My name is Adrian Knowles and I’m just an average guy from an average town in England, UK. The reason I decided to get a TEFL qualification and teach was to take the average part of my life out of the equation and push myself to not only achieve more but to experience more: a different culture and lifestyle that I’m normally used to. To get out of the box as it were.
Regarding studying for my TEFL it only took 2-3 months to complete as a part-time course (120 hours) done mostly online. There was also a two-day weekend course involved and this just provided an insight into the classroom environment as well as an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals with similar aspirations. Overall completing the course was super convenient and has opened many possibilities for the future.
Below is an account of my first six weeks in Hong Kong.
I arrived after a tumultuous 25-hour journey from London via Delhi to Hong Kong August 16th 2017 on a beautiful sunny day.
Although I was sleep deprived I went on an immediate tour with my first stop being Hong Kong Island. This is where Central Hong Kong is located with awesome views from the peak or even from the dozens of green trails set in different areas along the hills surrounding the city.
As well as the heightened views, the city itself is packed with plenty of people so was at first a big change and contrast to the quiet I’m used to back home in England.
I’m a 26-year-old graduate from a small town in England, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, now living in Hong Kong. Thereby I was expecting a big adjustment period from small-town life to big city life.
After seeing some of Central I popped onto an MTR (the Underground HK railway) back to my apartment in Mongkok, Kowloon. Mongkok is known for its good street food, cheap clothing and its big shoe selection; they even have a street simply called ‘Sneaker Street’.
Also, being only a few stops away on the central line, I found it easy to get to and from Central and in a short time.
The view above is from the top of my building on the 22nd floor.
What a view!
After my first few weeks in Hong Kong settling in and teacher training I soon started my teaching position at two schools in the North West region, Tuen Mun. A bit of a nervous start but all the same ok as I was welcomed warmly by both schools and even learnt how to write my name in Cantonese.
As I teach in Kindergarten schools I focus on teaching ages ranging from 2-6 years old: K1-K3.
It can be a challenge to keep the students’ attention but when you use a guitar or fluffy toys to distract them you can incorporate English into that and then they really do pick up on letters and words.
My routine is a 6am wake-up, have my coffee and get ready before heading out around 7am to hop on a bus that takes me a minutes walk from both my schools; this is after a 50-minute journey, and then I start to teach around 9am. Lessons only range from 25-40 minutes teaching 2-6 years of age so plenty of songs, games and worksheets are involved.
I would just recommend to any new teacher like myself to be confident and just do the best you can. Students can sense if you are comfortable or not so just be yourself and act natural.
Living and working in HK is busy, fast paced and can be expensive. So my advice if ever people come here to live is to try the street food (ranging from cow lung all the way to cow intestine, octopus, duck – you name it) as it’s cheap, and make sure you rent somewhere reasonably priced. Public transport is relatively cheap and very reliable, you won’t find a late bus or train anywhere. Even the star ferry, which goes to and from Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, is cheap ranging at around $3 each way.
Another great thing about HK is the various islands around the city such as Lantau Island and fishing villages like Sai Kung.
Teaching here is both a fun and challenging career. When you’re not busy at school then the best thing is simply to explore with so much to see in HK as well as all of Asia surrounding you.
I’m hoping my next trip will be to mainland China, as well as Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea and Taiwan.
There’s plenty to see and do, especially for the entire year I’m here!
Check out Adrian’s blog for more great photos and to read more about his adventures as an EFL teacher in Hong Kong!