Kerry Murphy and Olivia Kotyck
Lower Primary School Teachers
Since joining HKIS in 1998, Linda Chan, a mainstay of the Lower Primary School, has infused an appreciation of and wonder for Hong Kong culture in our students’ lives, while serving the community.
Ms. Chan in Sichuan
Linda Chan has been an integral part of HKIS for 24 years, although her time in Hong Kong started long before that. In 1984, Linda came to Hong Kong from San Francisco with her son Josh and husband Wil when he was recruited as a High School Math and Science teacher. A few years after the birth of their second son Casey, Linda and her family moved back to the United States to focus on family. However, they couldn’t keep away from Hong Kong for long. In 1998, the family once again packed up their home and returned to Hong Kong and HKIS where Linda started working as an R1 teacher.
Linda truly embodies the HKIS Mission of dedicating minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion and lives to service and global understanding.
Ms. Chan brings plants and blocks to class to examine and discuss with her students.
Minds to Inquiry
Linda is a dedicated professional who has always strived to provide each student under her care with the best educational opportunities to meet their individual needs. Linda has long been an advocate for ‘child centered’ learning. Over the course of her 24-year career at HKIS, she honed her craft and had the opportunity to learn more about the Reggio approach in Italy. Her classroom is ‘child-centered’ and she has deep convictions of offering ‘open-ended’ and ‘creative-imagination’ experiences for all of her students. The education of the children in her care does not stop within the walls of her classroom or HKIS. While combining her love of education, inquiry and helping others, one of Linda’s biggest accomplishments as an educator was to design and implement real-time experiential site visits based on her classes’ inquiries and project work. This included bringing her classes to see, hear and feel the Hong Kong community. A Hong Kong shoemaker in Wan Chai, a local noodle factory in North Point, Dick Mak’s printing factory in Chai Wan, and the Chi Lin Nunnery to bathe the Buddha were a few of the many experiences she provided for the learners in her class, while of course always taking the trips via multiple local transport modes.
Hearts to Compassion
During her time teaching at HKIS, Linda instilled her passion of local service to the young learners in her care. Bringing the children out into the community was only the first step in encouraging her students to think deeply and compassionately about the people in their local communities. Linda’s R1 classes made name bead bracelets for the babies at Mother’s Choice and conducted ‘gently used’ book drives to collect and donate fun age-appropriate books to rural children in Guangdong province. Linda is an expert at providing students with real-life experiences while instilling compassion for others.
Linda and Wil Chan with a donation of books in China.
Life to Service
Linda has always been passionate about helping others. Prior to leaving San Francisco, Linda was a licensed Recreational Therapist for the State of California working with handicapped children and adults. She treasures finding ways to be involved in Community Service. Linda has been volunteering at the orphanage Mother’s Choice for over 20 years. Like clockwork every Thursday evening after work, Linda takes the bus there to cuddle, feed and nurture the babies from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to continuing her Mother’s Choice commitment, she has also added the organization Food Angel to her world of local service. She is especially pleased to have the chance to introduce these service opportunities to a few of her school colleagues as a way of giving back to the community.
Linda with adoring friends and family. Top: With her sons. Middle: With friends on a canal boat. Bottom: UP and LP teachers celebrate a birthday.
The two areas that bring Linda great joy are traveling with her family and colleagues as well as the opportunity to introduce many Hong Kong treasures for her friends and colleagues to enjoy. These include walking tours to explore the last woman mahjong maker in Hong Kong, hunting down the last sheet metal mailbox makers, chatting with the last ‘bamboo bird cage’ maker in HK, and connecting and learning from the jade experts in the Yau Ma Tei jade market. Linda brings families and colleagues together to share local festivals including the Fire Dragon festival, CNY Flower Market in Victoria Park, Hong Kong Flower Show and Tai Tam mud flat treasure hunting.
It is difficult to describe the scope and magnitude of the service Linda has given to her students and families over these past 24 years at HKIS. Regardless, she is now fully immersed in her greatest role yet: Grandma!
Stay in touch with Ms. Chan!