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Teaching in the Shanty Town

Teaching in the Shanty Town

Huang Meijing, May's Story
Faculty of Education

May, an Education master student major in Youth Studies, always aspires to become a teacher to help others to realise their dreams.  She was one of the participants of the Community Engagement Programme(CEP) of CEDARS in 2019. As a non-local student studying education, May was interested in gaining insights and understanding of the Hong Kong society. By joining CEP, she had the chance to work with other HKU students and see the “other faces” of Hong Kong out of campus by serving the children in the squatter area. She obtained a sense of satisfaction through the mentorship meetings with three children of a newly-immigrated family by providing the children care, support and advice on learning. 

“I went to a squatter village in Cha Kwo Ling where most of the households there were grassroot families. Most of these families were new immigrants from Mainland China,” May recalled. Due to financial difficulties, these village children were lack of opportunities to attend tutorial classes. May and her team were there to provide free English classes and Music lessons. She helped a family of three siblings to improve their academic performance. 
 Photo of May teaching
“At the end of the programme, the kids even gave me a thank you card. I only taught them for a short period, yet they still remembered me. I was deeply touched.“

As these children hardly had any exposure to English and Cantonese before moving to Hong Kong, May had to teach them the basics. She was amazed by their hard work and learning attitude. 

When May reminisced those lovely moments with the children, she said, “At the end of the programme, the kids even gave me a thank you card. I only taught them for a short period, yet they still remembered me. I was deeply touched.“ 

Apart from the private tutorial with the three children, May also taught in a big class. She admitted that dealing with a big group of students was quite challenging for her. With limited teaching experience, she found it hard to find the right materials to cater to the needs of her students. Nevertheless, she was still proud of herself helping the students at her very best. 

“In the beginning, the students were scared of learning English. When I witnessed their improvement, I gained a send of achievement,“ said May. She tried to teach the children by creating some class activities. For example, she asked them to use the newly learnt adjectives to describe their friends’ personalities. They gradually relieved their fear of English. Even though most of them started from scratch, they were able to pick up a few vocabularies at the end of the class. That was what May took pride in what she did. 

May is looking forward to more community service programmes organised by CEDARS. She reckons that this kind of programme encourages students to engage in community service or advocacy projects for a good cause. It offers a valuable chance for Hong Kong students to understand more about the real situation of the newly immigrated families and eradicate their stigma on Mainland Chinese immigrants.  

Written by:
Tracy Wong
2020 Graduate , CEDARS Intern
December 2020 

Teaching in the Shanty Town