This year’s high school English classes started with many fresh faces, as our final year students had graduated and several moved into the HIUC program.

With new faces, came new passions and motivations, and it’s been exciting to discover about each other and our areas of expertise. Our class discussions have found enthusiasm in many subjects and topics from poetry and literature to dance and ballet, and from Japanese comedy to Western pop music.

Recently, we looked at the poem If— by Rudyard Kipling

Here’s verse one. Have a look and see if you like it.

If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


We’ve been working steadily in our three classes – Listening and Speaking, Reading and Writing and Grammar. The Listening and Speaking class has recently focused on inspiring people, and we discovered about efforts made by women in Kenya and in Guatemala to bring about positive changes in people’s lifestyles and encourage the spread of peace.

Inspired by these stories, the students paired up and researched and produced presentations on other famous female figures. Our choices – Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.

The Grammar class is not as dull as it sounds. Yes, we do a lot of grammar work – looking at different tenses and discovering how to construct the most elegant sentences to express ideas. Sometimes that can be hard work! There’s usually a lot to think about and remember, but the textbook does help keep it interesting – this week our grammar text theme was planning and holding parties. It was good timing as the HIUC Halloween party is already being planned, and some of our high school students are on the committee. Last year’s event was a good fun day – watch out for photos of our costumes in a later blog!

Finally, the Reading and Writing class has seen huge steps. Each lesson typically sees us cover a topic from our reading text. This week was strange and unique hotels – my favorite was “The Ariau Amazon Towers” - the largest treetop hotel in the world, but not everyone agreed. We’ve also been writing paragraphs and making outlines –much the same way as the HIUC college program students, and like them we also produce book reports. This week saw the high schools students show their true colours – when selecting library books for the next assignment, they actually requested to go up a level in difficulty for a bigger challenge.

College students be warned! These high school students are motivated and enthusiastic!