Last year, we were out of school on the 23rd of June. For some reason, this year, we are going a week past that date. I’m sure there is a good reason for this, but nothing is going to make me see that at this point in time.
This past week has been dragging so slowly. Add to that, our department is being kicked out of their space in the school and being given the leftovers essentially. Our HOD has really stepped up to fight what they originally wanted us to do. I’m proud of her efforts. Still, I feel this move shows how little special needs support is valued. This is not a problem exclusive to this school at all. When I worked in the US as a special needs teacher, many times we were given the least desirable classrooms (or closets and storage rooms in many cases). We were expected to conduct two classes at the same time in one classroom. These were the kids with emotional needs, learning disabilities, and sensory and attention issues. These were the kids who needed to have a more calming and soothing environment in order to learn. Many times though, admins or just the overall governance of the school saw fewer kids in the room, so they didn’t really need all of that space.
What I wouldn’t have given for a sensory room or just a quiet room with comfy couches for my students, but yeah, that’s not the most pressing concern…
Anyway, our school doesn’t seem to be much different. When you consider the lack of regulations regarding special needs, that is even more so.
We didn’t find out about this until the last 2 weeks of school. Our department was being moved. We were scrambling to pack up our office and find a way to get it to all fit into the space we were being given. We would have about a 10th of the space that we have now in regards to our office. And our classroom space is going to be on a different floor from our offices. Overall we were being given about 1/3 of the space we had to begin with. Not undoable, just a bit uncomfortable, I suppose. At least we’ll have windows (yeah, they tried to put us in a storage room with no windows as a compromise).
The last week of school wasn’t all bad though. We had an extended advisory with our year 7 kids.
We did an advisory selfie and a whole year group selfie. We played a game with balloons and had an egg race. Our last game was them drawing each of their hands side by side and one by one, and it was a race to see who could get to the end first.
On the last day, we had an advisory party. We had control of one of the hubs and each classroom had a different theme. I was in the DJ room. The kids seemed to be having a really great time. Dude was having fun with his friends in the Twister room. A bunch of my advisory kids ended up hanging out with me in my DJing room.
At the end of the day, we had an end of school assembly. The whole of secondary was put into the PAC. The house directors MCed the show. Various students performed in singing, dancing, playing instruments, and just talking about the great things that were accomplished this year. It is incredible the amount of talent in that school.
After the kids were dismissed from school, my department reconvened one last time in our space to have a glass of bubbly to celebrate our teammate who would be moving on for the next school year. She started with me 2 years ago, but she is moving on to another international school in Hong Kong. It is criminal that she and her husband are leaving. They were both invaluable to the school.
I love my school, and I love my job, but I’m not going to lie, it was nice to finally reach the end. Many of the teachers were on their way out somewhere. Some off to some vacation destination, and some returning home for the summer holiday. We are doing neither at this point in time. Love has to work for the summer, and we need to save his time off for Christmas. We will be going home then to see family, and even then, he will only have 2 weeks (we get 3 weeks off for Christmas).
So school is finished for this year. Dude will be staying at PIS with me. Monkey will be going to another school to enroll in the BTEC. Monster has one more year at her school. I will continue on with my year group up to year 8. Love will continue on as the IT support for all of the kindergartens (5 of them). I am not sure what we will do over the summer, but hopefully, we will find ways to occupy our time. There is still a ton to see and do in Hong Kong.