Tsinghua International School (THIS) is a school where discovery, collaboration, Spartan spirit, and engagement are valued. Though the school has been in existence for only seven years, what sets this school apart is its community, cool teachers, and the amiable students of this close-knit school in our big city.
Walking down the hallway of THIS, students greet teachers and teachers greet them. Everyone is included; every face that appears in the hallway will seem familiar. When new members join the THIS family, whether they are students or a teachers, everyone will attempt to include those who are new. Though THIS is a small school with approximately 200 students and 40 staff members, throughout the years the community has become tighter and its members have gotten closer.
Teachers are the motivators who keep students feeling alive. Though our teachers give students tons of homework, they seem much more approachable than our parents. In class, they always make jokes and faces to lighten students’ moods. Outside of class, teachers hang out with the students whether they’re engaging in a conversation or competing against each other in a sports game. The physics teacher competes against the high school boys in basketball while the math teacher engages in a passionate conversation about calculus with AP students. The biology teacher talks to everyone in the hallway asking whether they finished their homework. When girls are caught procrastinating on homework while going nuts over a Korean celebrity, what’s most amazing is the teachers who are able to jump into the conversation!
If teachers are the backbone of the THIS family, the students also strive to make our community stronger. Female students value friendship tremendously. Whether it’s going to lunch together, class, the bus, or bathroom, girls will always have a friend accompanying them. On the other hand, the guys are independent, humorous, and sporty. There are always guys shooting hoops on the court or mocking each other in the classroom. The more they joke, the tighter friendships become. The girls and the boys are close too. We get a long so well that there’s little distinction between the genders.
“I think that the most defining trait of THIS is that it is a very tightly-knit community. There’s ample time and enough camaraderie between teachers and students so that they see each other not as superiors and inferiors, but as more-experienced and less-experienced individuals,” says Yihua Zhang, Grade 11 student.
“The teachers cater not only to the students’ academic needs, but are great for conversations. They have advised students on things like how to make the best chili, or have told us random stories like the things they’ve done while bored on English potato farms. These are friendships that last beyond high school. This special relationship fosters respect, and it is this closeness of respect which pushes students to try hard,” she adds.
Undoubtedly, no matter where we end up in the future, we’ll never forget the memorable times we’ve spent together at THIS – our small school in a gigantic Beijing.
Photos: Courtesy of Jing Wen
Jing Wen is a junior at Tsinghua International School. She writes for the school’s newspaper, the Spartan Times, and considers herself an expert at swimming and badminton. Jing hopes to tell the world more about Tsinghua International School and of her life in Beijing.
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