20 January 2019
Tam Wen-wa (right) proudly holds the first illustration book created by her student Moavia (center). With them is a representative of the publisher. Photo: Moavia Facebook
Tam Wen-wa (right) proudly holds the first illustration book created by her student Moavia (center). With them is a representative of the publisher. Photo: Moavia Facebook

HK teacher honored for dedication to help special needs students

A teacher from Hong Kong Red Cross Margaret Trench School in Ngau Chi Wan has been chosen one of the “Ten Most Beautiful Teachers of 2017”, reports.

Tam Wen-wa, who became the first teacher from Hong Kong to be handed the award organized by China Central Television, said it is the achievements of her students, rather than awards, that motivate her to devote herself to teaching.

Rightly so, for the most important and long-lasting beauty is the beauty that radiates from the heart.

Tam has been teaching for more than 20 years, having started at an international school where she worked for four years after finishing her undergraduate course.

She went on to pursue a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) at the University of Hong Kong. While taking up the course, one of her professors told her that she would make a suitable candidate for teaching special needs students.

Tam put the advice into action and has never left the field since.

She said although special needs students may be handicapped, they are very willing to learn, and this has fueled her passion to work harder to teach them.

“Writing may be easy for people like us,” she said. “But I am very happy that some special needs students overcome their difficulties and write for me!”

Her career is not without its sorrows. Tam sadly recalled one student, a young boy of Southeast Asian ethnicity, who died in 2008 while on a holiday in his hometown.

The boy hated Chinese at first, but with Tam’s help, he was able to finish all his homework. In his spare time, he would share some of his traditional snacks with Tam and chat with her like a close friend.

Recalling his death made Tam very emotional. She said it took her quite a long time to recover from the tragedy that befell her student.

Now, whenever she feels tired and unmotivated, she would look at the homework the boy had done to motivate herself.

Tam has been actively helping her students to pursue their dreams. For example, she helped a student with muscular dystrophy to finish his first illustration book.

The boy named Moavia said he could not have completed the project without Tam’s constant motivation and inspiration. Funds for the project were provided by a charitable organization.

“I will continue to work hard to pay my respects to my dear teacher,” Moavia said.

When asked about retirement, Tam said she is not considering it yet. And even if she retires from her work at school, she said would want to continue tutoring students.

Her students’ successes will always be a great motivation for her, and she treats them as if they were her own children.

One of the issues that concern Tam most is the difficulty that special needs students face after graduation – finding employment.

As many of them would just go to menial jobs after finishing basic education, Tam is calling on the government to offer more career opportunities for them.

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