In many ways, the ECAs are just as important a part of a student’s life as the normal lessons themselves. The range of activities available here at the British International School of Shanghai, Puxi is almost overwhelming, there is so much from which the students can choose. Whether it is something to exercise the body or to challenge the mind, or delight the soul, there is something for everyone. Long after the official end to the school day, groups of students can be seen busily learning or refining a new skill, one which brings them great joy and a sense of achievement. The weekend is no different either, with our team of hardworking staff supporting a myriad of events and competitions across the city. I hope that your children have been able to participate fully in this programme, as it is an essential part of what helps to make our children well rounded, well adjusted, healthy people.
Of course, the same need for a range of activities and support applies to us, as the children’s parents and carers. These days I am perhaps a little too ‘well rounded’, but I won’t let that prevent me from attending the Welcome Back party on Saturday. What promises to be a great event is also an opportunity to connect to our ‘family’. An essential part of any sojourner’s wellbeing is that sense of belonging and here at BISS Puxi, we are experts at making people feel welcome. I look forward to being able to meet with many of you on Saturday and to enjoy, with you, feeling part of a caring ‘school family’ environment.
It is no surprise to anyone involved in the leadership of learning, that alongside experiencing cognitive challenges, athletic demands and creative opportunities, one of the key elements to nurturing self-motivated and happy learners is the need to provide a diversity of experiences all within an environment of encouragement and guidance. I do hope that you enjoy seeing this approach support your children’s development as this term progresses.
One final thought: before the Welcome Back party on Saturday I have the honour of being invited to an event run by the Huacao County Government to mark the 32nd Teacher’s Day in China. I can still remember my favourite teacher from when I was just 9 years old, Mr Orchard. He had a profound impact on my life, as his warm and caring, enthusiastic approach to leading learning was something that I used as an inspiration when I began my own teaching career. I was reminded of this very recently when as a new arrival, I paid to join a food tour of the city recently. As we walked between restaurants for different courses of the meal, one of my companions asked me what I did for a profession. Upon hearing that I was a teacher, he replied, “Thank you so much for doing that.” I was very moved by the generosity of this man and his sense of a global appreciation for those that help children learn. I hope you will take the opportunity on this Welcome Back party to say, “Hello” to the many teachers that will be there and thank them, as representatives of teachers everywhere, for all that they do. I am proud to be part of such a great teaching team here at BISS Puxi and so I too am delighted to add my thanks to all our colleagues whether teachers, support staff or administrators for all their hard work in starting the year so well.
Dr Neil Hopkin, Principal