Teachers are the real inspiration behind the educational system in Hong Kong. This year, Little Steps wants to celebrate Hong Kong-based teachers again and has reached out to schools across the city for their second ‘Teachers Who Rock Hong Kong’! Meet the teachers who have been nominated and understand what makes them rockstars to the school and the children they teach. You’ll have had a soft spot for one or two of your favorite teachers who inspired you because you grew to become a lifetime learner and well-rounded global citizen.
‘Teachers Who Rock Hong Kong’ is an ongoing initiative so that you can nominate them throughout the year for their exceptional abilities, acts of kindness and why you think they are awesome!
Emily has been rocking global teaching for well over a decade. She describes her teaching style as student-centered and fun! She keeps her students fully engaged while creating a holistic environment in which they can learn. Emily is a valued coworker, and her staff fully supports her elementary team leader role. She strives to facilitate opportunities for her students to collaborate and learn from each other through engaging content across myriad subjects.
Her most memorable experiences include when children help each other and spread kindness throughout the classroom and the school. As she grew up, Emily was surrounded by teachers, including her mom, that shaped her love of learning. To this day, she visits her elementary teachers when she returns to her hometown during the summer holidays.
Her G4 classroom is cozy and welcoming, with flexible seating for each student to feel comfortable. The classroom has pretty twinkling lights and soft music to ensure it feels like home. She’s currently reading the Mistborn Trilogy, but Harry Potter will always be her number-one book; she has many fond memories surrounding the series.
American School Hong Kong, https://www.ashk.edu.hk/
Priscilla takes care of all university student applications and the student leadership program for the House Committee, Student Union, and Student Council, experiential learning activities such as curriculum extension visits, co-curricular activities, the Creative Christmas Festival, Creative Chinese Festival, and Creative Week that contribute to their personal growth. Furthermore, she holds lunch workshops and sports competitions to nurture her students' growth mindset and raise their awareness of emotional well-being. Throughout the school year, Priscilla maintains positive relationships with parents. She connects them with the students by inviting them to offer job shadowing opportunities, company visits, and career sharing. She gives them opportunities to do small acts of kindness.
Priscilla is kind yet strict and sets high expectations for her students learning in academia and personal development. She believes a safe and trusting environment contributes to students’ positive personality traits, behavior, and performance. She uses an inviting tone to encourage students to do their personal best and maintain a growth mindset. Priscilla focuses on teaching students study skills and gives clear instructions and guidelines for them to follow to enable independent learning and time to collaborate. Students have autonomy in their lessons with clear learning targets to achieve.
One of her most endearing memories is when students of different years remembered her birthday and held surprise party for her during their lesson, where they presented handmade cards and gifts.
Her English teacher in Year 13 inspired her to be a teacher. She tried different teaching strategies in the lessons, making her think learning English was fun.
Priscilla doesn't have a classroom, so she decorates the school campus with many posters containing growth mindset, well-being strategies, and different student teams. She's set up a Google Site for students to promote a growth mindset, student teams, and activities. She also shares videos of well-being tips, little votes of thanks, weekly bulletins, and reminders.
Her favorite book is ‘Who Moved My Cheese,' by Spencer Johnson. It is thought-provoking as the story revolves around how the four main characters deal with unexpected life changes. It reminds her that life is full of surprises and that staying positive is a choice.
Creative Secondary School, Hong Kong, https://www.css.edu.hk/
Rachel is an enthusiastic, caring teacher that loves celebrating the small and big moments in a child's education. Her teaching style is relational and brimming with songs, stories, and games. She writes kid's joke books as a hobby, so she's quick to make them laugh. Rachel loves seeing the lightbulb moments when her kids learn something new. She works hard to get them there. One of her favorite moments is teaching a child to ride a bike for the first time at a fifth-grade camp. Her grandmother taught first grade for 35 years, and Rachel loved visiting her classes.
Rachel's classroom is an array of colors, words, learning walls, the class fish Professor, and seasonally SnoCoco, the naughty classroom Elf on a Shelf. Her favorite quote is ‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow’ by Gabrielle Zevin.
YMCA Christian Academy, Hong Kong, https://yca.edu.hk/
Helen has taken on a new role this year and replaced a long-standing colleague who was at City Kids for over two decades. And she's rocking it! She completely embraces what Early Years education is all about and caters to the needs of children between 10 months and 3 years. Her knowledge allows her to guide parents and helpers with all parenting issues at home. Helen is a role model and creates an environment based on trust.
Helen embraces learning through play and is energetic, passionate, and fun. She loves dancing and singing, and her 'Joie de Vivre’ is loved by all! She's very kind and can manage large groups of children with her amiable personality.
Her classroom is all about children. The simple, beautiful, and efficient boards allow children to refer to them and discuss their achievements. She adds personalized photographs and quotes to the billboards full of the children's inspiring work. The classroom has various areas that children can explore, such as a section that has books and puzzles and comfortable armchairs for parents to sit, interact or read quietly with their children. An outside balcony has a giant wooden sandpit, water tray, bubble machine, and other resources for the children to enjoy. The welcoming space has stepping stones, many soft animals, and role-play areas.
While Helen loves all children's books, she has a special love for Julia Donaldson's 'The Gruffalo.'
City Kids Pre School and Playgroup, https://www.citykidshk.org/
As a department, the teachers strive to expose their students to a wide range of art materials, including pottery, printmaking, crafts, and cultural projects, and not limit them to paintings and drawings. Ming Sum helped develop the art department from scratch six years ago when the school was in its infancy. She now has various resources, equipment, and an organized curriculum. Currently, she is the only teacher who has advanced knowledge of pottery and ceramics, which helps when they are expanding the curriculum. She's happy to share her knowledge and experience with students and colleagues.
It touched her heart when she received a thank you card from her students during thanksgiving week; they expressed their gratitude for learning so many new techniques and for Ming Sum's value to them. She did not plan to become a teacher but was inspired by her first art teacher and how he formed various relationships with students of differing ages and levels and used his creativity to nurture and guide them to becoming reflective risk-takers; Ming Sum experiences joy when her students make art.
Ming Sum’s art room is decorated with her students' art across various grade levels, allowing students, teachers, and visitors to admire their creative ideas. Various posters display art elements and the principle of design used for quick reference by upper elementary students. Ming Sum thoroughly enjoyed 'Blown Away,' a recent reality series featuring glassblowing artists accomplishing different sculpture challenges.
American School Hong Kong, https://www.ashk.edu.hk/
Having taught at Hong Kong Academy for over 16 years, Shane McKinney is a middle school teacher who educates 11 to 13 years old in maths. He takes the whole child approach to teaching and learning. He ensures that he makes maths fun and relevant while supporting them in developing their organizational and collaborative skills. Shane is a huge supporter of the Hong Kong Academy's sports program and attends every home game. He enthusiastically leads encouraging chants of support during the game. He’s also a coach for the under-14s basketball team. Throughout the pandemic, he championed the sporting spirit through impressive online learning by organizing competitive marble races with his advisory classes. Shane brings passion and joy to every activity.
Hong Kong Academy, https://hkacademy.edu.hk/
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