Mr. Bryant gets a new start in Hong Kong


Mr. Bryant teaching AP world history. Photo by Ariella Appleby Feb. 26, 2013

Mr. Bryant teaches AP world history on Feb. 26. Photo by Ariella Appleby

Mr. Jon Bryant, who teaches AP world history and advanced geography, is moving towards the end of this summer to China to teach at Hong Kong International School.

“My wife started looking into international teaching options and asked me if I was interested in that and I said yes. The school is in Hong Kong on an island and is a private Lutheran school,” Bryant said.

Bryant has worked at Whitney since 2005, getting a transfer here from Rocklin High School and was department chair until this year when he passed the job to Mr. Tim Farnan, geography and U.S. history teacher.

“I think he is an awesome friend and a great teacher who really cares about their success and is willing to do anything to make sure they succeed. I know he is really excited (about the move) and it’s what he wanted. He loves to travel and teach and he found the best of both worlds I’m excited for him,” Farnan said.

Farnan also said that taking over as department chair has been learning experience and it involves making sure everyone has the supplies they need.

“I think I can say that the whole department will miss his work ethic, he is someone who if no one wanted to do the job he would stay late and do it, I think the department will have to pick up the slack once he is gone,” Farnan said.

During his travels around the globe, Bryant has particularly enjoyed visiting China and learning about its culture and is excited to live and teach there.

“I feel I don’t want to say ‘apprehensive’ but I am a little. But I am really excited. I feel like it will challenge me to be the best version of myself — the best friend, father and husband. The question I keep asking myself is how do I get a good start over there. I’m thinking through how to prepare for a role as a spiritual life coordinator and what that will look like,” Bryant said.

So far, Bryant said people have been supportive of his family’s decision to move.

“Everyone who knows me personally knows this is a good fit for my family and (me). My family has been very supportive and excited for us. My wife’s family was at first more apprehensive but after a while they were okay,” Bryant said.

To prepare for their move they have had to downsize their belongings. Also Bryant has had to apply for a work visas and permission to teach at the school.

“The school will provide housing when we get there. (So) we are aggressively downsizing our possessions in big way, selling cars, home, extra stuff. Getting rid of old book, papers, and things we won’t need abroad and we are digitizing pictures and stuff we want to remember, but don’t want to store or take to HK,” Bryant said.

His daughters, Julia age 12 and Jenai age 8, will have a chance to experience in a new way of life and will be given a different form of educational experience and they attend the new school Bryant will teach at.

“I’ve noticed that the students I’ve taught that have traveled overseas are more comfortable in who they are, even though they’re in a culturally different place they find themselves. I hope (my daughters) are like that after this experience,” Bryant said.

Bryant believes that the move will offer his family many unique opportunities.

“When I was in high school I was able to travel the world (because) I played rugby for the All- American team. I met people from all over the world, (and) people from Tonga and Samoa came to my house. It helped me understand them, and  it helped me as a teacher and as a friend and (it is) what I want for my family,” Bryant said.

Though this move will bring many changes it will offer Bryant’s daughters many educational opportunities.

“Growing up overseas, most students go to Harvard, Stanford and Yale. This is one of the best international schools and because I’m teaching there (my daughters) get a free education, which is worth its weight in gold. I value that most for my girls,” Bryant said.

One of his AP world history students, Taylor Hines feels both sad and happy for Bryant and his new journey.

“Mr. Bryant is an insightful teacher and he helps give different sides of the topic that we are learning and is very helpful. It will be hard to replace him when he leaves and I hope he has a great time in Hong Kong,” Hines said.