Doug is Director of Out of Class and Experiential Education at ICHK Secondary
Why did you want to become a teacher?
I worked in mental health and disability for a while before teaching. My motivation was the same for all of it- to be with people different from me. Teaching hooked me without me noticing as I came to love the atmosphere of schools – where everyone loved learning and I got to learn things too.
What is your first memory from school?
My favourite first memory of school is actually of taking my own daughter to my school for her first day- from that day on for the next seven years I got to see her at school every day which I just loved.
What makes a ‘good day’ at school?
Getting outdoors. Learning something new alongside the students. Laughing. Having a ‘wow’ or ‘aha’ moment.
If I walked into your classroom on a typical afternoon, what would I see going on?
We would not be there – we would be outside learning in the natural world with students photographing plants, gently handling crabs, trying foraged foods, tracing water courses and tracking wind and wave patterns.
What’s the funniest thing a child has ever said to you?
So this was a primary age student- 7 years old. He had a bad cold and sneezed an enormous mass of snot and blood into his hands and rushed up to me, genuinely terrified, shouting: “My brain came out!”
What are your “trapped on a desert island” books or movies?
To Live by Yu Hua- I actually read it when I was trapped on an island.
Lord of the Rings- book or movie reminds me of England and family.
Guidebook to local flora and fauna.
Three-body trilogy by Cixin Liu.
A Big History book. Maybe Why the West Rule for now or Climate Change and Course of Global History.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Leave No Trace as recent movies.
The Invisibles by Grant Morrison.
What is the hardest thing about being a teacher?
In Hong Kong it is the turnover of students- as people so often get relocated you build relationships with students who then leave.
What inspires you?
The natural world.
Sea and stars.
Challenging yourself to learn something new.
Someone who believes in you.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Learning to dive, kayak, climb and use sharp knives without losing a limb.
What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
I did not expect to teach for very long before moving on to something else and I made a pledge to learn something new every year that I taught. That was 27 years ago. First year it was Spanish that I learned. Last year it was sport climbing. Right now it is Archeoastronomy.