We continue the Little Steps’ Talking Teachers series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Hong Kong’s awesome teachers. Get personal with these fabulous personalities, get into their classrooms, find out their teaching style, and learn what makes a great teacher!
In this edition, we say hello to the amazing team at Mount Kelly School Hong Kong: Abigail Carr, Nick Rothwell, and Amelia Nissim.
1. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Buckinghamshire in the UK and grew up in Greater London. My parents now live in the English countryside in Dorset. Since I’ve been living in Hong Kong for 12 years, I would now definitely call this my home.
2. What's your morning ritual? I admit that I snooze my alarm at least 3 or 4 times before getting up. Since I get up before 6:30am it helps to make it feel like I’m having a lie in every day. I often get up an hour earlier and go for a walk, run or to the gym depending on the weather. I eat a good breakfast before I leave for the day too – starts me off well!
3. How would you describe your teaching style? As an early childhood teacher I like to get to know each child individually; their learning styles and preferences, as well as what motivates them. Stories and songs are always a big part of the activities I implement with games and play as the foundation to further learning.
4. One amazing memory from your time as a teacher? I remember spending the last 30 minutes of every Friday reading a few pages from the non-picture book ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ to my class of 4 year olds. They were so hooked, they started making up their own ‘magical’ stories and drawing pictures from their imagination. This was when I found out the real power of storytelling to young children. Sometimes we think they must have pictures and visuals to understand, but all it takes is variation in the voices of the characters, and a lot of imagination!
5. Best advice to people who want to get into teaching? Study, get your qualifications, but remember that experience is key, no amount of paperwork will prepare you for the needs of individual children. When you think you’ve figured it all out, something new will come along; that’s what keeps it so interesting and satisfying. Find a mentor, observe and ask questions, then enjoy one of the most rewarding jobs you can do!
1. What/Who inspired you to want to be a teacher? I have always enjoyed being part of a school environment and I got a taste for teaching through coaching children's sport in my teens. My mother was a teacher and I saw the great satisfaction she got from making a difference to her pupil's future.
2. What's your morning ritual? I normally get woken up at 6am by my young daughter wanting to come for a cuddle in our bed. Next, I make a cup of tea for my wife and breakfast for the family. Once I've freshened up I like to walk into work and gather my thoughts for the day ahead.
3. How would you describe your teaching style? I like to make my lessons as fun, inspirational and challenging as possible, using a variety of teaching styles to grab everyone's attention. It is so important to allow pupils time to discuss questions in small groups and to work in collaboration before feeding back ideas and thoughts.
4. One amazing memory from your time as a teacher? My most memorable teaching experience was taking a school team on a cricket tour to South Africa. The pupils were hosted by local families and got a taste for the culture of the country as well as making friends for life. We visited a deprived township school and donated books, games and stationery which were donated from our families at school. Seeing the happy faces of all the children was something I will never forget.
5. Best advice to people who want to get into teaching? Get some classroom experience behind you before you embark on a teaching career, you need to observe teachers in action before committing yourself to your studies. Everyday is different in teaching, it is hard work but incredibly rewarding.
1. What/Who inspired you to want to be a teacher? I can’t pinpoint a specific person or moment of my own education which inspired me to be a teacher. I feel it was my overall experience of primary school which has led me on this path. I went to a village, Church of England primary school with a strong ethos and values. In my opinion, it is this that made the experience memorable and gave me the feeling of being part of a big family.
2. How would you describe your teaching style? I feel my teaching style can alter slightly depending on the type of class I have and they have really differed throughout my years of teaching! If it is a boisterous class who find it tricky to settle, I like to have a calm, gentler approach to create a relaxed atmosphere. On the other hand, I have taught more mellow classes who require lots of exaggerated voices and movement to get them involved. However, what is consistent in my teaching style is being a facilitator where children are encouraged to ask questions and be active learners. I love creating a buzz in the classroom, by creating memorable learning experiences.
3. One amazing memory from your time as a teacher? I have so many amazing memories from teaching in London and Hong Kong. The best memories I have from my time as a teacher have been when learning is brought to life, and is made purposeful and relevant to the children. One example of this would be when we had incubated eggs in the classroom and the children observed them hatch and grow over a period of four weeks. It was a fantastic learning experience, which provided opportunities for many cross-curricular activities.