United Today, We Can Conquer Yesterday
SJACS has entered her 63rd Anniversary this current academic year. Unfortunately, it has been another challenging year in the Hong Kong education sector and so at SJACS. During this pandemic, the normal running of the school has been affected in different ways. Fortunately though, with the support from all key stakeholders, we have overcome all challenges – big or small. We have now officially entered a period of ‘new normal’, yet we are hoping for the best in the resumption of ‘normal‘ in the near future.
Hygiene measures, inadequate time for face-to-face lessons especially for the sixth formers, suspension of school promotion activities in primary schools, parents’ expectations, reduced interaction between teachers and students, students’ misbehavior at home, just to name a few, were all unexpected problems that the school had to face. Luckily, we have a strong working community so the aforementioned problems were successfully conquered.
We have always maintained the highest hygiene standard in order to be able to accommodate the return of Josephians – we were more than ready when one-third, two-thirds and finally the whole school were allowed to conduct half-day face-to-face lessons. We even posted the ‘Leave-Home-Safe’ QR code and requested visitors to leave records upon entering the school campus.
Parents, one of the key stakeholders, had high expectations of the school to provide an ideal and commendable environment for their children to study in. To ensure this, our teachers furnished students with a variety of learning materials and revision notes to help students be adequately prepared for the term examinations.
Regarding public examinations, with the joint effort of teachers and students, 2020 was a remarkable year since Josephians achieved outstandingly in the HKDSE. To facilitate this, some teachers even conducted online lessons in the evening in response to students’ requests. It was under these conditions that the F.6 Josephians were geared up for the public exams. This, undoubtedly, has again shown how we overcame challenges together.
Competition among schools in the Kwun Tong district has been keen since the turn of the century. We have continued to promote SJACS to the primary schools in the district by showcasing our recent developments and the outstanding achievement in the public examinations. We have adopted new methods of promotion, such as visiting targeted schools and inviting the old boys of those schools to share their experience at SJACS with their alma mater.
While we could only arrange for students to attend half-day school, all ECA periods were suspended. In order not to disappoint the musicians of the SJACS Wind Band, we arranged an online training programme for them. They could not only continue to have their regular training lessons, but also rehearse in the online ensemble. This demonstrated how the school was still able to maintain a certain level of activities despite the social distancing measures.
During the pandemic, teacher-student interaction was unfortunately much reduced. To maintain close ties with students, form teachers and subject teachers organised online chat groups which allowed frequent exchanging of ideas. Moreover, real-time morning assemblies were live-streamed. Students could be blessed by God through the prayer session and enjoy book sharing by teachers and schoolmates. The bond between stakeholders was strengthened through the continued issuing of school notices, which provided school updates to parents and students at home.
The most challenging problem was the growing habit of students playing online games around-the-clock. Some parents complained that their sons did not pay much attention during online lessons. Some even had lessons and played online games simultaneously. In response to this issue, all students were requested to show their real-time attendance with their faces on camera so that teachers were able to interact with them at any moment. Guidance Team teachers and social workers responded by spotting and guiding the students who might have played online games excessively.
No matter how challenging these problems we faced throughout the academic year were, we always had hoped for the best but took every measure possible to prepare for the worst. One day as we look back together, these challenges will already be behind us! As the Bible says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Dear Josephians, I have been listening recently to ‘Try Everything’ which is the theme song from the movie ‘Zootopia’ as it is filled with so much positive energy. It best describes how we can stay positive during challenging times.
I keep falling down.
I keep on hitting the ground.
But I always get up now to see what’s next.
It is hoped that such positive energy will help us conquer challenges and setbacks, and lead us to a more fruitful academic year ahead.
Mr. Poon Wing Keung