My new school is part of the American Lutheran church’s education mission arm. It has a beautiful campus here in Jinqiao which was established about 22 years ago. It is very well maintained if a little small for the growing numbers of students who want to enroll.
The church cannot proselytize here in China so the mission of the school states that we provide ‘ Education wrapped in relationships’ which I think is a beautiful aim and helps to reinforce the personalized nature of what we do. The school sees every child as a ‘gift from God’ (and I must admit that this is a challenge with some children on some days!!!) but this philosophy means that there is a very distinctive atmosphere on campus. Several people comment that there is something ‘different’ that they can sense when they visit.
And it isn’t just in the artwork or messages around the school.
The staff are overwhelmingly nice and I couldn’t have wished for a warmer welcome. As the orientation period ends and the children begin to arrive, all the new staff found a chocolate on their desks from the Assistant Head of School along with a poem about starting a new position. The head of the elementary school today came round to thank everyone who helped with the registration event. It’s small personal touches like that which makes all the difference.
Every year the school chooses a word to focus on. This year it is ‘Envision’ how we can all work towards making a better future. And on Wednesday’s many staff wear pink to remember those who have had breast cancer (must go shopping for pink items)
I have joined a Secret Friend scheme. Those of us who have opted in get a person and we do something nice for them once a month. We send birthday & Christmas cards anonymously and at the end of the year there is a big ‘reveal’ it a brilliant way of building community and I am going to enjoy trying to figure out who my secret friend is.
In the meantime there is much to get to grips with:
American curriculum, American terminology & American spellings
The ‘great fire wall’ means VPNs and other workarounds (which frustratingly don’t always work how you think it should!)
Not to mention finding my way around and between new buildings
A new year has started. Let it be a good one.