Phew! What a mad hectic process! Actually, it is nothing of the sort. If one is prepared with all the documents in place and confident that things are going well, it’s really not too onerous. I was ready.
The inspectors arrived in Jiaxing on Friday night, following 2 previous school visits at Wenzhou and Tongxiang (near-by). I went to greet them with George Zhao, our Chinese VP, neighbour and friend. The inspectors had been to an early celebratory dinner with the previous school and had apparently been into the Bijiou (lethal white alcohol mascarading as white wine). Well, at least ONE of them might have imbibed a little. We got them settled and took them across the street for a foot massage but did not stay. As much as I love foot massages, it had been a long week. They had the weekend to write their reports (and possibly go on a shopping excursion to Shanghai although I can’t say for sure), and then came to my school on Monday morning.
Geoff and I had the school ready, with beautiful coloured posters made of pictures we had taken of them in activities and clubs. Geoff did a great job creating collages of Hallowe’en activities and our inaugural Terry Fox run and the place looked great!
The inspectors were impressed and made mention of it right out of the gate. It was uphill from there. Our teachers were nervous but passed the inspection with flying colours. They were particularly impressed with Andrei and Oliver and what they are contributing as first year teachers: solid classroom environment, well-planned lessons, extra-curricular involvement. They have started a boys’ basketball team and are excited about the opportunity for teaching the kids about team-work and the game.
The kids don’t really know how to play a full game, having never had that experience, so the first event will be wipe out but they should have fun! Mr. Zhao is completely involved, setting up gym time and helping to get uniforms ordered. The principal, Mr. Xu (pronounced Shoe, with an upward inflection) insisted that the mascot name include both a J and a G, for Jiaxing Gao Ji, Jaixing Senior High. Imagine. Who knew it was even possible? They came up with Jaguar and Jaguar it is!
Monday evening dinner at the Sunshine Hotel. Good food and not too much to drink, in spite of the obligatory toasts. Everyone happy. But the best part was the next day when the inspector told Mr. Xu that our foundations were firmly in place and we were already an exemplary school, doing well and destined for greatness. Inspectors don’t actually say those sorts of things but you get the picture. It went very well and we are good to go for another year.
Meanwhile, I have been going mad with my computer, which I believe I tainted with viruses, trying to upload programs to run videos. Never mind, it’s a long story but suffice to say it had become ridiculously slow, even for Chinese standards. We uploaded all my files to Dropbox and had a private techie come in to ‘clean’ it. Today, I can’t connect to my printer and our student information system is likewise lost in space. A school techie came down in the afternoon and tried several times to get the printer to work and upload TESS without much luck, so tomorrow the private guy will give it a shot. Much to my delight, I discovered that our school techie actually has quite a bit of English, although he is too shy to use much of it. I tend to forget the language difference and speak anyway and lo and behold, there he was talking and reading the messages. I had him! Lots of fun but not much difference with my machine.
So, winter is upon us. Today started out brisk but by mid-afternoon, a wind blew up that was COLD! I took the bus and resented the temperature as I hustled the short block home. But what did I discover? Geoff had begun the winterizing of our apartment. He has
Ken’s our guest bedroom windows covered (first with plastic and THEN with cardboard) and the two of us sealed the bathroom window which is over-sized, single paned and only slightly less windy when closed than open. It took us about a fifth of the time it took us last year and already the place feels warmer. Let it come! Tomorrow it’s time for the long underwear!
This morning, I was just behind a student who arrived in a Maserati sports model. Boy, it sounded great! I followed him up the stairs but couldn’t keep up (he was late and in a hurry). Geoff sleuthed it out. Sure enough, he was one of ours but he didn’t even know the name of the car. We have another kid who arrives in chauffeur-driven Bentley so definitely no shortage of money here. You would never know it, judging by the school facility, or the kids.