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Pleased to Meet You…Shirley Xie

11 november 2014

This week we spoke to Mandarin Teacher Shirley Xie…

  • Mandarin Teacher at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi campus

How long have you been at BISS Puxi? I've been working at BISS Puxi since August 2012.

What made you want to work at an international school and what do you enjoy about working here? Before coming to BISS Puxi, I worked at a public school in the US for two years where we taught the AP (Advanced Placement) programme. However, whilst working there, I often discussed the IB system that was being used in other states, with my friends and colleagues. Therefore, when I came back to Shanghai, I was looking for an opportunity to work in an IB school to get more knowledge of it. BISS Puxi was my first choice.

To be able to expose myself to different challenges and accomplish different tasks in teaching is what I enjoy the most as a teacher. I love dealing with students from different year groups, countries, background and situations. BISS Puxi provides me with that every day.

What tips can you give to new comers about how to settle into living in China? I would call it ‘integrate into’ rather than ‘settle into’ as most of the new comers I know are not actually willing to settle but shuttle. Let’s just say, if you want to enjoy your time in China, the ability to integrate your views and values with the ones Chinese people have is important and will take experience and research. Take a simple example; most Chinese people who don't wait in queues were not educated to do so when they were growing up because at that time, education was not a priority. My advice would be to try to talk to local people and find out about them and their lives: you’ll discover more about how to live well in China.

What do you enjoy most about teaching non–native speakers Mandarin? As I said, different situations I have to deal with on a daily base are what I enjoy most about being a non-native Mandarin teacher. I enjoy the process of developing new lesson slides, talking with parents about how to help their children, learning new technologies to assist teaching and learning how to handle new tasks.

Who is your favourite Chinese author and why? My favourite Chinese author is Fang Fang. I was influenced by her a lot mostly because she is an author from my hometown. Another reason is that, as a female writer, she’s able to write about a woman’s life experience and uses very beautiful descriptions. I will always remember the days when I spent my two summers in the school library, reading all her books and learning all about her.

Where are you from and what do you miss most from home? I’m from Wuhan. What I miss most from home is the Eastern Lake. It brings me peace and joy whenever I walk along the lakeside. If the weather is good, I rent a little boat and find my way to the Gui mountain, where I just do nothing but enjoying the quietness.