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Talking Heads: Dave McMaster

Fairchild Junior Academy

We continue the Little Steps Talking Heads series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Hong Kong’s Heads of Schools! Get personal with these fabulous personalities and find out what makes them tick, their advice for parents navigating the schooling scene, and their favorite things about life in the city.

In this edition, we say hello to Dave McMaster, Head of School at Fairchild Junior Academy.

  • 1. Do you have a nickname? I have had a few nicknames over the years. Most of them have something to do with my last name like ‘MAC’, ‘McD’, and when I was younger and my hair was very curly, I was often called ‘Curly’.

    2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. My family moved to Regina, Saskatchewan when I was 4 years old where I learned to skate and play hockey, often playing for 2 or 3 hours a night on outdoor rinks between the ages of 6 and 12. It was a great place to grow up. When I was 12 we moved back to Vancouver where I lived until I moved to Kingston, Ontario to attend Queens University.

    3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? I have actually lived in 7 flats in 14 years in Hong Kong. I have lived In South Horizons, Causeway Bay, Shouson Hill, Shiu Fai Terrace, Happy Valley and am currently living in Causeway Bay again for the second time. I really enjoyed living in Happy Valley as it felt like a real neighbourhood, although the convenience of Causeway Bay makes it an easy place to live.

    4. What's in your lunchbox? As I am currently working in Tin Hau, my lunchbox is any one of the many great little places to eat within a four block radius of our school. The Tin Hau and Tai Hang neighbourhoods have a great selection of decently priced, quality restaurants.

  • 1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? There are a number of people who have inspired me over the years. My grade 7 teacher, Gerry Sandberg, taught me to believe in myself and to truly enjoy learning. My grade 10 science teacher, Ernie Oui, told me he thought I would make a great teacher. My boss, Doug Player in West Vancouver hired me to be the Principal of a large high school when I was 34 years old at a time that I didn’t think I was ready to be a Principal. What I realize years later is that they all instilled a sense of confidence in me and in the case of Doug Player, he convinced me that as a Principal I had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people. I suppose all of these people and of course the undying support of my wife Shelley all inspired me to follow a path that led me to be a Head of School. I am not sure there is a more important profession anywhere.

    2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Warm, happy, progressive, inspiring, different.

  • 1. What's your favourite thing on your desk and why? A pewter card holder that was designed by a Native Canadian Artist. It was given to me by a grade 7 student about 22 years ago who reminded me a lot of myself.

    2. What are your 3 favorite children's books? Curious George, Charlotte’s Web and Are You My Mother?

  • 1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Engage with them about their school lives. Ask questions about their day which requires more than a one word answer. Attend their assemblies when possible, watch them play their sports, cheer for them at performances and remind them how much you love them. Try not to be too judgmental.

    2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? Let your kids be kids. School will get progressively harder as they get older and the more you allow them to enjoy themselves and develop a love of learning at an early age the more likely they will be successful academically later on. It is sometimes difficult as a parent (and educator) to take a step back and let your child fail or make mistakes by trying new things and to be curious about the world, but if you can do this your child will thank you later in life. You will also be less stressed about your child’s education.

    3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? Follow your passions so that you end up working somewhere that doesn't feel like a job, rather somewhere you love to come to everyday.

  • Fairchild Junior Academy,

    22/F Park Commercial Centre 180 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong.

    info@fairchild.academy

    +852 2898 1611

    http://fairchild.academy/

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