News: International Teaching in Ancient and Modern Suzhou - Nov 15, 2021
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Monday, November 15, 2021School Spotlights

International Teaching in Ancient and Modern Suzhou

Suzhou High School - International Division (SZZX – ID) is a newly-sprouted branch of the 1,000-year-old Suzhou High School of Jiangsu Province, an elite public high school dating back to 1035 AD. Head of School Guan Yi exclaims, “Teaching at a brand-new program of a millennium-old school is not an opportunity you could encounter every day.”

This co-ed day and boarding school offers an internationalized curriculum deeply rooted in Chinese Wu culture. Studying at SZZX-ID includes a one-year Bridge Program and the two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme for students ages 15-19. The school is also dedicated to supporting its international faculty of 10 nationalities in not only acquiring Chinese language but also enjoying life on and off campus. SZZX-ID is located in the heart of the 2,500-year-old city of Suzhou. Guan Yi adds,

Wandering around the neighborhood, you have a feeling that you are walking back in history, and you would most probably rub shoulders with people from centuries back.

Downtown Suzhou is a major economic and tourist center of China, often dubbed "Heaven on Earth." The city's canals, stone bridges, pagodas, museums, classical gardens, and recreational facilities are all within walking distance of the school. However, a hop on one of five metro lines will transport you to the peace and quiet of lakes and hills in the suburbs. A 30-minute train ride will take you to all the conveniences of metropolitan Shanghai.

Suzhou is also a metropolitan city with a vibrant international population. Expatriates living there have access to Western-style supermarkets and cuisines from around the world. Because of its large metro network, traveling in and around Suzhou is also easy. Additionally, a very good bus service travels to all parts of the city, and taxis are also available and generally very cheap. Three international airports are located in the wider area, two of them in Shanghai, which is only 25 minutes away by high-speed rail.

The SZZX-ID campus—with its three beautiful ponds and small hill—has a university feel. Next door to the school rests a Confucius Temple, formerly part of school grounds. Yet, this traditional Suzhou Garden-style environment is home to the most modern facilities available. The school’s STEAM Center, also known as the Dream Factory, is equipped with features such as Computerized Numerical Control, F1 in Schools, and 3-D printers.

SZZX-ID currently delivers the U.S. Common Core Curriculum, the International Middle Years Curriculum, and the General Certificate of Secondary Education. Once it is authorized to deliver the IB Diploma Programme along with the full track of its Bridge Program, the school looks forward to enrolling up to 200 high school students. The teaching staff of 30 includes 10 educators from China. 

SZZX-ID is designing its IB program to be closely connected to and rooted in the local culture – the Wu Culture. Head of School Guan Yi adds,

Take language, for example: we not only focus on the importance of bilingual education, namely Chinese and English, but we also have Suzhou Dialect language classes to encourage the students to learn local Suzhou dialect, as we believe only by speaking the local language, can one have a better understanding and sense of belonging to the local culture.

SZZX-ID uses the IB Creativity, Activity Service (CAS) Programme to connect students with the local culture, by finding opportunities for them to learn from masters, for example, of Classical Chinese GuQin, a quiet, stringed-instrument; woodcut print; and more. Access to labs at the local university as well as topnotch enterprises in Suzhou will also provide students with opportunities to explore, hands-on, the most updated technological developments.

SZZX-ID is interested in hiring certified candidates of diverse profiles, including those with a non-teaching partner and newly-certified teachers. Candidates must hold an academic degree in the subject they will be teaching. Those up to the age of 60 may obtain a work visa; however, new teachers should be able to complete the term of their contract before their reach the age limit for visas.

The benefits package includes a settling in allowance, a monthly housing stipend, and annual, roundtrip airfare to or from Suzhou to the home country of the teacher and two dependents. Additionally, SZZX-ID covers full tuition at a local international school for up to two children per teacher. Other bonuses include a Contract Renewal Bonus of $1500 US, free daily lunch and Chinese lessons. The school pays for workshops required and recommended by IBO. Local health insurance, including dental, is fully covered. The salary and benefits package could amount to some good savings or the chance of a family of four to live on one salary. There are also local employment opportunities for non-teaching partners.

Suzhou High School - International Division’s full profile on the Search Associates database, including a list of any vacancies, candidates can apply for membership by clicking here. Candidates already registered can easily access the school profile directly through their dashboards.

Please note: The information presented about this school was valid on the date published. This information may change, and the most up-to-date information can be found on the school profile.

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Senior Associate Nick Kendell has worked in Asia, Australia, and Africa as an educator and administrator.