This one at least has a purpose…
As part of my ECE (Early Childhood Education) diploma program, we are required to do a work experience placement at a child care centre each semester after the first is completed. It’s a 2 year (4 semester) program, so that means 3 placements.
Part way through our first semester, during a field placement information session, one of the teachers mentioned that for our third and final placement, it was possible to qualify for an “atypical” placement. That meant working in a setting other than the usual day care or preschool. The various opportunities included a kindergarten classroom as part of the newly imposed full-day early learning where both a teacher and an ECE work together, or in a hospital paediatric ward, etc.
The final thing our teacher mentioned was that each year, a handful of students were selected to go to Hong Kong to do their final placement in a preschool there. I internally freaked out. Okay, maybe a bit on the outside too. If you know much about me, you may already have clued in to the fact that I *might* be a tad obsessed with Asian culture, specifically in regards to China and Japan. In my head, I was ready to fight my entire class to ensure I was one of the ones who got to go. (I may have said as much and administered a whole lot of stink eye, too.)
The teacher told us that in order to be selected, we had to maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher and prove economic ability and various other points. From that point on, I became a total grade whore. I worked hard for my 4.0 and kept it up the entire two years. (No easy feat for me. I’m extremely lazy and a world-class procrastinator. Plus, a career drop-out.)
I was a little worried about the financial aspect for a while and was wondering how I was going to swing it. I don’t work while I’m in school (not an effective multi-tasker). Luckily, things really seemed to be meant to be. My parents sold the condo my brother and his wife were living in and offered them a nice chunk to help them out with a down payment for a new house. They deemed it “only fair” to give the same amount to my sister and I to do with whatever we pleased. I had no qualms.
So, grades and funding? Check and check. I also made it quite clear to every single teacher I had that I was determined to go and put the idea in their heads that they should do whatever they could to help me out. Several were very accommodating and gave me glowing references when the time came.
When our final semester was approaching, the organizers of the trip held formal interviews for the 30 or so students who had shown interest. Only 8 would be selected from the diploma program and 4 from the degree program. It was intense. I had a panel of 5 faculty I had never met before interview me for over an hour. Nerve-racking, to say the least. But I made it. I was selected as one of the lucky 8. (Haha, lucky 8… get it? No? Ask me later, if you care.)
So~ when all of my classmates started their final field placements, I had those three days a week for 7 weeks off. Obviously, it isn’t possible to attend classes and be in Hong Kong at the same time. The way it’s planned is that once classes were over, we would have 2 weeks to prepare and then go to Hong Kong for an entire month. Which is the stage I am in now – preparation. All of my friends have officially graduated but I technically won’t until my placement is completed successfully.
And, the point~
Unlike all but one of my classmates, I am married. (I’m more than 10 years older than most of them, too.) Hubby wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of me leaving for a month, but he’s always been very supportive, and we live quite a different lifestyle than most couples our age (no kids, etc.) so there was no real reason I couldn’t go.
Neither hubby or I are fans of talking on the phone. There is Skype, of course, but there is a 12 hour time difference between Toronto and Hong Kong so scheduled times to talk will probably be brief. This blog was actually his idea. He thought I should describe my days as I would to him and he could catch up on all that stuff on his own time. I thought that would also be a convenient way to keep multiple people informed without having to write a lot of emails. Two birds.
So there it is. Enjoy my experience vicariously.
And don’t worry, the posts will NOT be this long.
(originally posted to ngohheuiheunggong)