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Postcards From Shanghai

Mar 16, 2017

Postcards From Shanghai

Mrs Maguire, one of our Science Teachers, is currently teaching for a year in Shanghai and has sent us an update of how she's getting on!

She says: "I've been working at the Shanghai Experimental Cambridge International School since 10th February teaching International GCSE Chemistry. 

The school is a private school and about 50% of the pupils live here from Monday to Friday and go home on weekends. Although all of the pupils are Chinese, they have several teachers who only speak English like me, and they take all of their exams in English with exam papers similar to the UK.

The school is only for pupils in the equivalent of years 10-13, and theysit IGCSE exams and then international A levels. When they have finished their A levels a lot of pupils will travel to the UK or USA for university which is why they need to be taught the same as students in Britain. 

There are some things that are very different to Britain however. The school day starts at 7.40am with registration and lessons begin at 7.45am! Each lesson has a break afterwards although the pupils do not move classrooms, the teachers do.

The school day ends at 4.20pm for students who do not live here, but the students who do live here take part in evening classes to complete homework and extra study up until 9pm! This means that the school day is very long here and sometimes leaves the students feeling very tired. 

The students do not wear a uniform as such, but they all have a school coat which is necessary as it is still quite cold at the moment, although it gets very hot in the summer so they won't last much longer! Also there are no detentions here. Occasionally a student forgets their homework but they always hand it in eventually. 

Most pupils just learn Chemistry and Physics as Biology is too hard because there is a much wider vocabulary to learn, and at A level, essays to write which is hard if English is your second language. Despite this there are some pupils who take all three sciences. In science, no practical work is carried out at all unless the pupils are in Sixth Form. This is because there are fewer labs so science lessons are taught in a normal classroom.

So far I haven't learnt any mandarin except for: 'thank you', 'hello', and 'take-away', which is not very good. One skill I have developed is the ability to use chopsticks!"