About the Host School
Ningbo Zhenhai High School has 2,000 students on roll aged 16 to 19 years old. It is one of the top schools in the city and therefore students need to be academically strong in order to be admitted. As a result, students are focused and work oriented and this has helped to develop a culture where academic excellence has predominated.
The history of Zhenhai High School can be traced back to 1732, when a school of Confucian teaching was founded on the site. Zhenhai High School was formally established as a modern high school in 1911 (the year of the Xinhai Revolution) by a local businessman.
The school places great emphasis on mathematics and science education. Students have won numerous awards in national and international mathematics and science Olympiads. In recent years, however, Zhenhai High School has moved away from the more exam focused model and has started to emphasise an all-round education with a wide range of extra-curricular activities and clubs. Students have won top prizes in national invention and national singing competitions.
The school underwent major renovation in 2000 and now has a new science building, IT building, gymnasium, indoor swimming pool and well stocked library. The school campus encompasses several acres but it has also been attractively developed with many garden enclaves and fish ponds. The school has a splendid history and parts of the campus are devoted to archival materials.
About the A Level Centre
The A level Centre at Zhenhai High School has grown over the last 4 years, and we now have 270 students on roll. Our students are selected by ability following the successful completion of examinations in mathematics and oral English. Competition is very strong for the 90 places on offer each year, and we often have 4/5 applicants for every place. The main school has plans to grow the school further over the next few years.
We have a great campus, and the school has a wonderful history. We are proud of our students and you will be impressed by the warm welcome that you will receive either as a visitor or as a teacher. Our students are confident and gregarious. We currently have 18 international teachers who have considerable experience, and we have a support team of Chinese teachers and Counselors numbering 14 at this time.
Our examination results are outstanding and the majority achieve Grades A* to C at IGCSE, AS and A2 level. All of our students are highly motivated, and all of them go to University if the USA and the UK, a smaller number go to Canada and Australia.
Our students are also successful participants in a wide range of extracurricular activities, and many have achieved success in national and international competitions. Over recent years our students have also been very successful across all of the Dipont sponsored competitions, and in 2012-13 our teams won the Video Challenge and Stem Competition. Every summer a number of our students participate in summers schools in Europe and North America.
We have good teaching and learning resources and our students have access to a designated library; ICT suites and labs for Chemistry, Physics and Biology. During a typical working week our students would also take part on a wide range of extracurricular activities including Drama, Art, Sport, Debate, Business, Conversational English, Chess, Battle of the Bands…and so on. Our students also have an elected Student Representative Council who meeting weekly with the Centre Principal.
All of our international teachers are very happy in the school, and many comment that it is the best place by far that they have taught in. They feel enriched and valued by their work, and they enjoy working in the school.
The school is located about 45 minutes taxi ride from the city centre near to the port area, hence most teachers only tend to venture to the city centre at weekends. The local area has plenty of small shops and local restaurants however.
Ningbo city itself is set 20km inland and has a number of historical sites linked to its importance as a key port throughout China's history. Tianyige Library is said to be the oldest surviving library building in China . It also has all the shopping and leisure facilities of a large city. Typical Ningbo dishes feature local seafood. The airport has flights to many Chinese airports, including Hong Kong.
The countryside around Ningbo is lovely and there are numerous temples and pagodas to visit. A few hours by boat north of Ningbo and south of Shanghai is the island of Putuo Shan – it is one of the four Chinese mountains sacred to Buddhism and a charming, isolated place with sandy beaches, green hills and monasteries.
Teacher Case Study
Shane Anderson, English
I'm Canadian, 28, and love to teach! The availability of good job opportunities in Canada after I qualified was limited and it wasn't long before I jumped into the rabbit hole of the international teaching world. Before joining Ningbo Zhenhai, I was teaching in the Middle East. I've been on the international circuit for a couple of years now and I've had quite a colourful experience. I'd heard things about teaching in other countries from many different colleagues and was looking for a new setting to practice my craft.
I would say the biggest benefit of working in Zhenhai is the staff! Seriously. As a relatively young pup in the world of teaching, walking into a staff room that's as established and hilarious as this one is a great help. The heavy British contingent and their constant arguments over football club allegiance provide hours of non-stop entertainment, especially for a guy who loves a sport most people in the staff room never knew existed (Ice Hockey). In addition to this, the students are unparalleled in their respect, dedication and sweetness. Teaching here is a dream.
My lifestyle is akin to that of a foreigner living in a relatively small district in China… The rides into town to pick up Western-style groceries are a pain, and it's hard to get used to the staring from locals, but I feel safe out here. The architecture is endearing, the campus is dream-like, the local parks are bustling with insanity (the interesting kind - I walk through one every morning on the way to work) and the serene, laid-back atmosphere is detoxifying in its own way.
The downside of working here is it is difficult unless you know some Chinese. I don't, and it's been the only source of my discomfort and unease. Everything else is gravy! The Zhenhai campus is well-established and offers a ridiculous amount of photo opportunities for the snap-happy types out there.
Student Case Study
I started my A-Level study in 2012 after graduating from Ningbo Foreign Language School, the best junior high school in Ningbo. I did a lot of pre-reading about the materials so the transition period was not that grueling for me. I have enjoyed learning about different cultures, where my teachers originated, and speaking and thinking in a different language. Most importantly, I learnt ‘respect’: respecting my teachers and my classmates (even when sometimes they are incredibly noisy).
I think the biggest benefit for me has been the opportunity to study in an environment similar to the learning experience I will find at a Western University. I have learned how to manage my time properly and self-study, and I am also trying to learn more British humour so that I can laugh when others are telling jokes!
Trying to understand the dialect and the different accents that prevail is one of the challenges I have faced. I found out that British people don’t speak English, rather some of them speak with a southern London accent, while a minority of have a strong northern or Newcastle accent - fascinating but challenging!
I achieved 4A* in IGCSE Chemistry, Physics and Biology and A-Level Math and 4A’s in IGCSE Business and AS Chemistry, Physics and Economics. I also achieved 80% in Harvard Organic Chemistry Summer Course.
I want to be a Chemist, but I am unsure at this time if I want to be pharmacologist or a material scientist. I want to study biochemistry, chemistry and material science in the first year, and then specialize in one of the subjects. As a debate leader, I will not stop thinking and debating, and I plan to be part of the University debate team. Plus, I enjoy European Medieval History, so minoring in History may be a good way to extend my interest.