|Sha Tin College
Wishing a fond farewell to Sha Tin College teacher James Lewis who is moving back to the UK where he will be reunited with his family after an amazing 22-year career with ESF.
Our popular teacher concludes his impressive career as Sha Tin College’s Head of Year 13 and a teacher of science, chemistry and Theory of Knowledge.
Over the years, James has also been Head of Chemistry at STC, the STC officer for the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the STC rep for the ESF Committee of Teaching Staff (ComTeach) and a member of the Association of Professional Teachers of the English Schools Foundation Schools (APTESFS).
To celebrate his fantastic career, the ESF team asked our long-serving educator to look back over more than two decades of teaching and share his favourite memories. Please join us in wishing him all the very best for the future.
Tell us about your first memories of working at ESF?
“School fairs were a riot of colour, culture, and conviviality. Lion dances frequently graced the playgrounds.
The school population seemed a lot smaller than it is today. Email and the internet were in their infancy. Broadband and Moodle didn't exist, and computer usage was restricted to a desktop if you were lucky, or a tray of primitive laptops wheeled around on trolleys."
What are your fondest memories of working at Sha Tin College?
“The students and relationships with families have always been what’s kept me here all these years. You always felt you had autonomy in the classroom, and trust to do things your way.
I have particularly enjoyed the amazing trips that I've helped to lead for our students on their College/CAS/Explorer Weeks.
The CPD has been excellent - I appreciate the way ESF prodded us towards leadership roles via the LINKS and equivalent programmes.
Amazing drama and music productions with Neil Harris and Paul Barker.”
Please share some funny stories and favourite moments.
“I will always be struck by how students never stop getting excited at the sight of monkeys rampaging across the hillside at STC to interrupt lessons!
Getting stuck in Cambodia overnight when returning back from a CAS Week trip with 30-odd students was a challenge, as was missing our plane connection in Beijing when returning back from another CAS week trip to North Korea!
Helping to set up the school's TEDx event with Alison Marshall.”
What have you enjoyed the most about your career at ESF?
“The chance to teach so many different subjects, fulfil so many leadership roles, run practically any educational trip you wanted, run any activity that interested the students.”
Who have been your closest colleagues and how did you support each other?
“Mike Chiu from Chemistry (who has been here longer than I!) has looked after me in more ways than one on a daily basis. I've loved working with my Head and former Head of Science Paul Drew and Geoff Lofthouse, plus long-standing Technician Winson Chow.
When I moved into the pastoral domain, I learned so much from my immediate Heads, Jane Parry, Lucie Purves, Bryan Turner, and Chris Rowlands.
I owe tremendous thanks and am grateful to the Head who appointed me, David Cottam.
And finally, just to pay tribute to a friend and hugely respected colleague across the ESF, Tim Ford, whom I will never forget."
Any final shout-outs to your colleagues?
"I would also like to give a big shout-out to all my colleagues across ESF schools who have played in the band 'jimmy2times' over the years.
And could I also give a huge thanks to all those teachers from Clearwater Bay School who have taught and cared so well for my daughters Seren and Asha.”
What will you miss the most about ESF?
"The energy, drive, and passion of the students.
Learning from different colleagues and practices from around the world.
Collegiality - all schools working together towards a common purpose - bring back inter-school faculty CPD, please!”
What piece of advice would you give new starters at ESF?
“Appreciate that you're teaching in a unique part of the world at a unique time.
Appreciate the beauty of the Hong Kong landscape - get the students out and about as much as possible, given that there is such diversity of landscapes, peoples, history, and wildlife to see here.
Engage with the local community and schools, and try to learn the language (better than I did!).”
Congratulations to James on his outstanding service and contribution to ESF. Join us in wishing him the very best in his future endeavours.
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