My Teaching Journey at One Year

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings. Always believe in yourself”

Recently it was my first anniversary of working in Baumhaus (YAY!), the time passed so fast yet just like the children in our classes, I feel that I have grown, seen and experienced so much throughout this year.

I still remember my heart pounding, my feet pacing back and forth in the classroom when was preparing my very first class, it was scary but exciting, as I calmed by saying to myself: "This is when and where I am empowered to empower."

Even I, myself, was born and raised here in Hong Kong, studied in local schools and went through the whole local examinations, and yet, I dare not say that I can totally relate to the stress that the parents and children undergo now,  where there are too many people saying, you can do better but too few saying you are doing a good job. A year in Baumhaus allowed me to encourage grown ups, parents and caregivers alike, showing them their children can be shy or active, can be confident or unsure, can be explorative or observant. And proving to them that by allowing a child to be who they are, they do not make them be less competent.

Towards the end of my first year, I was so lucky to be assigned to the Vine Church to conduct Kindermusik lessons for the refugee children, who have never experienced any classroom-setting education. While their families are struggle with life, they live in a harsh, crowded environment. It ran for four weeks and it was challenging at the start. To be honest, the first lesson was bit chaotic and it made me worried and anxious, wondering if I am capable to teach them something that they can bring with them for the rest of their lives. Eventually I bit the bullet and witnessed their rapid growth and was astounded by passion which facilitated their learning.

Four weeks seemed so long at the beginning, then it felt too short in the end. Some of you might have seen a post from the Baumhaus Instagram that I braided some bracelets for them as a souvenir:

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Here is the little story behind what I did: I noticed all the children had a bracelet and apparently they had to return it after the class on the day. It was for identification purposes. And to be honest the chance that we will meet each other again after the Summer is so slim, and yet, I learnt a lot from those strong, independent and creative children and I really wanted give them something they literally can take home with them. So I braided some bracelets with words of the special qualities that I saw in them in the passed weeks : CHEERFUL, KIND, ENTHUSIASM, STRONG, BRAVE. I asked them to select by themselves who they think in the class represents the quality, seeing them processing the whole thing and making their own decisions peacefully in a group (unlike the first lesson when they tried to solve their conflict with shouting or being physical). I am so proud of them, and this is the least that I could do to show and remind them that whatever struggle they might face, they are not defined by the things that they cannot do (yet). I also wish for them to appreciate the things that they accomplished and qualities they possess. I know that this memory of them and this experience will stay with me for the rest of my life and I am really grateful for it.

Circumstances in Hong Kong are getting harsh, from running a business to just simply living. I am moved knowing in my home city there is a place that hears the ones who are in need, at the same time so impressed as the team of the Vine Church is so empathic, so dedicated to providing opportunities for the children to learn and believing in them and what they can achieve to let their true colours shine.

Here is a special shoutout for them for doing such a meaning work!

Lastly give thanks to my Baumhaus Family: the teachers, the back-of-house staff, the receptionists, the Cafe Sausalito Staff and the families that attend our classes, the families that visit our centres, or simply just you, who is reading this blog. Every smile and every laugh makes me stronger; every challenge and every struggle makes me wiser. Thank you for believing in me, and it might sound cliche but I indeed believe in each and every one of you too. It does take a village to raise a child, and this “child” can now proudly say:

I’m Teacher Violet, a Creative Arts Educator and proud Team Member of Baumhaus. :)

Violet Chan