當陳漢欽老師宣佈退休時，大家都覺得很驚訝；因為以陳老師目前的年紀其實還可以多教好幾年才需要考慮退休的問題。 『其實在三年前因工作上遇到一些不甚如意的事情，我已開始考慮退休的問題。那時我的太太剛退休，看著她退休後寫意生活啟發了我退休的念頭。其次，我覺得現在年紀還不是很大，可以趁自己還有精力的時候做些多年來想做的事情，去學一些多年來想學的東西，在生命中作多方面的嘗試。』 那當問到陳老師退休後可有不習慣，他說：『不會，我目前還是過著很有規律的生活的。每天早上起床後的我會先吃個早餐，然後會練習目前我正在學習的色士風。在午飯後，我每天均會花兩小時做運動，然後幫學生補習賺點生活費。』除此之外，陳老師還會定期邀請他一班現在仍在玫瑰崗任教的同事到他家中飯聚，與這班多年的戰友保持聯絡。所以他退休生活之寫意實在令筆者感到非常羡慕呢。
Our beloved and respectful teacher, Mr Damen Chan, officially retired earlier in August 2009. In the Retirement Dinner Party organized by RHSOSA, over 200 people attended the special occasion, which set the highest attendance record for such activity organized by RHSOSA. One might wonder why Mr Chan is so popular among both students and teachers? And you might even have more queries about our Mr Chan, we hope you find some of the answers from the below interview.
Mr Damen Chan graduated from Tai Kok Tsui Ming Kei College and Grantham College of Education and he joined RHS in 1976. When we asked Mr Chan why he chose to apply to RHS, he said he had never thought about applying to RHS, “Maybe it was my destiny. In fact a school friend of mine from the College of Education applied to RHS first and after his job interview at RHS he suggested to me to go to RHS for job interview directly since RHS was hiring teachers for various subjects at that time. I still remember that RHS was a private school at that time and I did not really have much expectation after my job interview. However, my application was finally accepted and I started my teaching career in RHS and have been teaching in the same school until I retired. To be honest, I think I am quite lucky in this respect as I never needed to write one single application letter in my whole career!”. When Mr Chan first started teaching at RHS, his first impression of RHS was the ambience of the school campus was quiet and attractive, which provides a good learning environment for the students.
Establishment of 6 Houses
Since Mr Chan’s previous schools all had house systems, he found it quite strange that RHS did not have one when he first started working in RHS; therefore, in the academic year 1979-1980, he established a house system together with a few other teachers including Ms Cathy Lau, Mr Robert Kwan, Mr Jonathan Kwok, Ms Amy Lo, Ms So Choi Yin and Mr Tsui Yiu Cheung. They also decided to use animal names as names for the six houses and one of the inspirations actually came from a then popular restaurant named Unicorn Restaurant.
Outstanding Mathematics Mentor
In school Mr Damen Chan is known to be gifted with good teaching skills in mathematics and many students have been benefited from that over the years. He humbly shared with us the reason behind it. “Actually I slowly picked up the skills over my years in RHS. Perhaps it is because I was never an outstanding student myself, that is why I then could step in the shoes of my students since I can understand at which mathematic step they would get stuck and also what kind of mistakes that they would make in examinations.” Generally most teachers would prefer teaching the smart students to teaching the average ones; however, Mr Damen Chan said he would rather teach those not-so-talented ones. It is because he thinks it would be quite an achievement if he could help those who initially are not interested in maths or even scared of the subject and change them to start feeling interested and confidence in maths. Moreover, Mr Chan’s interest in maths might also have influenced his son who picked mathematics as his major in the university too.
The Badminton Hero
Over the last 30 years RHS’ Badminton School Team has always been recognized to be one of the top school teams in Hong Kong and Mr Damen Chan should take most of the credits for that since under his supervision, countless number of awards have been won by our Badminton School Team. Moreover, Mr Chan frankly told us that he did not play badminton that intensively during his school days, but soon after he joined RHS, he voluntarily offered to be the teacher in charge of the Badminton School Team. He revealed that it was because he wanted to use the opportunity to get to know the students outside the classroom. Although Mr Chan had never been formally trained as a badminton coach, through his experience with the Badminton Team over the years, he found various innovative but effective training methods to train our school Team who is consistently winners in numerous inter-school competitions which inspired lots of badminton lovers in our Alma Mater; one of them eventually became a team member in the Hong Kong Badminton Team squad few years ago and a few others also started their career as professional badminton coaches too.
Actually Mr Damen Chan had left the badminton team once in late 1980’s as he wanted a change, and that was the time he started the Boys’ Volleyball Team. Unfortunately the sport never became very popular among RHS students so the inter-school competition results were always far from satisfactory so after a few years, Mr Chan decided to return to the Badminton Team and he stayed as their supervising teacher until he retired.
Man of Discipline and Student Affairs
Apart from being a teacher, Mr Damen Chan was also in charge of student discipline and student affairs for many years and that makes him a well known figure in school for the warnings, demerits…etc. You might think he must have enjoyed being a discipline teacher; on the contrary, he revealed “Actually I do not like doing discipline related work and I also do not like scolding students.” Although he was later promoted to be the Director of Student Affairs, he had to cut his teaching hours to give way to the demanding new duties. Nevertheless, he thinks the abovementioned sacrifice was worth it as he had helped numerous ‘lost’ students getting back on the right track over the years and some of them are still good friends with Mr Chan.
Many people were shocked when Mr Damen Chan announced his early retirement since most of them wondered why Mr Chan would retire at this age. “I started thinking about retirement about three years ago and it was the time when I started encountering various difficult administration problems at work. It was also at that time when my wife retired and her post-retirement life had inspired me a lot as it alarmed me that I should try exploring my other potentials when I still am not too old and still have the energy.” Although Mr Chan has now retired from teaching, his life is still very routine and well organized. He normally gets up at about 7am and after breakfast he would first practise his saxophone, a new hobby he just picked up, for two hours. Then after lunch, he would do exercise for about two hours daily before he does some part-time tutoring work. In addition, he would meet up with his old comrades, the other teaching colleagues in RHS, regularly to catch up with each other.
After teaching in RHS for 33 years, Mr Damen Chan has to following to share with the current teachers: “I think everybody knows that teaching in those ‘prestigious’ schools would be easier and more comfortable than teaching in RHS since students in those schools normally tend to be more self-motivated. However, I still hope other teachers will remember that every student would have different types of talent. We should teach and inspire them in accordance with their talents and potentials. When comparing the job between helping an outstanding student to is get good results in examination and helping a not-so-smart student to pass the exam, l still think job satisfaction from the latter is a lot larger.”
Finally, RHSOSA wishes Mr Damen Chan all the best after his retirement and we hope he will keep in touch with RHSOSA!