Feature a Teacher: Ms. Mok
Six thousand miles. That’s the distance between Brighton and Hong Kong, or the distance Ms. Mok had to travel this summer in order to teach at HKIS. She’s from Brighton, which she described as a “small seaside town in the southeast of England,” and taught in secondary schools for over six years before coming to HKIS from the UK.
She credited this significant transition in her life to three of Hong Kong’s attractions. She explained that Hong Kong had a beautiful countryside where she can hike. Furthermore, the unique culture along with the cosmopolitan(?) atmosphere attracted her. But the final and definitive reason for moving? Her family. She said, “My extended family members also live in Hong Kong—my aunties, my uncles, and my cousins. I wanted to kind of get to know them a little better, so that’s why I moved here.”
Ms. Mok has had a diverse vocational background. Before she taught in secondary schools, she was at Thames Valley in London studying design for interactive media with digital arts. She worked for a publishing company after her graduation and then decided to travel. She said, “When I was traveling, my friends would say, “you should try teaching ESL,” so then I trained to be a TOEFL teacher about eight years ago. Then I went to Shanghai to teach for a year, and I went back to the UK to do my PTC in ICT. PTC is a post-graduate education, and I did mine in technology.”
Despite the wide range of job options, she didn’t have to be a teacher, and explained why she became one, “it was actually because when I was young, I had loads of really fun experiences with different teachers who really inspired me. I just thought it’d be cool to inspire others as well—allow them to flourish and progress.”
Then, why HKIS? She was impressed by our school’s faculty, facilities, and students. She said, “You’ve got first class faculty members here.” While she was in the UK looking for schools to apply for, she watched the recruitment video on our school’s website. She explained that she was impressed with our students presenting our school in a proud manner, and the resources which were available here. She also fell in love with our school’s beautiful location. She said, “When I first came to Tai Tam I was wowed by the campus and the location. You have the hills there, and the water down to the side.”
At our school, Ms. Mok teaches Introduction to Programming, Introduction to Game Design, AP Computer Science Principles (APCSP), and 2D Studio Art Level 1. She’s also the faculty advisor of Games Club and Robotics Club with Mr. Lin. Interestingly enough, although she is a technology teacher, Ms. Mok tries to minimize the use of computers in her classes unless the lesson is focused on learning certain syntaxes and actual coding. She explained, “I like to promote offline activities to be able to think about computers and how they work using physical kinesthetic activities. We spend so much time on the computers we just get engrossed in it. That’s one of the reasons why, if you come into my classes, it’ll be mostly offline based. Computer sciences are about the bigger picture and how computers work and binary systems. I think we can really understand all that with using just little tools like even paper cups to be able to communicate with one person to another across the room. Or you know, counting in binaries on your fingers rather than all doing it in your head. It’s using different tools to be able to learn. That’s what I really enjoy doing rather than just focusing on electronic devices.”
Outside of the classroom, Ms. Mok enjoys a wide variety of other activities. She said as she laughed, “As you probably know, I like all things creative.” In the UK, she painted and still is very interested in modern art. She loves art galleries; among her favorite ones is the Guggenheim Museum, and she goes there every time she visits New York. She also talked about hiking, adding, “My friends took me hiking this weekend. I was absolutely wowed and stunned by the views of Hong Kong. Every time I’ve come here, I’ve just been a city girl and done shopping and eating, having dim sum. But this time around, I’ve seen a different side of Hong Kong that I’ve just fallen in love with.”
She likes watching Studio Ghibli movies such as Spirited Away. And of course, she loves shopping.