International College Hong Kong
May 16, 2019

The Shift from Student to Staff Member

Harry Merrett is an ICT Assistant at ICHK

As you go through secondary school, people are going to start telling you about a magical place called university. This applies doubly if you don’t like school very much. They’ll tell you it’s the light at the end of the tunnel, the be-all and end-all, the place you’re Supposed To Go.

I’m here to tell you that that’s ridiculous. I went to university, and I hated it so much that after three months I gave up and went home. It was not for me, and it’s not going to be for everyone. Now, I work here at ICHK, which is what I’m really here to tell you about.

When I left uni, I was in a bit of a slump, not really sure what to do with myself. My mum and I stumbled into the idea of going back to ICHK to do some work for the school, and I liked the thought of that so much that we got in touch with Ross and Toby and sorted things out. I started here at the beginning of this term, working with Mr. Parker - as you can see, I call him Ross now, which is weird, but not as weird as calling all the teachers by their first names - as an ICT assistant.

Over the past two and a half months, I’ve expanded my reach, working with Ben Blain and his Year 7 English students, and even getting to run a Deep Learning activity, sharing my passion for Dungeons and Dragons with a few lucky students. That hasn’t stopped me from diving deep into the realms of ICT though; I’ve learned an incredible amount in such a short time. It has been one of the most enriching experiences of my entire life.

I’m still a bit rubbish though. Still essentially being a child will do that to you. While I am becoming more mature - there’s no arguing that - I’ve still got a long way to go. I need to decide what kind of person I am around students, and how I can motivate myself to work hard. These are things I’ve struggled with all my life, and I’m not going to be able to fix them overnight. I’m sure a lot of students have stories to tell about interacting with me, good and bad! I’ve been doing a lot of learning by experience, and taking time to reflect on how I interact with students.

Getting a look behind the curtain at the school I spent my entire secondary education life at is… strange. Doubly so because I’m still friendly with some of the Year 13 students, and because my youngest sister, Kate, is now in Year 7. In some ways, I even still behave and operate like a student. Having feet in both worlds can put me in unnerving and uncomfortable positions sometimes, but it also allows me to connect with students in a way that I don’t think older teachers really can. I’m only a few years older than most of these kids, so I still have a pretty acute understanding of what they’re into. I can adjudicate arguments about Roblox, Fortnite and whether or not PewDiePie is a fascist (he is, and I find it difficult to tolerate chit-chat about him in classrooms), with a little bit more maturity than these kids might have. I had an experience recently where I helped a Year 7 student install a Minecraft mod, and Mr. Parker commented that I’m useful because I know about what these kids are into. It’s a fun niche to be in.

Overall, it’s absolutely fantastic to be working at ICHK. I’m forever thankful to Ross and Toby for giving me a position within the school, and I hope I can maintain the momentum I’ve gained. I’m sure I won’t be leaving any time soon!



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