Teaching in Hong Kong
It’s Time for Class
“Miiiiiiiiister Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiickyyyyyy…..!” This is the familiar greeting I hear every morning when I walk into school and I’m greeted by a sea of chubby, smiley faces eager to sink their teeth into some new English vocabulary. Despite being female, and not a Disney character, I find it amazing that these children want to impress me with their new language skills!
At my school, we teach a range of classes. Younger students who just want to be exposed to an English learning environment start with Chatroom, they then progress to Phonics classes, which run alongside Grammar and Writing, Reading and Speaking, Trinity and Cambridge courses. A typical day for us teachers consists of mainly Phonics and Chatroom with a few other classes sprinkled in between. Each child is given a workbook at the beginning of the course, and the Teacher’s Room is stacked with Teacher’s guides and resources. Each class has suggested lessons plans but I love that in this job I can be as flexible with the structure as I choose.
What My Classrom in Hong Kong Like
Personally, I adore teaching the Chatroom classes. There will be 4-8 students aged 2-5 years in each Chatroom and the class is aimed at children speaking their first English words and learning to introduce themselves. Chatroom is very fun and interactive and each month there is a new topic to cover. Every Chatroom class we sing songs together, focus on 6-10 key vocabulary words, play games and complete a written task. One of my favourite classes was taking the children on an imaginary tour of ‘My Town’. We pretended to take the bus, chatted to the lollipop lady, went shopping, visited the library and checked out books, ordered food at a restaurant and even went to the police station with the policeman! At this age children are so inquisitive and in awe of the world around them that you can be totally immersive in your teaching and they respond so well.
We also teach Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Phonics classes. Students begin by learning their ABCs, followed by blending and eventually triple blends and long vowels sounds. Phonics classes are so rewarding for teachers as each week you track their progress in listening, reading and spelling. Students tend to finish Advanced Phonics around the age of 8 or 9, and knowing that you’ve given them a solid foundation of the English language for the rest of their lives is such a rewarding experience. I love to vary the classes by adding silly games and techniques. The favourite game for my Beginners is to use different body parts to write letters in the air – noses, toes, belly buttons, tongues, hair! The sillier the better! One of my favourite Intermediate Phonics classes was inventing the most ridiculous blended words and we laughed so hard that I fell off my chair. The children obviously thought this was hilarious and all copied, throwing themselves on the floor in a fit of giggles! It’s moments like that that I will remember for the rest of my life!
Every day is a real adventure and I feel so honored to be a part of these children’s lives. Teaching in Hong Kong has definitely enriched me. I finish every class by reminding each student of the amazing progress they have made that lesson, then it’s time for a sticker and a high five! I couldn’t imagine a more rewarding day!