It was a moment to be savoured for Yang Tan Beng Eng - the last photograph with her teaching colleagues and students as they showered her with flowers and gifts. It was a fitting finale to a wonderful 23 years at the Pope Paul VI College in Kwai Chung, New Territories. She moved towards her students and wrapped her arms around each one. They muttered words of thanks and she smiled back as if to say: 'Yes, I have retired but I will always be there for you.' Mrs Yang began her career as an English and history teacher in 1974 and in 1980 became school librarian at the Pope Paul VI College. She has spent her whole career believing that communication plays a vital role in bridging the gap between teachers and students. 'Sometimes I would take the initiative to approach the student,' Mrs Yang said. 'I would listen to them and try to help them as far as possible. 'At the very beginning, some students may not be able to accept me as they think that we are in a different rank. But gradually we develop a friendship and they will listen to my advice.' Mrs Yang also revealed that building bonds with pupils involved being able to keep a secret. Wun Sau-lan, a Form Four student at the college, said she would seek Mrs Yang's advice if she had a problem. 'Though sometimes we might have had different points of view, I was always convinced of her experience,' Sau- lan said. Being a librarian and having a lot of contact with students, Mrs Yang often found herself doubling as an extra unofficial counsellor. 'Though there are school social workers and the counselling team at the college, students are sometimes reluctant to seek help from them,' she said. 'As they may be regarded as problematic if they consult with the counsellor, students like to talk to me instead.' She says the job has given her great satisfaction over the years, but admits that since the government cut staff numbers in 1989 it had been tough. 'Our library then became a one-man band and I became the only person in charge,' Mrs Yang said. 'It's really hard work. Hence, I began to train the student librarians so as to ease the stress.' With so much experience behind her, Mrs Yang felt she had some good advice for improving student-teacher relations - teachers should give pupils more encouragement rather than looking to blame them. When her retirement takes effect next month, she plans to learn the piano and get involved in voluntary work.