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Working Life at Jinling HIgh School

CHINA | Saturday, 12 September 2015 | Views [1278] | Comments [2]

Thought I would write about my school and classes in a little more detail now that I have finished my official first full (a little more than full) week at Jinling High School, Nanjing, China. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinling_High_School The school has quite a long and interesting history. The International Program I am teaching in is part of the bigger Jinling High School which is a public school. You can consider us as kind of a charter school – the Zhong Mei Ban (China/USA program) which is designed to help Chinese students get into high level American universities. Only 54 students are allowed in each year of about 600 applicants. They must have high test scores and need to pass an oral interview in English before being admitted. Most of their curriculum is in English and by the time they finish, they have SAT scores above 2,000 and TOEFL scores above 100 (where the maximum score is 120). Professors from UCLA teach in our program through their extension department so students finishing their senior year (they study for three years), have a year’s worth of college credit from UCLA. Former graduates have gone onto to Columbia, NYU, Rutgers, Princeton and of course UCLA. Most of the students are from Nanjing – a few from out of town live on campus with parents or relatives. My first year students are 15 and 16 years old – very mature and serious and polite. Their English level is about that of ELI’s level 5 (high intermediate) so the materials I am using are right at their level. The periods are 40 minutes each and the students study 10 periods a day from 7:55 to 5:00 pm! I hear that many of the second year students also take evening courses to study for the SAT and TOEFL exams. Of course, there are typical high school types – which seem to be universal – the popular types, the nerds, the awkward gawky ones, the bookworms, the tomboys, the jocks.  They have clubs and student government.

I teach a theatre and drama elective for the third year students who are pretty much in the throes of burnout, so when I introduced the course and said that we would be studying the structure and types of drama and doing literary analysis of famous dramatic works, I saw their eyes and brains start to glaze over, so at the second meeting, I distributed scenes from a high school acting text and they went wild with excitement.  I’m not sure how long I can sustain the energy and excitement – we will see. We are planning to stage a full production at the end of the year.

My colleagues and support staff are all interesting, well-traveled and kind people. There is a mixture of very young – just out of school -  teachers and UCLA TA’s with more seasoned teachers, many with Asian roots and spouses – and me!  I am definitely an anomaly here but have been graciously included in their meal plans and some outside activities – an Australian bar bust this weekend for example.

So far it is feeling like a good fit and I am enjoying have a singular focus and being able to actually feel prepared when I walk into class. Next week will be the first real week of work - no surprise holidays or Friday/Sunday schedules. Then, in two and half weeks, we have a week off for Mao's birthday.



Long live the anomalies of this world! Sounds like a good start to what will be a long season...but I'm sure you'll find the proper rhythm. Enjoy.

  Ron the Heretic Sep 18, 2015 10:15 AM


Damn, I wish we got a week off for Nixon's birthday...

  Ron the Heretic Sep 18, 2015 10:16 AM

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