Irritating.

The Thai place we went to - where I ate only garlic bread.

Japan Home Centre - great place to buy whatever you need. Like a hairdryer or hangers!

the pizza place with the huge burgers

and another park

This matching grandmother/granddaughter was too cute to pass up.

Are there a lot of botany enthusiasts here?

Hong Kong Mini Bus

I frequent them often.

It just perches on points. How is that stable?

A kindergarten above a metal place. Seems odd to me.

Bought dim sum buns here once.

the bakery I went to the first night

"our" 7-11 and bank

I want to know what this building is! It's around the corner from my place and looks so secretive.

Fancy building that I see from my bedroom window - makes me jealous.

What I refer to as noodle street. Under the canopy part are 6 or 7 hole-in-the-wall noodle shops.
This is the street with the OTHER apartments (tumblr girl and her roommates, and our teacher.)

As you walk down the street, you feel like it's raining... or you're being peed on.
But it's drips coming from all the air conditioners.

My building. I'm second from the top on the left.

my street - Tit Shu Street

where my bakery USED to be :(

my entryway

buzz code R8462