WZIS is known for its tight-knit community. Visitors to the school regularly comment on the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. A large part of this is due to the strong relationships enjoyed between members of staff. One of the benefits of being a small school is we regularly see each other throughout the day. All staff eat together at lunch and the new school café also facilitates regular gatherings. Outside of school there are regular social events and teachers regularly gather both inside and outside of their homes. Weekly studies help strengthen these bonds and most staff members are part of our international fellowship that meets every Sunday.
The school day is relatively long (8:15-17:00) but there are plenty of breaks throughout the week. There is a good balance between contact and non-contact time, allowing teachers the space they need to prepare classes, mark books, and organize additional events. This means that it is generally possible to leave school at 17:00 without any work to do at the evenings of weekends. Many teachers also organize additional extracurricular activities and several times throughout the year teachers accompany students on local, national, and international field trips.
There are two major vacations throughout the school year; one over Chinese New Year, and one over summer. Teachers typically go back to their home countries for one of these vacations, and travel in the other. Families may choose to stay in Weihai and make the most of the local beaches and consistently hot summer weather. Younger teachers without children often arrange extensive international trips visiting nearby countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, and South Korea.
WZIS continues to expand its professional development provision every year. Less experienced teachers are assigned a mentor and are observed several times a semester. All teachers, regardless of experience are assigned a line manager who will observe them at least twice a year and carry out an annual appraisal process. During our teacher orientation weeks we offer training sessions and in the 2017-18 year we are looking to bring in an outside facilitator to run some of these sessions. Annual conferences are offered for teachers who have served for a minimum of two years. We work with ISC, ACSI and EARCOS to offer conference opportunities for teachers and school leaders. TEFL training is also given for teachers with little or not experience working with English Language Learners (ELL).
WZIS offers a competitive salary and benefits package. The salary is well in excess of the local average and is based upon relevant experience, training, and responsibility.
The benefits package includes:
For families we also offer:
My wife and I have lived in Weihai for 3 months now. Moving here was our first time ever travelling outside of the US. The city itself is clean, and the pollution is not noticeable on the average day. The neighborhood where most of our teachers live is in a beautiful location. From my building, the ocean is 6 blocks away, a standard grocery store is about 3 blocks away, and an athletic park with a large walking track, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, one “turf” soccer field, and badminton courts is less than 1 mile away. The courts are resurfaced every year, so my wife and I have loved playing tennis on newly surfaced courts and have even met some of our students there to play a Saturday morning doubles match! There are also outdoor exercise parks, a dry cleaner/tailor, several affordable and tasty restaurants, a few pharmacies, and a few cafes all within walking distance of our apartment. For those things that are outside of walking distance, the public transportation here is extremely cheap (bus – 1 RMB; taxi starts at 7 RMB). Our teachers feel very safe, even when walking alone at night. One of the greatest challenges we have faced is that almost nobody outside of our ZKIS staff speaks any English. However, once we learned how to count, to give basic directions, and to say “this” in Chinese while pointing at what we want, we have gotten along just fine. One of our favorite things about Weihai is the cheap, fresh produce. Every Saturday, I buy about 25 lbs of fresh vegetables and fruits from a local farmers’ market and only spend around 40-50 RMB (under $10 USD!).
We feel very blessed to be a part of such a tight-knit community of faculty and staff at WZIS. Because of our commonality in worldview, we have found it very easy to make new friends among the WZIS staff. We truly feel like we have joined a family of individuals who are trying to grow both professionally and personally, together. We do not have formal training in education, yet our superiors and colleagues have been very supportive in helping us transition into our roles as teachers in the school. We are encouraged to integrate our worldview into our lessons when possible, which is a unique opportunity to offer such holistic education to our students. One other aspect that we appreciate about the Zhongshi staff is the spectrum of ages and experience represented. There are many recent college graduates among the faculty, but there are also seasoned veterans who have been in the profession for more than a decade. Wherever you are in your teaching career, Zhongshi is a great place to be!