Freshman Aspires to Teach Life Lessons through Physical Education
Everyone has their reason to play a sport. As for 18-year-old Kevin Li, sports have given him the confidence to face life with an “I can be better” attitude, so much so that he firmly believes he can make a difference in many people’s lives by becoming a Physical Education (PE) teacher.
Currently studying in the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK),Kevin was an awardee of last year's Link University Scholarship. On 15 April, Kevin was invited to speak at the District Tournament cum Graduation Ceremony held by InspiringHK Sports Foundation, to young “Home Run” participants from eight different districts about getting into university, applying for scholarships and running.
The race brought together a group of young runners from underprivileged homes. Under the guidance of their coaches, each set out on the track to catch up with their personal goal times. Watching them race compete with each other and themselves, Kevin recalled his experience in secondary school. “Running side by side with my teammates and peers from other teams, and pushing each other to newer heights, was what had drawn me to running in the first place.”
One more time, one more chance
Given his now confident aura and well-articulated words, it came as a surprise when Kevin shared that his academic performance in secondary school was not particularly good, and that he even had thoughts of giving up from time to time when he was struggling in his studies. “I was blessed to have met my former track and field coach, who encouraged me to push myself constantly beyond my limits, both on and off the track. This led me to apply the same mentality in my studies – “To max out one more time”, giving myself that “one more chance” to practice and try again and again, to overcome my learning obstacles. Kevin eventually got accepted to his current programme at CUHK, and was nominated by the principal of his alma mater to interview for the Link University Scholarship, where he excelled among his peers and was successfully awarded the scholarship.
As Kevin continued to reveal his journey of running past his obstacles in life, the tired runners had already regained their focus, sat upright and locked eyes on Kevin, listening intently to what he had to say next. “Besides having good teammates, remember that the key to improving your self-confidence lies in your accumulation of experience, which means doing your best in every practice and making yourself believe that you can do it, so that you can run faster and faster. With coaches by your side, you must power through that last ‘sprint’ no matter how tired you are.”
“Do you lose your self-confidence when comparing yourself with people who are better than you?” The little runner raised his hand and asked.
“Well, how well you run depends on both talent and effort. You are the most important person to compare yourself with, so don't be afraid to compare yourself with others, and don't feel pressured by your performance at this instant, because everyone here has the possibility to improve. As long as you always review your mindset, the effort you put in, and understand the state that allows you to give your best performance, you will be able to achieve a great performance.” Kevin answered patiently.
The value of education
When asked why he didn't consider a career as a professional runner, Kevin replied without a moment of hesitation. “The biggest reason I aspire to be a PE teacher is because I can impact the lives of more people. As an athlete, it might be true that the hard work and effort I put in may bring me a lot of success, but I think the value of teaching someone well is greater, and it feels more amazing.”
Aspiring to be like his PE teacher, Kevin hopes to teach students to learn perseverance and self-confidence through sports. However, he acknowledges that being a good teacher requires acquiring a wealth of knowledge and effective communicating skills. Kevin has been using the scholarship money he received from the Link University Scholarship to take classes of different sports as well as coaching lessons, striving to become the best PE teacher he can be.
“One day, I would like to hear my students tell me what I had told my coach, that I had taught them well, and that they thank me for changing their lives. That would be the perfect scenario in my mind.”