7 Mar 2022

STC Teacher Interview Series: A Chat with Mr. Fan

The Sha Tin College Media Team proudly presents its new interview series led by the journalists, featuring the school’s dynamic teaching faculty. The series aims to fill the gap between teachers and students by taking a conversational approach; the STC community will be able to know the teachers better in regards to school and personal life. 

Although Mr. Brian Fan may come across as unfamiliar and fresh-faced, his firsthand experience within the ESF community suggests that he is anything but. A South Island School graduate, he has been able to sympathise with and understand Sha Tin College students’ academic journeys and learning curves. It only makes sense that ESF alumni would want to return to their alma mater to contribute back and create what they believe is in the best interest of students. For Mr. Fan, he aims to instil confidence in students and remind them that the only paths in life are not academic ones. In essence, grades should not be the ‘make it or break it’ point of life. 

“I decided to teach at Sha Tin College because of its reputation in terms of high achieving grades. It has the highest average IB grades across all the ESF schools. It doesn’t ‘appeal’ to me, but it is a very interesting selling point in that it’s definitely very successful, but also because of the pressure it has on students. I want to remove that stigma. I want to remove the expectation that grades are the end all be all. I want to remove that notion, the idea that everything about Sha Tin College is about grades”. 

Although he had heard notions of Sha Tin College before he arrived at the school, what surprised him the most was his amiability from the school community – teachers and students alike. He refers to Sha Tin College as a “very warm, open school”. He then further clarified: “students at ESF schools are generally friendly. Students are generally the same in their demographic, openness and positivity. One thing that attracted me to work at this school was the positive vibes and the positive energy and spirit. The leadership, staff and colleagues are very warm. And the school is relatively smaller compared to other schools, which creates a cosy environment.” 

Mr. Fan is no stranger to having experience in teaching in the ESF community. “I’ve been at Renaissance College, and I’ve been at KGV. This is the third ESF school that I’ve worked at.” It is then not a surprise when he describes his enjoyment when interacting with and teaching students.

“For students, there is a very positive energy that you can’t get in the outside world, in real life. They’re not open to the world yet, and they don’t know about the complex issues in the outside world. There’s some kind of genuine innocent vibe to it. For me, I feel a sense of achievement when I help students who are eager to learn and help them grow. When they look back at where they were and where they are now, there is some journey that they see they developed over time; that’s where I feel that sense of achievement. I try to use my energy to make the classroom feel livelier as well, so I enjoy doing that.”

“If I felt like the class was fun, then I have done what I was supposed to do, which is educate – in a very positive way where students are engaged. I’m always reflecting on my lessons. If I feel that I’ve made students active and the learning material I’m using is authentic, and it applies to helping them in their real-life future in terms of skills, then I’ll feel that that has been a really good lesson, and I would feel very accomplished. Outside of lessons, if I have students coming up to me asking questions or having positive interactions or something to do with university, or their life or the future or certain worries I can help a little with, that is just the icing on the cake.”

Many would assume that being a younger teacher would enable easier formed understandings and relationships between students and teachers. However, Mr. Fan disagrees: “I think age is just a being. It has a lot to do with your attitude and mindset toward teaching. For example, if you’ve been teaching for many years, you could feel alienated from the job; students come and go anyways. In the early stages of my teaching career, I’m more passionate about what I do. So, sure, maybe it contributes to me forming positive teacher relationships. But I still believe that let’s say, ten years down the line, I’ll still be able to do it. I don’t think that’s because of age.”

Regarding his personal interests, Mr. Fan mentions that he is “very passionate about sports, football and basketball in particular. I’m a very diehard fan of Manchester United. I’m very into numbers as well, like the fantasy aspect of it. Like fantasy football and basketball.” He also brings up his interest in technology: “I enjoy photography, street photography in particular. For a while, I had an interest in creating videos and vlogs and editing. I dive into a game occasionally here and there, although I do it less now.”

Mr. Fan also brings up his “fear of animals”. To clarify, he explains that it’s a phobia he has. “I’m not able to understand what they think; hence I have a fear. They’re so unpredictable; you can’t communicate with them. When I was young, I would jump on top of the table, like that kind of phobia.”

Although Mr. Fan has only been teaching at Sha Tin College for less than a year, it is safe to say that many students already recognise him. After all, such a young teacher would be hard to not take notice of! 

Writer: Grace Yeung

Editor: Kadence Wong