In these past two weeks, we've gone through a LOT of things; handling all sorts of classroom scenarios, micro- and macro-management, leadership, developing spirit, English Language Development, understanding students with a holistic mindset, teaching approaches, and the list goes on. We get to school at eight every morning and finish at about five or six in the afternoon, so it's quite intense. I'm really enjoying it though because I can feel myself growing as a person and learning so much everyday. Even though I am not sure about going into education as a profession, I see this internship as a very comprehensive, jam-packed set of life skills lessons that can be applied to a lot of places in life.
Today was big because we got to know who was in our "cross-departmental collaboration", which is a fancy term to mean a group of four teachers, one from each department, who are assigned to teach the same students but at different periods of the day. After that, we got to read these students' applications to the summer program in order to have a better understanding of their strengths, weaknesses and interests.
These students' responses were honestly a lot more intriguing than I expected them to be; at times, there were some interesting trends to be seen. One of the questions on the application was "What do you think is Hong Kong's biggest problem?" Out of the eighteen kids in our CDC, I think all but three of them wrote "air pollution". I feel like air pollution has become one of those things that I've accepted and become so apathetic about that it probably wouldn't be on my top ten list of the city's biggest problems.
Some of the responses made me laugh. One of the questions asked students to list three adjectives they would use to describe themselves. Given that admission to the summer program is pretty competitive, I thought that students would be aware of this, and choose positive-sounding adjectives to make themselves look good as an applicant. However, some of these kids were really honest - one wrote "lazy", another wrote "careless". I am these things too (sometimes), and it was really refreshing to see them reveal a side of them that I am sure most of us have too but hide from others at the beginning. On a more serious note, it also made me wonder if they wrote these things because that's how they are described by negative people around them all the time.
Some of the responses tugged at my heartstrings. One of the questions was "What was the happiest moment of your life?" and some kids wrote beautifully simple answers that made me question my own life. One kid (who I think misunderstood the question and didn't choose a specific moment) said that hugging his mother makes him happier than anything. Another kid (who also probably misunderstood the question) wrote that she loved going shopping with her mother because they could talk then. A third wrote that his happiest moment was when his brother was born six years ago and he's so proud of his brother.
What would I have written if I had to answer that question too? I thought about how I do think I'm a pretty happy person most of the time and I have a lot of happy memories to talk about, but I don't have a specific memory that means more to me than anything else. I don't even have a proper shortlist of the best memories. Is having an absolute happiest moment necessary? I would be inclined to think no, since different memories are wonderful because they impacted me in different ways and had different contexts. I think it would be difficult to replicate a context in order to create a memory that trumps one you already have.
See, my job even makes me contemplate questions like these.
To finish off, here's a cheer that my department has to present to the rest of the staff tomorrow. It's utterly random and beautiful for that reason.
Happy llama, sad llama, totally rad llama
Super llama, drama llama, big fat mama llama
Baby llama, crazy llama, don't forget the rocker llama!
Fish! Fish! More...fish!