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2012: Moving Abroad to Hong Kong to Teach English

Deutsch: Skyline von Hong Kong betrachtet vom ...

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I’ve been doing lots of soul-searching trying to figure out myself and what I want in life.  Looking back at the last several years, I’ve seemingly accomplished a lot–work and academic-wise–yet I feel a sense of emptiness.  My full-time job in finance keeps me busy, but is not the rewarding type of career I seek.

The last several years have really been a time of self-discovery.  Besides enrolling in a Chinese-language school to further my Chinese studies and hold on to my Chinese identity, I’ve utilized the various junior colleges in San Diego to dabble in acting, music, dance, various sports, film-making, creative writing, and teaching–all to find myself.  At the heart of these endeavors lies a key concept: I enjoy learning.  To be able to share my knowledge with others and positively influence them, would truly be special indeed.

In the fall of 2010 the idea of teaching as a career came to me as an educator-friend planted the idea in my head.  Since then, I’ve been accumulating experience in the teaching profession, preparing me for a career switch into education.  Now, I am seriously considering it as a possible long-term career, one that is rewarding, meaningful, and provides a sense of accomplishment I can feel proud of.

This is where Hong Kong comes into play.  I was born in Hong Kong but raised in San Diego, California.  I’ve always wanted to live in Hong Kong for an extended period of time–as opposed to visiting for 1-2 weeks–to really get to know the region.  I put Hong Kong and teaching together and came up with the perfect solution to my dilemma.  Here’s a list of three reasons why I’m planning to move abroad to Hong Kong to teach English in 2012:

  1. To get teaching experience.  I plan on obtaining a position teaching English to experience first-hand whether teaching is a viable long-term career option.  I will be classified as an English teacher, receiving immediate feedback on the intrinsic rewards of teaching and whether it’s the right fit.
  2. To re-connect with my roots.  Hong Kong will always hold a special place in my heart as it is my birthplace.  Having been raised in San Diego, I feel a sense of disconnect with Hong Kong and with Chinese culture in general.  I’d like to fully immerse myself in the Hong Kong lifestyle to better know my culture and become even more fluent in Cantonese as well as Mandarin.
  3. To find my significant other.  I only just added this third reason, but living in Hong Kong presents a very unique opportunity.

There’s also the food, music, hiking trails, and proximity to China, all opening a vast range of possibilities.

Ideally, I’d like to teach in Hong Kong for 2 years, teach in China for another year, and then come back to San Diego to get my teaching credential to teach Kindergarten.  I wouldn’t mind staying abroad for even longer though, depending on how things go.

In the meantime, some things are still up in the air about leaving San Diego and moving to Hong Kong, but will sort themselves out in the coming months.

Have you ever moved or considered moving abroad to pursue a career–or even a significant other?  What was the experience like?  Do you have any suggestions, advice, or words of wisdom to share?

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Mr. Chan as The Teacher?

I’ve been taking a bunch of classes all over town, wondering what to do for the rest of my life.  I love how community colleges give curious people like me a chance to explore various subjects.  This blog results from a class taken at Grossmont Colllege.  I initially began my journey here wishing to become an actor, then a writer and/or director, and now a teacher.  It’s crazy how life turns out sometimes.  Prior to September 2010, I hadn’t even considered becoming a teacher–at all.

Anyhow, this semester I enrolled in an Education 200, Teaching as a Profession, class geared towards prospective K-8th grade teachers.  I’ve always adored cute kids and the innocence associated with youth, so I figured a class like this would allow me to experience what working with children would be like.

I spent a total of 50 hours as a volunteer inside kindergarten, 2nd, 5th, and 7th grade, classrooms.  Originally, my idea was to teach 7th graders, but I must admit, the kindergarten kids won my heart.  I spent a third of my time inside a kindergarten class, and the kids were so cute and adorable–absolute innocence. My heart was tender in their presence.  All I was thinking was “awww”.  Some of the kids caught my attention more than others because of their cuteness factor: one was really chubby and clumsy, another had a adorable face with big cheeks, and another was really sweet and fun to be around.

At lunchtime, I got in line with the other kids for lunch.  I had forgotten how the whole process works, but a nice kid happily helped me out.  Memories came back: the carton of milk, the star nuggets, the stern cashier–yup, even she was still there.  Outside, I sat on a lone table, merrily eating and observing the others.

Now for a quick story that tickles my heart.  One day during lunchtime, I was late in getting out and had to eat in a rush.  I didn’t have time for my banana so I decided to save it for a snack later.  The lunch bell rang and I sped back to the classroom, passing groups of kindergartners and first graders along the way, to drop off the banana and use the restroom.  When I walked out, there were a bunch of kids scattered in the classroom, eyeing the banana on top of my bookbag.  I walked back outside and, apparently, a girl had lost her banana and thought she had misplaced it inside the room, on top of my bookbag!  The incident was major DRAMA!  I’d never seen a kid so enthusiastic about fruit.  I put two and two together and reasoned that the little kids had seen a young adult–me–with a banana and suddenly thought it was cool and acceptable to eat fruit.

I quickly went back, grabbed the banana and ran back outside to give it to the girl, who was with six of her friends.  They all looked at me in awe, and I felt like such a hero.  Kids say and do the cutest things!

Anyways, I want to thank the students and staff at Jamacha Elementary School and Oak Valley Middle School for all the memories.  When all was said and done, I came away from this experience realizing that becoming an educator is definitely in my future.  More to come in the next few weeks.

Oh and the drawings are a present I received on the last day from a few of the girls.  Hearts and sunshine, what more could a guy ask for.