Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Steve Reid

Written by Megan Chan

A portrait of Mr. Reid

A portrait of Mr. Reid

Head of Year 10 and design teacher, beloved by all. With his time at RCHK drawing to a close, we sat down with him to ask some questions submitted by Year 10 students at RCHK …

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher ‘cause I was good at making things at school, and I loved designing and making things out of wood. When I was in year 12, my teachers suggested I become a teacher to become like them. And I thought, “well…”. Then I thought, if I become a teacher, I could work in a workshop, with all the tools and machinery, I wouldn’t have to buy them. And I would have lots of holidays as well. So I didn’t go into teaching ‘cause I wanted to teach, I went into teaching because I wanted to make things, and I thought I would have the facilities and time to make pieces of furniture. 

If you could have had any other job what would you do?

Apart from a professional sportsman, football or rugby player? I think a designer or furniture maker, actually making things. I haven’t made something for a long time now. 

What is the most annoying thing that students do?

Make excuses for not doing work. And I know they’re telling stories, ‘cause I’ve done it myself. I’d prefer if they were just honest and say “I didn’t do it”. 

How to deal with teachers when it’s really boring in class?

Well, with MYP design, there’s more written work to do than GCSE. When I used to teach GCSE, it was more practical work, and that was more interesting because students were actually making projects that had to work. With MYP, there’s more structure and process. I don’t think that’s interesting for students. And as a teacher as well, it doesn’t stretch me, because students’ designs don’t have to be made that well to get through a unit. And I miss that aspect of teaching where the student has to make something of quality, and they know it’s gotta work properly.

If you’re bored in design? I would hope they tried to be a little more creative with their designing, and try to stretch themselves a little bit more. The problem is students don’t know enough about making to really push themselves in designing. So they don’t know their capabilities, and many students have got a lot of capability, and because with MYP there isn’t a focus on making a product, they don’t know what they’re capable of, compared with other courses I’ve taught. Students here - not just here, but in other MYP schools I’ve taught at as well, they’re not making things that they enjoy or stretch them in designing or making.

How did you become such a great and accomplished teacher?

(laughs) Great and accomplished teacher? Is that meant as a joke question?

I think… I was pretty successful teaching with GCSE and A Level, because I knew how to make things, I knew how to make things really well, therefore I knew how to teach students how to make proper projects, things they could take home that would last forever. And because I knew how to make things, I think I inspired students that way, because they could take their pride in their work. When they took them home and showed their parents, they had something worthwhile to show their parents. With the current projects we do, because the MYP curriculum doesn’t have an emphasis on the product, I think that doesn’t inspire students so much. But I haven’t really answered your question, because… (laughs) I don’t know. I suppose it has something to do with personality, the way you deal with students, using humor, giving students support, benefit of the doubt, when things aren’t going well. And giving them a chance, I always give them a chance. 

What will you miss the most about the Year 10s?

I think it’s about not seeing them grow up. I first saw them in year 6, and they obviously then came into year 7. And I’ve seen them grow and develop and take on more responsibilities in the school. And they’ve just begun to become leaders in the school, they’re pushing into that bracket as they get older. And they way they’ve just changed, a lot of them have grown up now. There were lots of little squabbles in year 7 and year 8, which we had to deal with. And now, I can talk to them, almost on an adult-to-adult basis. And that relationship would only have gotten better as they got older, and I miss that. Not seeing them grow up to Year 13 students. I feel sad about that. 

Will you still attend Y11 prom next year?

Yes, if I’m invited. I’d like to come to year 13 as well. 

What kind of music do you like?

It’s a mix of things. Mainly musics from the seventies, classic rock. Year 10 know I like AC/DC, because I play it before assembly sometimes. It gets me in the mood for assembly, because it’s quite lively and loud. But like, all sorts of music. Acoustic music, a bit of jazz, just a whole range of music. A mix of different groups.

What's your favourite childhood memory?

I think when I was young, you could just walk out of the door, and go and play with others kid on the street. And we played football, rugby, cricket. We had some athletics. We had all sorts of things, made up our own games. And we didn’t have to go looking for friends, we could just do it. And we played until it got dark, and we would go in and we would be safe. And if our friends weren’t out, we could just knock on their door. So there was always somebody around to play games with, when I was growing up. Which I think students of today don’t get, particularly in Hong Kong. Because all our students live in such widespread areas of Hong Kong, they can’t just pop out their door and meet a friend. And that’s how I grew up, and how many people like me grew up. How we built relationships, because we were together all the time. Boys and girls, playing. And that was good for our development. And it was so easy as well, to do that. There was always somebody to talk to, to play with. And now when I go home, I’ve still got childhood friends I could talk to. I can always come back, lots of people I can see. 

So I think that’s my favourite childhood memory, the way I grew up. And around where I lived, there were lots of fields, trees - we used to climb trees. Some holidays we’d go to fields and we’d find some rope, build swings in trees, little campfires, we were ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, something like that. Then we’d go up to the mountains, spend all day up there, no food or drink. We’d just go up there with our group of friends, and we’d be up all day and our parents wouldn’t worry about us. And five, six hours later we’d come home, filthy, hungry, straight in the bath, something to eat, and bed. Yeah, it was nice the way I grew up. 

What is your most memorable moment in Renaissance College?

In the early days of the school I used to get up on stage every Christmas assembly and I’d tell a few jokes, and sing the twelve days of Christmas. And I’d have the words up on the screen, so each house had to sing a different line from twelve days of Christmas, and they all had to out-shout each other. And that was good fun, I used to enjoy that. I did it for about three or four Christmases, and then the house directors had too many items. And I was waiting to go on, but they didn’t have enough time so they cut me in the end. After a while they didn’t ask me to do it again - I think they’ve got better things to do anyways. So yeah, those were fun days. When everybody just got involved and sang in Christmas assembly.