Alumni Linkage - Profile

Alumni Communication & Support Alumni Linkage Past Issues June 2023 Issue Alumni Linkage - Profile

'I still couldn't see what was written on the blackboard even when sitting in the first row in class,' said Skyey, who had been diagnosed at birth with bilateral congenital cataracts and less than half of her vision left. Though difficulties have always been part of her learning journey, Skyey, instead of complaining, is grateful for having met many good people and grown up happily with the support of family, teachers and friends. Talented in recitation and singing, Skyey made use of her strengths to help school children with special educational needs (SEN). 'As I myself also have special needs, I understand what the kids are facing and can give personal guidance.' Aspiring to a career in special education, Skyey enrolled in HKMU's Bachelor of Education with Honours in Early Childhood Education (Leadership and Special Educational Needs) programme and started working in a kindergarten upon graduation last year to make her dream come true.

Overcoming disability and realizing potential in music

Skyey believes that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and she is no different from others. Without overstating the ups and downs of growing up, Skyey said that they had nonetheless made her a bit more worldly-wise. Skyey's father passed away accidentally when she was a child, which left a deep impression on her about the transience of human existence. 'No matter how happy our family was, we can’t get back what we’ve lost! So I've to make myself strong and confident, gaining enough experience and educational qualifications to handle my own affairs. This is how I deal with life.' Skyey pondered about her ability realistically and did not rush forward impetuously, turning adversity into strength. 'My physical disability is a fact that cannot be changed, and so I have no reason not to work hard!' Skyey knew that it would be difficult to get to the top in her studies. But she was lucky enough to have met a mentor who discovered her potential in recitation, and she got the championship in a competition during her first year of primary school. Skyey joined an a cappella choir when she was in secondary school and won awards twice.

As one of the winners of the '2016 Hong Kong Top Ten Outstanding Teens Award' organized by Hong Kong Playground Association, Skyey is a role model who has surpassed limitations to meet challenges with a positive attitude. In response to being described as having 'perfect pitch' by the media at that time, Skyey burst out laughing as she tried to clarify: 'That’s an exaggeration! It's just that I can memorize the notes faster and sing the whole song after listening to the melody once or twice.' The gifted singer interpreted art songs with bel canto and passed ABRSM’s Grade 8 singing exams after preparing for them for just one year. She also loves to sing pop songs and is currently learning from a famous teacher. Undaunted by her visual inadequacy, Skyey plays music scores in her head as she practises the piano.

Volunteer service to encourage people like her

Skyey has always used her musical talent to do voluntary work, so as to give encouragement to people like her. When she was young, she joined the activities of the Hong Kong Society for the Blind with her mother and met many young volunteers. 'They were friendly and full of vitality, and they didn't act as if they were superior. This made me want to be a volunteer as well.' When she got a little older, she participated in fundraising performances and taught in voluntary music class. Such experience has been most unforgettable. She recalled once teaching eight visually impaired people how to play the ukulele at the same time. 'Each of them had special individual needs, and they had lots of questions. I had to take care of everyone carefully. It was no easy feat as appropriate on-the-spot responses were very important.'

When she was only 11 years old, Skyey volunteered in a study class for children run by her mentor. Later, she also participated in teaching and accumulated some experience in childcare. Skyey has received physiotherapy as well as occupational therapy and training due to her eye disease since a young age, which also gave her some ideas and references for voluntary work. 'The procedures and minute details have been etched on my mind. Some of these skills can come in handy when I help children to learn.'

Pursuing a career in special education

After enrolling in HKMU’s education programme and receiving professional trainings, Skyey gradually found her direction in teaching SEN students. 'As I have special needs myself, I understand better than others what they're going through and what kinds of training can be useful for their improvement.' Skyey is strict and scrupulous, but not fierce or authoritarian. She emphasizes standing on the same side with children, setting goals, implementing them step by step, and learning discipline through play. 'I know how to lead children to change, to do voluntarily what they originally resisted.' She enjoys giving guidance to children individually, helping them to build self-identity and grow steadily. 'Help them discover their personal strengths and regain self-confidence. Children who lack self-confidence will not accept themselves. I once was one of them, so I'll try my best to unleash their potential.'

Skyey, who is currently working as a music teacher at Victoria Kindergarten, said that she had openly addressed the issue of her eye disease when she applied for the job. She was very glad to have been accepted by the school. Since assuming office, Skyey stays genuinely humble and  has learned much from experienced senior colleagues trying to find suitable teaching methods for the whole class. At present, she is not only responsible for the music lessons of the entire school. For the rest of the time, Skyey also participates in other lessons to learn how to 'lead the class'. Visual problems make it difficult for her to oversee the behaviour of every child in the classroom. So she goes to great lengths to draw their attention. 'I need to find ways to get the children’s attention, such as through some mini games or tricks, to guide them to follow the instructions and obey the rules happily.' She believes that theory and practice are equally important for education. While a university programme provides the theoretical foundation, she is working towards gaining more practical experience now. 'There's no way to practise teaching without a theoretical basis. The teachers at HKMU take their teaching seriously and have taught me a lot. Now I can see how to make use of such knowledge.'

Skyey has a very fulfilling life. Apart from being a kindergarten teacher on weekdays, she also works part-time to teach and train SEN children. Planning to enroll in a master’s programme in the future, she hopes to contribute to special education in various ways. 'I hope to help as many people as I can, especially SEN friends.' In view of her difficult life journey, Skyey emphasized the need for self-improvement to stay strong. 'I'll work hard to build up my stamina and confidence, so that I can withstand any future challenges!'