Having survived a day without internet connection

So yesterday, for the first time in my life, I lived a day without Internet connection when I was out and about. What happened to me then?

I didn’t freak out. I didn’t have an epiphany either. I just kept daydreaming when I was on the move. Living offline for a day is no big deal. But for two days? Three? …

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Living offline for one day

I had exhausted the mobile data under my current monthly plan, and the new monthly allowance wouldn’t start until the day after tomorrow. So I looked up different ways to top up or buy additional data usage. But then a thought suddenly crossed my mind. “What don’t I try living offline for one day?”

So tomorrow when I’m out and about without Internet connection, what will happen to me? Will I become fidgety? Will I go crazy? Or will I rediscover the meaning of life, and my existence? 

Schools that teachers enjoy working for

What makes a teacher enjoy working for her serving school?
 
I have a former student who has just finished her second year of teaching. From her FB posts, I could see that she had been quite stretched. Yet, recently when I asked her how she had been coping, she affirmed that she enjoys working for her serving school. Well, honestly, I have not heard many teachers making that claim, so I invited her to list out the factors that made her love working for her serving school. Here is her list:
 
– I can really teach students here.
– The school really emphasises teaching and learning.
– The teachers care about the students’ needs.
– New teachers are given chances to try new things.
– I feel encouraged and loved.
 
Food for thought for school leaders.

從心出發

今天下午偶然在香港電台精靈1點聽到醫護人員講述某護士同事的故事,該護士發現住院身患重病的婆婆總是满懷心事,探問後知道她明白自己來日無多,很掛念正在獄中的兒子。 這護士毋須這樣做,但她卻特別聯絡懲教處,請求他們作出特别安排,讓這兒子可以到醫院探訪重病中的婆婆,懲教處沒有立即答覆。

但經過一段時間,護士突然收到懲教處通知,可以作出安排,於是婆婆終於可以見到兒子,雖然過了兩個月還是去世了,但臨死前放下了一個心結。

今天做好人有時會吃力不討好,但這護士從心出發,冒着被上同或同事批評多事的險而多走一步,聽了這樣的故事,總會令我動容。就讓我們不要忘記,當教師也是少數可以從心出發的事業。

我心目中真正的名校

很愉快的午餐,能夠和我幾個舊學生敍舊,特別的,是他們同時在一間我很欣賞和敬佩的學校任教。我的專業是英文的教與學,而這所小學,正正極度重視教與學,不以大量的功課操練考試測驗去迫使學生讀書,而是以優質的教學,使學生享受學習,學得有效。

但令我更敬佩的,恐怕是這學校的工作文化,教師上下一心,互相支持,彼此關心,沒有階级之分,又積極進取,愛護學生。我看見幾個舊學生雖然工作並不輕鬆,但都很享受他們的工作。

今次難得是前英語教師的黃校長也可以抽空参加我們的飯聚,看見校長和老師可以這樣輕鬆無拘無束的談笑,這情景我真是很少看到啊。我於是趁機訪問校長學校工作文化如何形成,校長於是描述了創校初期,一班核心老師如何努力建立這樣的工作文化,隨後怎樣把這文化努力傳承下來,今天新來的老師,不知不覺便會溶入這傳统。

這是我心目中真正的名校。

The reward for someone who works hard is more work

Came across this quote in the bestseller by Haemin Sunim (a Korean Buddhist monk):

“A cruel irony: The reward for someone who works hard is more work.”

This immediately called to mind those former students of mine who have taught for a few years, found their feet, gained the trust of their superiors, and begun to flourish professionally. Very often, they will be assigned more and more duties. On the one hand, they are glad that their capability is being recognised. On the other hand, they may become increasingly stressed by the ever-expanding duties on their plate. Some of them may be let down by not being able to spend more time with their students, which was something they had enjoyed the most a few years back when they were young teachers.

It’s a difficult dilemma for conscientious teachers.

Good teachers invariably love learning

Last night over dinner with Professor Icy Lee and two former MA students, Becky Cheung and Curtis Cheng, our conversation drifted into the area of professional development (which is also the MA course that Icy will be offering in September). I happened to mention Monica, an education student I had three decades ago, who had stuck with teaching for 30 years and was still a highly dedicated and passionate teacher.

I remembered just two days before when I had a reunion lunch with Monica and some recent former students, I probed Monica with the very question: “How have you managed to keep up your passion for teaching all these years?” Monica did not take long to answer my question: “I love learning. It’s the same job, but every year my students are different. I can keep exploring and learning how to teach more effectively, and how to become a better teacher. In so doing, I never get tired of teaching.”

That is some useful food for thought – good teachers invariably love learning.