My former student from HKU, Billy, is visually impaired. Even before I got to know him in class, I had read stories about him in the newspaper. He was then studying BEd in English Language Education at HKU and aspired to teach English in a mainstream school.

What's your response? Difficult? Impossible?

Guess what? Billy graduated this year and has found a part-time teaching post in a mainstream school. Isn't it a dream come true?

But can you imagine the various hurdles Billy has to face?

In his last email to me, he wrote:

These are some practical things I would like to solve. In fact, emotionally I sometimes feel bad having the feeling that I am an inferior teacher who is unimportant at the school (Iʼm taking 12 lessons from the 25 periods my co-op teacher has per week). I know it takes time for the school to be confident in me but I just canʼt help feeling bad sometimes. Anyway, I will always work and solve practical problems and I believe one day my peers and the school can see my passion and ability.

A week later, I got an uplifting email from him:

Wanted to share with you something exciting! Today I talked with a student from my class. He is visually impaired too and he told me that a classmate of his wrote about me in his blog. I found his xanga site

He wrote it last Thursday after I helped them with oral practice after school. Though I shouldn't base my performance only on students' feedback, what he said really encourages me to go on and keep believing that one day more and more people will recognize my effort and passion.

I really admire Billy. When we are complaining about our jobs, our students and our lives, perhaps remember that there are some people whose lives are much more difficult - and yet they are living with an indomitable spirit and tremendous courage.

For Billy, there are still lots of difficulties ahead. How can he convince the parents that he can teach their children well? How can he maintain classroom discipline? How can he establish rapport with his students?

I am hoping to write about Billy's story again.

Posted by Icy Lee