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真正的Rosarian-關治邦校長 The Real Rosarian: Mr Robert Kwan 31/12/2016
 

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賣座電影《五個小孩的校長》記述一個春風化雨,用愛守護學生的動人故事。跳出大銀幕來到屹立太平山腰超過半世紀的玫瑰崗學校,這裡少了劇本中的殘破與催淚,卻同樣滿載師生關愛與溫情。就在關治邦校長仍未退休的那些年,他總是風雨不改每朝在校園地庫迎接莘莘學子。聲聲早安就如和煦的晨光,照亮學生每一天。

與母校結緣轉眼五十二年。回望年輪中央緊箍著的,是他那「品學不優」的童年。

 

品學不優的頑皮小子

那年1963,只有七歲的關校長由灣仔軒尼斯道官立小學轉讀玫瑰崗學校。本來在著名官校名列前茅,卻不惜重讀小二轉投新校,全因家人追崇英語教學:「玫瑰崗畢竟是教會學校,當時剛從現在玫瑰新邨的位置搬到現址,地方大了於是大量招生。因應舅母極力建議我便轉了校,怎料是煩惱的開始。」

原來學習英語不如想像般容易,屢屢補考又怕父母責難,只好於見紅的測驗卷上冒簽。幾次下來,老師終於怒火爆發:「你無得救,只有天主可以救到你!」

一句憤然斥責在關校長心中留下瘡疤,亦成為其日後教學的提醒:「有時訓導學生,我的腦海便會浮起這段往事,忽然間我就彷彿能理解他們因為害怕被罰而犯錯的心情。能體諒就自然更能幫助他們由根本解決問題。」

小學時期成績欠佳,關校長的「紮紮跳」本性同樣叫老師反感:身處偌大校園,他最愛與同學們玩兵捉賊遊戲,一整天以「賊仔」自居,於操場嘻哈大叫,拔足狂奔,因此成了大人眼中的「頑皮小子」。一直到升上小學四年級那年,老師的一個決定,才叫關校長開始修心養性:「那年,老師委任我擔當車長。忽爾擔起重任,令我開始注意自己的言行紀律,因為好威風,要醒定啲!」

就此,品學不優的關老師乖了起來,學業方面亦已上軌道,由小二唸G班一直「晉級」至小五名列C班第一名。

這就是我們關校長的成長過程。

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從「生物」走向「化學

由小學安然升上中學再選修理科,我們的「化學王子」起初原來鍾情生物課:「我討厭數學,物理科興趣一般,生物學相對淺白。其實當年老師只懂手抄筆記,教學技巧非常一般,但我的成績總算不俗,直至中四暑假備戰會考,掀開課程我才驚覺老師只教了整體的三分之一,進度嚴重滯後,為應付公開考試,我只好自修惡補。」

努力換來回報,關校長順利跨越會考及高考,走到大學門檻面前:「當年唸生物科最優秀的首150名考生必然投考醫科,我瞧瞧自己的高考成績單,排名是一百五十幾,只好退而求其次,報讀生物科學。」然而,他早在高考年代已對生物科失去興趣,至大學一年級更是聞「生物」色變,因此決定全部選修化學及電腦課程。」

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「時間表」下埋伏線

三年大學生涯順利結束後,關老師遇上人生交叉點:「我那年代,唸科學的一般都投身教育事業。」

然而關校長最初打算踏上非一般的路:「那時電腦是新學科、新行業,我手握的電腦知識很吃香。當時港燈等大公司開始招聘技術人員撰寫電腦程式,我努力嚐試,但無奈面試技巧不足,不懂得準備,碰了一鼻子的灰。後來一家小公司打算以月薪700元聘用我,大約相等於現時的8000元吧。我對比一下大學生薪酬指標,港大畢業生起薪點平均有2100元,由於差距太大就決定斷然拒絕了。」

求職未遂,關校長便趁暑假繼續回玫瑰崗學校兼職打工。原來他早在中六時已獲時任教務主任賞識,幫忙編排老師及同學的上課時間表,自此年年以此為暑期工。這年暑假,恰巧學校一名化學老師離職,他獲邀代課,再轉為正職。在命運使然下,霎眼渡過了37個寒暑。

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教學相長初體驗

關校長初執教鞭時泰若自然,全因他自中六起已為非華裔學生補習中文,及至中七起便為會考生補習全科,累積了多年經驗,同時培養出對教學的興趣。

1978年9月,關校長正式成為中三及中六學生的科學老師,一年後開始帶隊學會活動,兩年後獲擢升為助理副校長兼化學科科主任。搭上仕途直昇機,但關校長卻開始思索應否以教學作為終生職業,尤其私校教師加薪步伐緩慢,與津校教師同工不同酬。適逢友人任職的電子公司有職位空缺,應否離開校園到社會拼一番事業呢?


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「心裡猶豫之際,拿著存摺到銀行打簿,發現加了人工,也就決定不離開了。」

帶點喜劇性的結果,源於當年政府決定撥款改善私校老師薪酬待遇。關校長期後追問,發現學校已決定兩年後轉為津校。「一切忽然明朗化。我知道自己喜歡教書,滿有成功感,就決定繼續前行,報讀教育文憑。」他說。

如是者,關校長在入職短短五年間,工資由1800元跳升至五千多元;及至1992年,他撇下頭銜上的「助理」一詞,正式成為關副校。

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衰落的貴族名校?

「無可否認,玫瑰崗早年的學生都頗有家底。」見證玫瑰崗經年變遷的關校長說。

在那中一共12班,A至F班是男生,G至L班是女生的年代,舊生創下最輝煌的會考成績是7A1C,一般學生則大致取得1A6C。

「玫瑰崗從來不是Band 1, 成績只算比上不足,比下有餘。那年代頑劣學生也為數不少,記得曾經有人在校內放炸彈,八十年代的學生亦夾雜小混混、童黨成員。因此,每當聽到舊生評價母校學生一蟹不如一蟹,我總說這是大家成長了,變得成熟世故,對少年人的舉措看不過眼罷了。」

但學生成績每況如下卻是鐵一般的事實。由九十年代中期開始集中教授高中的他說:「隨著教育普及,學生能力變得參差,直至千禧年後我驚覺自己不會教書。尋根究柢下,我發現新接觸的學生往往未達應有水平,根基不穩,於是我決定重回中四教室,我要一手帶大自己的學生。」

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好老師的基本條件

要一手帶大學生,首要先讓學生願意給你一直帶大。

「你必須充份備課,因為任何學生都不能容忍無準備的老師。另外就要思考不同教學方法,用各種方式理順他們對課本的疑團。只要你肯花心思,學生一定會感受到老師的誠意。」

還有一個更重要的條件:「要懂得將心比己。記得我中五時曾經因校內自修室太嘈吵躲到走廊溫習,那時神父路過,訓斥我說學生不可以在走廊逗留,那天我又忘了帶學生證,結果被神父記了Double warning。」

這段不快回憶令關校長明白到老師執行紀律時要易地而處,了解學生犯錯的原因,從基本步協助他們解決困難:「尤其現在很多學生面對家庭問題,情況比以往更加複雜。要協助這些學生需要更多耐性,使他們打開心霏,師生携手解難。」

好老師的條件說過了,那好副校呢?「副校長需要肩負大量行政工作,與不同老師溝通接觸,處理不同訴求。你要明白自己永遠不能取悅全世界,最重要還是堅守原則。」這是他從二十年副校生涯中得出來的經驗之談。

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玫瑰崗的優勢

玫瑰崗的學生總有很強的歸屬感--相信很多舊生都會認同。

「因為我們非常多元化,校內老師各有專長,提供大量機會讓學生培養不同興趣,透過參與話劇、歌詠團、體育校隊等課外活動,造就學生廣闊的發展空間。他們除了可以從事主流事業,亦有機會走上宗教、體育、演藝等不同出路。」

基於這個教學理念,玫瑰崗學校的課外活動比其他學校都算豐富,師生交流因此變得緊密,關係自然更親近,形成一種即使畢業離校都不能切斷的情感連繫。

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玫瑰崗下的愛情種子

關校長在玫瑰崗找到童年與事業,亦覓得生命中最重要的另一半。他因為學校的宗教背景而信奉天主教,及至中六領洗。中七時,他在校內參與慕道,認識了當時唸中三的師妹,亦即是他現在的太太。二人在唱聖詩的歲月建立友情,再逐點累積幻化成愛情,譜出畢生戀曲,結婚35年仍恩愛如昔。

關校長育有一子一女,其中兒子對父親的博學多才尤其傾慕,亦決定跟隨了父親腳步選修科學。作為慈父,關校長全力支持:「投身教育多年,我對教育制度非常熟悉,事實上亦能助我為子女鋪下較平坦的路,以致他們不需要浪費太多時間。」

然而,作為校長爸爸,他坦言對香港的教育事業感到氣餒:「近年教改被政治化,政策朝令夕改,校方根本無所適從。」

他指出近年社會資源增多,關愛基金遊學團、各種交流團、獎學金等全部需要校方代學生申請,加上政府推行校本管理,沒有接受企業管理培訓的老師既要應付教學又要處理相關的行政工作,實在疲於奔命。

「現在教師最多只能花六成時間教書,其餘時間用來寫報告、應付不同基金的申請程序等,其實是有違天職。」他感慨道。

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眼中的郭健基

關校長與郭健基老師同年加入玫瑰崗任教,又於同年退休;一人執掌學務,一人負責課外活動,豈不會存在衝突嗎?「人總有脾氣,但只要大家理念相近,即使意見不一都總能達成共識。」

所謂理念,原來二人都堅信參與課外活動是學生學習與人相處、解決困難的重要途徑:「一個人在社會的貢獻及成就一定不止於學業成績。成績好或許會令你少一重障礙,但學生的整體能力其實是靠課外活動鍛鍊出來的。觀乎本校最有成就的校友,很多都不是學習型,卻是校內非常活躍的學生,由此可見這是值得認同的正確理念。」

而在關校長眼中,郭老師正是學校發展課外活動的大功臣:「很多活動都是出自其意念,由他一手設計、維繫,他亦跟校外團體保持良好關係,所有的付出及貢獻絕對不能抹殺。」

能夠互相欣賞而又互相尊重,37年來一起為著相同理念並肩携手,這早已是超越手足的可貴情份。在兩位悉心教導下,成千上萬的崗暉人正如藤蔓一樣走向社會不同角落,將你們傳承的全人教育、良好的個人品質努力實踐,廣為散播,就像你們一樣積極以生命影響更多生命。


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文:趙珮瑜


 

 

Stories of many movies about teachers and students were like the local blockbuster,  “The Little Master”, which was about how teachers used their love and passion to educate and protect their students. Although Rosaryhill School has a much better maintained school campus than the old campus in “The Little Master”, Rosaryhill School shares one thing in common with the school in the movie; it is also a place that is full of love. Let us turn the clock back to a few years ago, the then Secondary Principal, Mr Robert Kwan, was like Miriam Yeung in the movie, who always stood near the school entrance every morning to greet students, which made students feel they were loved and welcomed by the school.

 

Naughty Childhood

 

Back in 1963, Mr Robert Kwan was only 7 years old and he was studying Primary Two in Hennessy Government Primary School at that time. He was then one of the top students in his year; however, his troubles started to appear after his parents decided to transfer him to  Rosaryhill School. When we asked Mr Kwan why his parents made such a huge decision suddenly, he said, “It was mainly because my parents thought that English was very important. First, Rosaryhill School was founded by a Catholic church; second, the school was just moved to a new campus from the old campus where Villa Monte Rosa is now. The campus became so much bigger so it needed more students to fill up the classrooms. Third, my aunt strongly suggested my parents to send me to Rosaryhill. Eventually my application got accepted and that was when my problems started to appear.”

 

It was because Mr Kwan had been going to a Chinese primary school so it was inevitable that he found it very difficult to catch up with the English lessons which were so much more difficult than the ones he had had before. Worrying that he would be punished for failing the English tests, Mr Kwan even imitated his parent’s signature on the test papers and eventually his wrongful act was caught by his teacher who even said to Mr Kwan,“You are hopeless. I think only God can save you!”

  

These words always stay in Mr Kwan’s mind, which always reminded himself to use proper words when he talked to his students. “Sometimes the above scene would suddenly appear in my mind when I was dealing with students for their wrongful acts. I can imagine how scared and worried they would feel about the type of punishment that they would face so I always tried to step in their shoes to help them to resolve their root problems.” 

 

Mr Robert Kwan admits that he was not particularly strong academically during his primary school days. His active personality sometimes even made teachers feel helpless. His favorite activities were running and yelling around the huge campus so he became one of the naughtiest students in the eyes of his teachers. This naughty boy eventually became a well-behaved kid when Mr Kwan was promoted to Primary Four when he was appointed to be a school prefect at the same time. Such appointment can be said to be the turning point in Mr Kwan’s life because since then such appointment gave him a strong sense of responsibility and he started to remind himself that he should be more aware of his own behavior in front of other students. Due to this change of attitude towards his life, Mr Kwan’s academic performance also gradually improved. He started off in Class G in Primary Two and he was slowly “promoted” to Class C in Primary Five and he was ranked the first in his class that year.

 

 

 

From Biology to Chemistry

 

Mr Robert Kwan is known to be a good chemistry teacher; however, he told us that his passion was actually in biology during his secondary school days. He frankly told us he hated mathematics and his physics’ marks were only average. “I liked biology because it was not difficult. My biology teacher at that time only asked us to copy his notes from the blackboard as his teaching skills were just average. Fortunately my marks in the subject were always quite high. However, during the summer after Form Four, I discovered that the biology teacher had only covered one third of the syllabus for the Hong Kong Certificate Examination of Education and there were still a lots of course materials that we had not been taught, I then studied extremely hard the rest of the syllabus by myself that summer.”

 

After having studied so hard for the two public examinations, Mr Kwan’s hard work were paid off when he got very satisfactory results in Advanced Level Examination. “Back in those days, the best 150 students always got accepted into the Faculty of Medicine. However, I was ranked just outside the top 150; therefore I picked Chemistry and Computer Science since I had already lost my interest in biology after matriculation.”

 

 

 

 

 

Everything begins from a “Timetable”

 

After having studied for three years at the university, Mr Robert Kwan had to make a decision for his future career. “Most science graduates back in my days became school teachers”, he said. Nevertheless, Mr Kwan originally wanted to choose a different career path. “At that time computer science was a new subject and computer was a new profession so my computer knowledge was in big demand at that time. I remember that Hong Kong Electric was recruiting programmer and I tried really hard to prepare for the application and interview; however, due to the poor interviewing skills and lack of interviewing experience, I performed poorly at the interview so I was not hired by the company. Eventually, a small company offered me a job; however, but they only offered to pay me HK$800 monthly; after I had compared the offer provided to the other university graduates with similar qualifications, which was about HK$2,100 per month, I decided to turn down the offer.”


Even before he graduated from university, Mr Kwan had always been asked to go back to school to assist planning the timetable for teachers and classes during summer holidays. Having failed to find a suitable job, Mr Kwan continued to go back to Rosaryhill School to assist on part-time basis in some administrative work and it was when he was offered a teaching post at Rosaryhill when a Chemistry teacher resigned from the school that summer. This was how Mr Robert Kwan began his 37-teaching career in Rosaryhill School.

 

 

 

Teaching career

It took no time for Mr Kwan to adapt the teaching environment since he started working as a part-time tutor even before he finished Secondary School. After having accumulated years of teaching experience, Mr Kwan also found his passion in teaching. 

 

Mr Kwan was formally appointed to be a Science teacher in September 1978 and he was assigned to take care of club activities a year later. Two years later he was further promoted to be Assistant Deputy Principal and the Panel Head of Chemistry Department. Mr Kwan surprised us when he told us he was also starting to consider whether he should continue his teaching career at that time despite the fact that his career was going so well in such a short period of time. “It was because pay rise in private schools was rather slow when compared to the subsidized schools. Moreover, at that time a friend of mine told me that there was a vacancy in the electronic company in where he was working at, so I was thinking if I should leave the school environment and try myself in the outside world. I remember while I was thinking about my options, I discovered that the school gave me a pay rise that month! I then immediately gave up the idea of leaving the school.”

 

“The dramatic development of the story started from the fact that the then government was planning to improve the remuneration of teachers in private schools and the school management also frankly told me that they were also planning to change the private Secondary Section to subsidized school two years later. As the future became clearer, I then applied to study the teaching certificate course. Teaching also gave me lots of job satisfaction,.”

 

Subsequently, Mr Kwan’s monthly salary was increased gradually from HK$1,800 to about HK$5,000 in the span of 5 years and he was further promoted to be the Deputy Principal in 1992.

 

 

 

School for “blue blood”?

 

Rosaryhill School is always labelled by outsiders as a “noble school”. Mr Kwan said, “There is no doubt that most of the students in the early years came from upper class.” 

“Rosaryhill used to be the school with the largest student population in Hong Kong.  At that time we had 12 classes in Form One, Class A to Class F in the Boys Section and Class G to Class L in the Girls Section. The best result of our student in the Hong Kong School Certificate of Education was seven As and one C. “

 

“Honestly, our school has never been considered as an elite school although we do not belong to the weak category either. We even had had some really naughty students in the past. I remember one student even set a timer bomb in school and we also had some problematic students in the 1980s too. From time to time people asked me how come students become naughtier and naughtier over time; in my view, maybe we always have naughty students every year, it is just because those who said this have forgotten how naughty they themselves used to be.”

On the other hand, it is a fact that students’ academic performance have been deteriorating over the last 10-15 years. Since 1990s Mr Robert Kwan taught higher Forms only. He said “Although students have more and more resources to receive education, their learning abilities have been dropping, I realized that there were still many things that I needed to  improve. I then took a long time to look for the cause of the problem. I discovered that many students joined our school in Form Four so the standard of our Form Four students varied a lot as their knowledge foundation are all different. Therefore, I decided to go back to Form Four classrooms, which I had not done for years, to help the students to build their knowledge base from there.” Mr Kwan said.

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Qualities of good teacher

 

Mr Kwan shared with us that education is not one way but a two-way communication between teachers and students.

 

“Teachers must always be well prepared before they step into the classrooms. It is because students can tell whether you are prepared for the class or not and they will not tolerate unprepared teachers. Furthermore, I think teachers should always think how to use different teaching methods to deal with students’ problems. I believe that as long as we are willing to spend the time to do our job, our students can feel it.”

 

Mr Kwan added one more important requirement for teachers “It is very important for us to try to think from students’ perspective. I remember I was given a double warning when I was Form 5 for studying in the corridor outside classroom and for forgetting to bring my Student ID Card.” This bad experience gave Mr Kwan a good lesson. He realized that before giving any punishments to students, he should first try to find out the reason behind the mistake. A good teacher should assist the student to solve the fundamental problems. He told us that since many students nowadays have family problems which make their problems more complicated than before; therefore, it requires more patience when dealing with these sorts of students as it takes time for students to open up their problems to teachers.

 

What about qualities to be deputy principal? “Deputy Principal is required to do a lot of administration work. It also requires me to communicate with different teachers who would have all sorts of requests. A deputy principal should know it is impossible to please the whole world but he/she should remember where the bottom line is because the underlying principles need to be insisted upon.”

 

 

 

Strength of Rosaryhill

 When one talks about the strength of Rosaryhill School when compared to other schools, no one would deny that our past students always have a strong sense of attachment to Rosaryhill School.

 

“Our school offers a great variety of things for students especially our teachers have different talents which allow our students to explore their various talents in different areas. Therefore, we provide a wide range of activities such as drama, school choir and different sports activities in order to create an environment for the students to nurture their respective interest. It is because apart from the jobs in the mainstream, we believe that students could also develop their careers in other areas like sports, performing arts or even religion.” It is also because of this unique education philosophy, Rosaryhill School offers a wider variety of extra-curricular activities than other schools thus relationships between teachers and students are also closer, which even extend after they have left Rosaryhill.

 

 

 

Love seed blossomed on Rosaryhill

 

Apart from the fruitful childhood and a successful career at Rosaryhill School, Mr Robert Kwan also found the love of his life, Mrs Virginia Kwan, in Rosaryhill School.

The love story started when Mr Kwan started his Catechism class after he was baptized the year before. Mr Kwan was studying in Form 6 at that time whilst Mrs Kwan was a Form 3 student. They both joined the choir of the Religious Department, where they were friends first then they slowly developed an affection for each other, which continued to grow for the next 35 years.

 

 

 

Mr Kwan has one son and one daughter. His son looks up to him as a role model as Mr Kwan is very knowledgeable in many different areas, which made it very logical that his son follows Mr Kwan’s footstep to study science at university. As a kind and caring father, Mr Kwan told us that since he knew the education system so well so he assisted his children to take an easier route without encountering too many hurdles in their studies.


 

 

Current education system 

On the other hand, as a school principal, Mr Kwan shared with us his frustrations with the education policy in recent years, “ As a school principal and teacher, I really felt quite frustrated to see reform of Hong Kong’s education system has been politicalized in the recent years and the policy changed so frequently.”

 

Furthermore, with the increase of the availability of education resources such as various education funds, exchange programs, scholarships, apart from their teaching duties, teachers have been facing tremendous amount of pressure doing administrative work. “Nowadays teachers spend only 60% of their work time on teaching as they are required to spend much of their work time on dealing with other tasks such as filling out application forms for education funds and writing relevant reports, which I think is not right and fair for teachers.”

 

 

Mr Jonathan Kwok in Mr Kwan’s eyes

Mr Jonathan Kwok joined Rosaryhill School in the same year as Mr Kwan and they also retired in the same year. We are curious about how they see each other. “We are all human beings so we all have our emotions; however, since we share the same education philosophy, we always respect each other and try to find a solution together when conflicts happen.”

 

Both Mr Kwan and Mr Kwok believe that through the participation of extra curricular activities, students can learn how to tackle problems and interpersonal skills. “I believe that a person’s success should not be judged only by his academic results. I certainly agree that academic result is important as it helps to clear the initial hurdles but students’ overall abilities are always developed through their respective extra curricular activities. According to my own observation, our most successful past students were not the ones who had the best academic results but they all spent a great deal of time on extra curricular activities.”

 

In the eyes of Mr Kwan, Mr Jonathan Kwok was the most crucial person in extra curricular activities as Mr Kwok brought a lot of new ideas to the school. “He created, designed and implemented many events and activities in our school so I think he should get a lot of credits as he did make a great deal of efforts in maintaining good relationships with our students, past students and various organizations outside.”

Lastly, we are grateful to both Mr Kwan and Mr Kwok for their devoted service in the last 37 years, which have benefited thousands of students.

 

Translation by Edward Ng 

 

 




 
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