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A Fresh Start

May, 2008
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simoncrop It was his good command of the Chinese language that brought Simon Greenhalgh to China in 2002. Before coming to Shanghai last summer, Greenhalgh taught in a Chinese primary school as well as in one of the bilingual schools in Beijing.

  Though having adjusted to life in Beijing, the young teacher decided to move to Shanghai to start on a new adventure with his wife Ling, a Chinese national.

  Receiving a job offer from the British International School Shanghai (BISS), which just opened a new campus in Nanxiang town, Shanghai, Greenhalgh thought it would be a great start not only for building up his career but also for the experience that a new school would offer.

  He, now a Year 6 teacher at BISS Nanxiang, teaches Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Physical Education.

  Greenhalgh said he was more than excited about building up the sports program, especially for the primary school level as he loves sports. With a major in Information Technology and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE Primary), Greenhalgh has taught children of all levels. To him, teaching is rewarding when the day is over and he goes home satisfied that he has taught the children something important.

  “Teaching is the job for me,” he said, “I love children, and I can relate with the kids.”

  Although there are now only seven children in his class, Greenhalgh feels a huge responsibility for each of them. He tries to make lessons fun, introducing new projects in his class, at the same time he and all the students have become good friends.

  When asked about their teacher, Marcello Sachacki, one of Greenhalgh’s students, was quick to praise Greenhalgh: “He’s caring, and in his class it’s partly learning, partly fun.” All the students agreed that Greenhalgh was funny and easy to talk to.

  “They (parents) give you their most precious thing and it’s a lot of responsibility,” said the teacher. “The important thing for me is that I can give the kids more individual attention. Experience is always good, and you need a lot of patience for them too.”

  There weren’t many resources when everything started at the new school, Greenhalgh recalled, but he was happy about taking advantage of the chance to work on different things. Besides teaching the children, he also took over the responsibilities for the school newsletter and the upkeep of the school website.

  “This gives me a chance to expand the things I can do,” he said.IMG_2718

  In order to help the students practice their English, Greenhalgh does not use his fluent Chinese with some of his students, which is the “speaking policy” here at BISS.

  However, Greenhalgh manages to converse with the school’s Mandarin teacher and sometimes exchanges idioms and English for Chinese so as to better both of their language skills.

  “The highlight of being in such a close-knit school community is that everyone knows each other and are able to open up to each other,” said Greenhalgh. He has contributed his knowledge of technology while sharing creative teaching ideas with other faculty.

  Being able to read and write in Chinese also makes his new life in Shanghai a lot easier. Outside school, Greenhalgh enjoys exploring the city, finding new food or watching football during the evenings. The IT expert also spends a lot of time on the computer so as to keep up with new technology developments.

  “It’s fun here,” he said. “Every place you teach, you always end up learning more. That’s what I love about teaching, everyday I learn something new.”

By Xing Yangjian

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