Wednesday, November 15, 2006


It's a wet day and all i want to do is sleep. My mistake was drinking strong coffee yesterday evening, and it just sent my system entirely out of whack. I'm paying for it now. Only managed about 3 hours of sleep. I actually don't consume that much java anymore, not like i used to. In fact i only do it if we have guests staying over. It's a good thing, i think, until i have some at the wrong time of the day.

Anice and Laura just finished the last episode of the first season of LOST before rushing off to catch the airport bus. Here's a pic of them and the cheesecake they gave us on the last night. It was nice to have them over, liven up the house a bit and listen to them talk about their adventures in HK after another day out.

My 3rd week of practicum teaching at King's College is coming to an end, and i've learned an awful lot and seen how a typical government school in HK is (mis)managed. Although i've only just caught a glimpse of the system and how things work (or don't), I'm shocked by how much cultural difference there is from what i'm used to. Teachers are used as pawns here it seems, dispatched to whatever school the EMB (Education Manpower Bureau) sees fit, given a schedule and told to stick to it or else, and the worse part: never acknowledged or appreciated for their efforts and time. Yes, the stereotype is true: Hong Kong teachers are worked to the bone. But it is the paperwork and bureaucratic bullcrap that bogs them down, not the actual teaching itself.

After getting to know my mentor, May (see pic of her at her desk), better, it seems she's in a depressing state of mind, where all she's trying to do is keep up with the mountain of papers on her desk (literally!) It seems that teachers who've been in the profession too long and see more negatives than positives begin to turn on the students themselves, which is horrible and counterproductive, as if they were an afterthought in the education world.

Having said that, boys will be boys and i have no qualms about using my LOUD voice when necessary, but see less and less reason to do so nowadays; classroom management should not be about who can yell the loudest but who can yell longest - just kidding. I pull the familiar tactics out: moving the chatty kid up to the front beside me, threatening to send him outside if he misbehaves again... but alas, it seems boys are born with unlimited energy (someone should invent a way to harness all that excess energy and the world's energy crisis would be solved!) and i've just got to divert this energy into productive channels instead. I've come to accept the fact that a constructive and healthy class doesn't mean dead silence and everyone paying attention; infact, discussion, talking, debating and excitable chatter can be just as productive and positive.

Matt and I have signed up for a sailing course and we had our first lesson (out of five) on Saturday. It was a hot and pretty breezy day aboard "Fuzzy Duck" as we sailed out to the very east of Hong Kong, practiced how to tack and gybe, feasted on a gorgeous curry lunch, and glided in back to harbour as the sun was setting over the skyline. It was just nice to be out on the water again and pretty soon we'll be Ms. Competent Crew Member and Mr. Day Skipper!

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