...back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my shoes tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight."
It's weird going back to school as a teacher rather than a student. I have different responsibilities and see a different side to public schools. With that being said, the schools here are different than the schools back home in America. I'm still adjusting and learning the differences but luckily the other English teacher here has been explaining a lot about it.
When I first had orientation, my boss told me that everyone has this perception that the children in Asia are very well behaved in school. Through teaching at UCCCKE and CCC Kei Wai Ma Wan, I can say no they are not 100% perfect students because they are still children. However, they are most definitely well behaved.
The students still have fun in school but there's a very strict way of how the students are expected to act. A quick run down of the school day thus far is as follows: opening assembly, class, recess, class, lunch, class, and finally departure. In their opening assembly, they are lined up perfectly while they listen to the announcements then proceed to class in straight lines with prefects making sure the students stay in lines. What are prefects? They are students elected the previous year by their peers to assist the teachers with maintaining order. These lines are also maintained after recess and lunch and as they depart. They even have a certain clap that all the students know and do when there needs to be applause. The students still have fun but at times for order, they are very disciplined.
In addition to that, the expectation is so much different. You can go from kindergarten to 10th grade screwing around but turn your grades around and get into a good college in the States. However, right from kindergarten, it is crucial for them to do well. They interview to get into good public primary schools and where you go determines the rest of your schooling and success. I could not imagine having that much pressure on me as a 5-year-old. Another thing is confidentiality does not exist. Everyone knows who the smarter students are because their grades are told to entire class. It's no secret. As a matter of fact, when they vote for the prefects, they have the students stand in front of their boxes and they all watch as each student and faculty member places their vote. Anyway, showing the entire class your grade, motivates them apparently. If that were me, I would cry.
The way school is here is just so different. As I talk to the fellow English teacher, I can't help but feel bad for these students at the same time. My colleague has worked at this school for 4 years and said it's hard for them to get into university here in Hong Kong since there aren't that many and it costs them if they want to go abroad. That's why there is so much pressure from such an early age. I definitely feel for these children and really hope that I can help improve their English so they can have successful lives.
Just traveling the world and sharing my adventures and experiences.
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