The 28th of August is fast approaching, the historic day when Huili School Shanghai will open its doors to its founding pupils for the very first time. However, a palpable sense of excitement and energy can already be felt across the school as we continue with our three-week induction of Huili’s founding members of staff. As you might expect from a team chosen from literally thousands of potential candidates, the staff have thrown themselves into the task of preparing for the children’s arrival with all the determination, passion and enthusiasm that anyone could ask for.
Bringing Huili to life Three weeks of preparation might seem like a long time but it went by in the blink of an eye! Naturally, this is an extremely busy time for all of Huili’s new staff members as they settle into their new school, a new city and (for many) an entirely new country. From setting up laptops and email addresses, to personalising new offices and classrooms, it’s been amazing to see the recently finished facilities finally coming to life as the teachers and non-academic staff familiarise themselves with their new place of work. No detail has been missed, as the staff have been supported with everything that they need to settle in quickly and comfortably in time for the big opening day.
Bringing together the Bear’s Paw and the Fish
Beyond these more immediate concerns that were mostly tackled in the first week, during the second induction week the overseas and Chinese founding staff members have been getting to know one another and preparing themselves to work side by side to make Huili School Shanghai a great success. Every stage of their preparations has been guided by the principles that led to the foundation of the Huili School in the first place: namely to provide pupils with the very best of both the Eastern and Western educational worlds in a genuinely bilingual manner.
Getting ready to deliver a truly successful bilingual education is no easy task, which is why it’s taken four years of preparation, with two and a half years of in-depth curriculum research and development to get to this point. But as our Chinese and expatriate staff begin to work together with open minds, taking in new ideas and approaches while sharing their own with their colleagues, they are prepared to deliver both the ‘Bear’s paw and fish’ from the very first lesson of the first day of schooling. During the series of presentations and trainings, Mr Gerard MacMahon (Executive Master of Wellington College Shanghai) and Ms Stella Zhou (Principal of Huili School Shanghai) have highlighted this vital objective as they discussed with the staff how we will make Huili uniquely special: “We want our Huili pupils, the majority of whom will be Chinese, to be knowledgeable and proud of their language and heritage while at the same time ensuring that their English is as the Chinese pupils at the international school. That’s the promise we’re making: that parents aren’t compromising the quality of their child’s Chinese by giving them a bilingual education, even as they develop an equally strong understanding of English as their international school counterparts.” – Mr Gerard MacMahon “Our parents have chosen to send their children here not because of the facilities (great though they are) but because of the philosophy of education that we offer and because of the teachers who will deliver it. They know that we will help their child fall in love with learning while still achieving great academic success alongside the development of their character. They trust us to choose the right people for this most important founding year, and I have no doubt that we have done just that.” – Ms Stella Zhou A fantastic founding staff for our first year of Huili School Shanghai Throughout the induction period, it’s been a delight to see Chinese and overseas staff members bonding as friends and colleagues, as they work side by side to familiarise themselves with the facilities, educational resources and curriculum that they will be putting to excellent use next week. It’s quickly given Huili a very exciting atmosphere of collaboration, as our teachers from all over the world share their ideas, swap educational experiences and strategies, while discussing the best ways to blend them into Huili’s evolving curriculum to make it as strong yet flexible as possible. There’s also a building sense of anticipation, as these outstanding and hugely dedicated teachers look forward to the first time that their pupils will arrive through the gates of Huili School Shanghai to begin its founding year. We can’t wait to see you all then!