Leaving address: Wang Peizhen’s leaving speech

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Wang Peizhen was one of two Shanghai teachers who divided their time between two schools in the Archimedes NE Maths Hub area: St Augustine’s RC Primary School in Darlington, and St Gregory’s Catholic Academy in Stockton on Tees.

At a reception given by the Chinese Embassy in London on the evening before the party of teachers flew back to China, Wang Peizhen spoke on behalf of all the Shanghai teachers. It was a speech that moved the whole room, and one that perfectly encapsulated the month-long professional and personal experience of all teachers—from the East and the West—who’d participated in this first wave of the teacher exchange.

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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Wang Peizhen. I am a teacher from Shanghai, China. I teach maths at Pingliang Rd. No.3 Primary School. I am honoured to make this speech, as a representative of the 29 teachers from Shanghai.

First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Nick Gibb M.P. Minister of State for School Reform, also Mr. Shen Yang, Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China.

On behalf of all the Shanghai teachers, I thank the National College and NCETM for inviting us to be part of this project. Sincere thanks go to Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and the project team at Shanghai Normal University.

I am sure that my colleagues would want me to thank the Principals of our own schools, who are supporting us in this work. On behalf of CAI Junaquin and myself, we extend our thanks to Martina McCollom, Lucy Ashley and Catherine Guy; our project partners at St. Augustines School, Darlington and St. Gregory’s School, Stockton. Thank you also to the Archimedes Maths Hub at Carmel College. Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. All of them are family.

During the past month in England, I fell deeply in love with this country. I saw the blue sky and soft clouds, I liked the Gothic architecture here, I have met many kind people and polite drivers. I particularly liked Mr.& Mrs.Lollipop, helping children to safely cross the roads. Everything is peaceful and everyone looks friendly.

As a teacher, I have particularly loved meeting and working with the students in our partner schools. I have met so many lovely students. They are the best. And it was a lovely surprise for me when they greeted me by saying “NIHAO” which means “hello” in Chinese. The children are happy in school and enjoy their learning. I can feel their passion for studying and their aspiration for knowledge.

I would also like to talk about my teacher colleagues from the UK and some ways in which Primary Education here is different to the Chinese system. In UK Primary schools, one teacher teaches all of the subjects in his/her class. They do all the teaching and preparation work, often by themselves. This is a huge challenge for the teachers, especially for the young teachers who are new to the profession. It not only requires a lot of time and energy, but also a very professional approach and very broad subject knowledge.

In the past three weeks, we have discussed many different aspects of Maths teaching, such as lesson structure、variation in exercises、writeboard design、methods of evaluation, and so on. These discussions have been similar to the Teaching Research Activity in Shanghai. We believe this exchange of knowledge, practice and ideas, will have a very beneficial effect on teaching both in the UK and in China.

The 29 members of our Shanghai team have worked very hard in the last 3 weeks. We have prepared the lessons every day, worked until midnight writing teaching plan and making PowerPoints for our Schools. Each lesson has been specially designed for English students. Although some of our teachers were ill for during the visit and sometimes felt very tired from all their hard work, it has all been a worthwhile and we are proud of the improvements that we have seen in the students’ Maths learning.

Now we are coming to the end of our exchange and we must say goodbye to this fascinating country. But that does not mean that all our work together is done. There is a lot more for us all to do. In the future, we will have more topics to discuss, and more projects to research together. In this information era, distance is no longer a problem and we can look forward to maintaining strong links with our UK partners.

This exchange will continue to be a wonderful and memorable experience for all of us. I will cherish the memory of my visit here as long as I live. I would like to thank everyone again. Thank you, UK. Thank you, China. Thank you, my friends, my family. Thank you so much.

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