This week we caught up with a very interesting lady; Sue Woods, Vice Principal of Kind Hing Trinity International Kindergarten and Nursery in Mui Wo. She’s a lady that is very down-to-earth, warm and easy to talk to. Having met her a number of times before I was amazed to find out some of the things she shared with me during this post! Without further ado…here’s Sue…
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in South Africa and have 3 sisters. My dream was to win an Oscar and be a famous Actress! To this end, I did Classical Ballet, gymnastics and participated in all the school Drama Productions. In High School my sisters and I joined a Children’s circus. I learned to fly trapeze, be a Clown, walk on stilts and be the Fire Blower’s assistant. After school I studied Dramatic Art and afterwards got very interested in Film making so I studied for 3 years at the Filmschool in Pretoria, majoring in Film editing. My first job was as a film editor in Johannesburg. My marriage took me to Sydney Australia and then back to South Africa where my husband and I established a Primary school in the rural area of Hartbeespoort where we were living, as there were no English medium schools for our children. This sparked my passion for teaching and after moving back to Australia in 2009, I studied to get my Early Childhood qualifications and am still enjoying teaching and inspiring young children.
2. How long have you been in Hong Kong and what do you do?
I moved to Hong Kong nearly 3 years ago. My husband had been working in HK for 2 years before this and we were doing the up and down travel to see each other, which got too much!
I am Vice Principal of Dramatic English Kind Hing Trinity International Kindergarten in Mui Wo, Lantau.
3. How did you discover your talent/when did you discover your passion?
In our school in South Africa, the Mountain Cambridge School, I was working in the Office near the Pre-school. The little children would be brought to me if they were upset or hurt, and I had a natural ability to relate. One little girl used to hide under my desk and talk to me from that safe space until she felt ready to start her day in the class. Her trust in me and the confidence she gained from me inspired me to become an Early Childhood teacher.
4. What do you love most about what you do?
The children. They inspire me, challenge me, amuse me and fill my soul. Seeing them learn and grow is, without being corny, a true honour.
5. What/who inspires you to do what you do?
My late mother, Jean Jay, went back to University when her 3 daughters were in High School and got her Law Degree, then went on to be a Magistrate in the New South Africa after Apartheid. She IS my role model and an example of it’s never too late to go back to University! Our first Principal and a partner in The Mountain Cottage School, Lesley Pugh was very inspirational to me with her nurturing teaching style. Another partner and a dear friend, Daleen Taylor, is another person who inspires me with her passion and vision.
6. What’s been your favourite project that you’ve worked on?
Setting up the Kindergarten in beautiful Mui Wo – being involved in the project from the beginning, being able to have input in the design and Reggio Emilia style has worked so well in this beach front location.
7. What’s been the most challenging project so far?
I think starting the Mountain Cottage School as the community was very skeptical initially, the banks wouldn’t give us a loan, we built on a site without town water so we had to find borehole water and our phone cables kept getting stolen!
8. What does a day in your shoes look like?
I wake up at 5am, answer emails, plan for meetings, daily staff schedules and look over lesson plans, as I teach K2 and K3 as well as running the day to day Kindergarten. I take my 2 jack russells to the beach for a walk every morning at 6.30. I cycle to school, a quick 5 minutes, then prepare staff and classrooms before the children arrive. I love saying hello to the families as they arrive. My morning is filled with lessons, assessing staff and ensuring the best quality lessons are happening. I usually have a quick lunch (cooked and packed by my wonderful hubby) at work before I add photos of the day for the parents on Facebook, and then Admin and teaching afternoon duties.
9. Are there any photos that you would like to share with us?
Sue with her husband and two children
Lots of smiley children…(and a smiley Sue too!)
‘Miss Sue’ teaching a group of children in Mui Wo