Monday, 31 January 2011

the craft of writing

Do you remember in high school when we filled in a multiple choice survey with tens, no hundreds, of questions, designed to help us choose our future career? The seemingly endless questions were about abilities, lifestyle, and "workplace values", whatever they were. After we nervously filled in the answer sheet bubbles with our sharpened pencils it was sent off to be analysed. Two weeks later we received a one page printed sheet with our best choice careers bluntly stated. Several of my friends and I were mystified by the names of jobs we had never heard of previously. My two optimal jobs? Metallurgist and technical writer.

I laughed off these two bizarre suggestions. I floundered through university, undecided, eventually ending up with a maths and history degree. And then I hit upon what I wanted to do: I became a teacher.

But recently I have started to wonder about writing again and I have begun practicing on my food blog. And I've been reading books about food writing, style, and vocabulary. It's exciting to learn a new thing.

I'm not saying that I've decided to change careers. But maybe those hundreds of questions had something to say, after all.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Chinese New Year is approaching

I saw this as I walked up the driveway tonight. At work tomorrow I will ask for some help from my local colleagues and learn how to wish you a very lucky New Year in Cantonese. We have just over a week at work until we have the holiday and Ant and I are looking forward to enjoying all that happens in Hong Kong over the period. Our friend Laura will be visiting and we plan to see the dragon parade. And we are going with some of my colleagues on a junk boat on the harbour on the night of the fireworks. Stay tuned for pictures soon!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

our new coffee mugs

Don't you think that our new coffee thermos flasks are quite "his and hers"? They have been fantastic at work, even after an hour's teaching, my tea is still hot when I pick it up.

(I took this picture and typed this post on my new phone, the HTC Desire HD. I'm expecting some glitches.)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

communicating--by email?

Below is the abstract of a workshop at a school leaders' conference. (For non-Hong Kongers, Sir Donald Tsang is the chief executive of HK Government.)

Donald Tsang Does It.... Do You?

As educators, it appears we use email as our communications tool of choice whether we are communicating with colleagues, with students, or with parents. We still use letters for impact when it is something of real consequence but otherwise we send an ever increasing barrage of emails to our communities. Is this really the best we can do in reaching out to our target audience when we have an array of sophisticated alternatives at our disposal? We pride ourselves on being "good communicators" but when the average student views email as "something that old people do" then perhaps it is time to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves, "are we really doing everything we can to be good communicators and adapting our communication strategies to meet the needs of our target audience?"

And in case you were wondering what Donald Tsang does ... he blogs!

I wonder if my teenage students will turn to emails when they get jobs? Or will communication be different by then? What do you think communication will look like in our future?

This is on my mind because I got my first smartphone yesterday and now I can be in touch with the world all the time! It feels quite exciting. I checked some email on the bus. I did some Twitter at my desk. What will be next? Maps while I am out and about? How thrilling!

Now I can even blog from anywhere. Since that appears to be the communication of the future.