Teaching at a Band Five school was a dreadful experience for Ms Chan, although she only worked there for less than a year. She feels education for all is an ideology easier said than done and she feels her dignity was 'stolen' by students. Ms Chan (not her real name) was a music teacher in a Band Five secondary school in the northeastern New Territories. She believed she was psychologically prepared when she decided to take up the temporary job in April last year. She had taught in another Band Five school previously. 'I had to yell at the students on my first day at school to stop seven of them beating one. But the student who was being beaten up told me to shut my mouth. I was very upset by it,' said Ms Chan. In another incident, she burst into tears when she tried to control the chaos in class and correct the students' misbehaviour. 'Many a time I was like a shrewish woman who screamed madly, but they hardly listened,' she said. Her students had no respect for music as it was not a core subject in the curriculum. 'It's a time for students to vent their anger and frustrations. Nobody will sing, so instead I taught them music rhythms. 'One time I told a student to pick up a chicken bone he had thrown on the playground and he just ignored me. He said I was only a music teacher. His remark hurt me badly,' said Ms Chan. She said the school culture was largely responsible for the misconduct, on top of poor academic standards. 'Some of the Form One students didn't even know the alphabet. Their Chinese language skills were no better. 'They were reasonably disciplined students for the first two months of schooling, but would gradually be influenced by Form Two students and started to behave badly. You could actually see them degenerating.' She said the students were only afraid of authoritative figures such as disciplinary teachers, but made clear they had no fear for others. 'I felt like I had no dignity in the school. I didn't feel like I was a teacher.' Ms Chan said the school did nothing to improve the situation. Her nightmare finally came to an end when she began to teach in a Band One school in February this year. She no longer has to drag herself to school every morning. 'Now I'm a real teacher who gets respect from the students. At last I'm talking to an audience who listens,' she said. Unlike Ms Chan, third-former Sze Kam-yin could not switch schools, however she would want to be given the choice. She was studying at HKTA the Yuen Yuen Institute No 1 Secondary School, a Band Four school. Kam-yin was very upset in her first year of secondary education because 'a Band Four school means only the bad students will attend'. She said she would talk to classmates and would not pay attention to the teachers. 'It's the school environment. Classrooms are noisy. Nobody listens,' she said. But as she was promoted to Form Three this year, Kam-yin spent more time on her studying. She understands if she does not study well, she will have no hope in the future. 'Every school's the same. It depends on the students rather than the schools. I don't mind studying in a Band Four school any more. 'I don't care if other students talk in class. That's their business. Instead I'll put extra effort in to learn.' Although she wanted to study in a higher-ranked school, with a better learning environment, Kam-yin worried that she could not cope with the more demanding school work. Kam-yin's friend, Ah Yan, did not feel honoured to study in a Band One school in Shek Yam. 'Every school has some bad elements. I know friends who are gang members,' she said. She did not take study seriously for the first two years. 'I was suspended for talking in class, swearing at teachers and not doing my homework. My conduct was [grade] D.' Ah Yan said she started to improve and has behaved well since last summer.