The New Normal

I’m on a bus heading into the city to pick up shoes. It is foggy and a hint of rain. It feels like a dream.

I’m surrounded by people going to work. I’m not. Teaching and studying have been canceled since February. People were worried, but now things have settled into a ‘regular pattern’ – masks, alcohol wipes, and disinfectant.  There’s less hysteria – less panic. It’s a new normal where there is fear but a hope to return to normal.

My fears are for my students. I teach kids who at risk. Their parents don’t understand how vital education is in Hong Kong. Most of the parents have their own struggles, and educating their kids is low.

How vital learning English is debatable, but in Hong Kong, it’s a core subject for entering a ‘band 1’ school – the potential for a better future. I doubt most of my students have spoken a word since mid-January.

I’m trying. Mostly through video conferencing tools like Zoom and using WeChat. A majority of my students are in Mainland China but born in Hong Kong. I’m getting them to ‘free write’ – one topic and encouraging an essay or short story response. Now I’ll try to get them to record some reading to help with pronunciation and to get them to talk.

There are over 350 kids at my school. I can’t help them all but want to help as many as I can. The Education Department has said they hope to resume classes after Easter. I wish I had the same hope

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