International College Hong Kong

Charlotte Lam

English and PGCE, Universities of Nottingham and Durham

What did you most enjoy about your time at ICHK?

Every time I talk about ICHK, I always comment on its positive community and camaraderie I was able to be a part of. Respect and kindness were always given and reciprocated by everyone, whether through a smile and hello towards one another when we passed each other along the corridors, holding the door for others as we entered or exited the classroom, or including others in conversations if we noticed they felt left out. We would all support one another through challenges and celebrations alike too, even when competing against each other during house competitions and sports days. Every single person played a role in establishing this uplifting and supportive environment; it was what made me enjoy coming to school every day to learn.

ICHK also provided many experiences outside of academia that were exciting and memorable. I enjoyed having the opportunity to play for the school’s touch rugby team in tournaments, being involved in the yearly drama productions, and taking part in Ms. Loges’ lunchtime yoga sessions to alleviate the stress of IB. Outside of school, I gained fond memories spending time in nature and partaking in various activities with my year group during camps (Year 9 camp will always be my favourite!), as well as stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new during CAS weeks, such as first aid, completing the Lantau Island challenge, and volunteering at ICHK HLY. These opportunities all played a part in making ICHK enjoyable and unforgettable for me.

How do you feel that teachers at ICHK prepared you for life after school?

The teachers at ICHK supported me in every way they could to ensure I was flourishing academically and individually. They created an environment in the classroom where I was encouraged to be curious, ask questions, and challenge ideas. I was given the space to find my voice without judgment and develop the confidence to share my opinions with others, even if they might not be agreed on. I’m now not afraid to speak my mind and have a desire to acquire new knowledge, two traits that have been exceptionally useful when I was studying for my degrees. Additionally, the teachers were very open about their own experiences as well. Whether about university, the future, adulthood, or life in general, they were always willing to share their stories and offer advice that has been, and still is useful to me.

But perhaps most importantly, however, was being taught what a growth mindset was and how I should embrace failure as part of the learning process. I will undoubtedly fail and make mistakes, but by recognising my faults, and choosing to get back up and try again, I’ll get better each time until I’m fully able to correct my errors and succeed. Understanding this perspective allowed me to overcome many obstacles I faced at ICHK and university, as well as those when teaching and in my personal life. No matter what challenges I am confronted with, I know I can confidently use this mindset to help me conquer them.

How do you think that ICHK differs from other schools?

ICHK has always been relatively smaller compared to other schools. This meant we could receive personalised help or guidance more readily from teachers if we needed it, and for the teachers to spend time helping us to understand what we don’t know or are unsure of. Having this opportunity available to us was and is something I will always be grateful for.

Furthermore, ICHK’s approach to education is different too. Rather than strictly focusing on academic achievements and ensuring we got the highest marks on our exams, the school defined our success through our attitudes to learning instead – how hard work, independence, and a growth mindset were more important and valued compared to a number or letter we received for our grades. When I went into my IGCSE and IB years with this ethos in mind, I was always motivated to produce my best work. This led to my efforts being acknowledged and recognised by the teachers; it would be positively reflected in my exam results as well.

What were the key skills that you learnt at ICHK?

I would say the most important skills I learned from ICHK are resilience, perseverance, and having a growth mindset – all of which I actively use now and take with me into the classroom when I teach to promote a positive and encouraging environment for children to learn in.

I also developed skills that have played an essential role during my time at university and in my everyday life, including effective time management, organisation, and how to stay on top of my workload. The IB Programme gave me the chance to explore and experiment with academic writing too, preparing me for the essays I had to write for my degrees and allowing me to recognise areas in my writing abilities that needed improving.

Any significant moments / highlights / achievements in your life that you may like to share, and do you think your time at ICHK helped you prepare for them?

The culmination of the aforementioned opportunities, experiences, and skills all had a positive influence on my achievements after I graduated from ICHK. This includes getting a 2:1 for my undergraduate degree in English and a Distinction for my Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). If it were not for the school community and teachers who encouraged and supported me every step of the way, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you so much ICHK – I really appreciate it!

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