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The following are excerpts from this interview.
Philip Leong;
Ms Ruth Lee)
How did you decide to become a teacher, and what were
some of the challenges you faced teaching Biology in the 50’s?
Upon graduation from university in 1955, both Ms Kotewall
and Maryknoll School offered me teaching positions in the field
of Biology. I accepted the Maryknoll’s offer and taught there
for a year as one of their teachers just passed away and they
were in need to fill the vacancy urgently. In 1956, I started my
teaching career at SPCC and taught Biology until I retired in
1990 and migrated to Canada. During those days, the school
must follow the curriculum guidelines set by the Hong Kong
Education Department and Biology was only offered as a
subject in the Chinese school but not the English school. As
Biology is the science of life and living matter, I often had to
enrol myself in evening courses to continue learning about
new topics and developments such as genetics, ecology,
physiology, taxonomy, etc.
Biology classes often required biological samples for
laboratory work; where did you obtain those samples?
I collected both the plant and animal samples from the
great outdoors and had to prepare and process them before
the students could work on them.
How did you find the SPCC students in those days? Did
any of them play any pranks on you?
SPCC students were always very polite and well-behaved.
I don’t even think they gave me any nickname. They were
all very hard-working and seldom asked questions; but they
always scored well in exams. I had learned as much from my
students as they did from me.
We were able to excel in exams as your notes were very
detailed. Of your time teaching at SPCC, any particular place
that you consider most memorable?
That will have to be the advanced lab on the third floor
next to the library which was in fact set up with the help of the
students. I donated my microscope and all my biology books
including “
” to the school, but they probably have
been lost eventually in one of the moves.
You are very healthy and remain very active. Have you
had a chance to visit SPCC recently and how do you find
retirement life in Canada?
I visited Hong Kong every year until 2009, two years
after my husband passed away. I had always enjoyed great
hospitality from Mrs Chen Lam Ngar Sheung (1956) and Mr
Poon Chun Kau Henry (1962) during my visits. Though there
are few Chinese at the retirement home in Vancouver, I am
enjoying my stay here and go on cruises from time to time. I
also often attend the Alumni Association BC Chapter events
and keep up-to-date on the latest SPCC development through
the Alumni Association newsletters.
Ms Ruth Lee and Dr Philip Leong.
Dr Philip Leong, Ms Ruth Lee, Mr Anthony Lau (Chairman of SPCCAA
BC Chapter) and Dr Henry Wong.
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