Bailee and Payne

Finding Home in Hong Kong: Graduate Feature

By Tessa Judge
February 9, 2018

Bailee Schrack from Nebraska and Payne Roberts from Pennsylvania met in September 2017 when they found themselves in Sámara completing their Costa Rica TEFL certificates. Like many of our students, the two came to us with no formal teaching experience. Unbeknownst to them, their arrival in Sámara would be the start of an adventurous life of teaching and traveling together.

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Blending lively metropolis with serene nature, the couple’s new home of Hong Kong is vibrant and diverse, offering something for everyone. Equipped with mountains, hiking trails, public parks and gardens, and beaches, Bailee and Payne spend some of their weekends exploring their natural surroundings and others poking around the numerous local markets. Otherwise, the couple can sometimes be found attending weekly horse races at a local racetrack and even had the chance to visit the Hong Kong Disneyland for New Years Eve.

When the two aren’t exploring their new city with new friends, you can find them putting their Costa Rica TEFL certificates to good use. Bailee works at a local school called Tak Sun Kindergarten, where she teaches English classes to students aged 3-5.

“The levels vary between K1, K2, and K3 classes. I create my own lesson plans which follow a theme and mostly include rhymes and games,” says Bailee. “Learning all of the activities during Costa Rica TEFL and having many pages of activity logs has been extremely helpful in creating my lesson plans. The children love picture slap!”

Bailee and Payne

Payne began applying for jobs when he and Bailee arrived in Hong Kong. After just two weeks, he was training for his current job at Babington Learning Center, an English language institution.

“My students range from ages 3-9 and we train them from the Oxford University curriculum,” Payne says. “Learning lesson planning and gaining teaching practice with Costa Rica TEFL made me more confident when applying for jobs and prepared me for my current job. Learning phonics and how to teach them really gives you an edge, especially in Asian schools.”

Bailee and Payne’s adventures together have only just begun. The two have signed year-long contracts with their respective schools and plan to continue exploring Hong Kong and other Asian countries during their down time. Living together allows them to save money with the goal of taking a few months off after their contracts are up to travel the world together.

“Costa Rica TEFL was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I made many lifelong friends from all walks of life, but the best part was meeting Bailee,” says Payne. “Now we have the skills to teach, explore, and thrive thanks to everything we learned at Costa Rica TEFL. Thank you, Jenn and Vanessa, for being such great teacher trainers!”