In the Gregory’s office of, the principal of the Yiwu Oujing International Kindergarten, the first thing you see will be the four words hung on the wall—-accelerate knowledge and transform them into your treasure. “Knowledge is treasure. Learning is very important.” This is what Gregory hopes his students could understand and his original intention of teaching.
Gregory, from the United States, has been engaged in education for 8 years. After his arrival in Yiwu in 2016, he was completely fascinated with Chinese traditional culture. He not only read a lot of books about China, but also invited tutors to teach him Chinese. And recently he began to study the Chinese tea ceremony. In his view, only by constantly learning and understanding China culture can education in Yiwu move to international.
“Job hopping” to Yiwu for new opportunities
In 2008, Gregory, a university student in his hometown of Detroit, often took part-time jobs during holidays to ease economic pressure. Receiving foreign students in the summer camp is his favorite job. “I teach them authentic English, and they share their stories with me.” In 2010, after receiving an invitation from an international kindergarten in Seoul, South Korea, he left Detroit without hesitation.
Gregory majored in philosophy and economic management and had no advantages in working as a foreign teacher. With strong interest and efforts, he made rapid progress in his professional ability and got promoted. “I love communicating with children and help them with their study and growth. I am enjoying it,” said Gregory.
As the second largest economy in the world, China attracts the attention of many foreign teachers. After Gregory’s idea of leaving Korea, he set China as an ideal country for seeking a dream and starting his career. Gregory has been invited by many Chinese cities. But after comparisons, he chose Yiwu, a city with unlimited vitality.
In August 2016, the first time he came to Yiwu, Gregory felt that he had chosen the right one. “This is very modern, and afforest here is also good, which is quite suitable for living. It’s my dream city.”
Innovative takeover of this international kindergarten
In Gregory’s view, Yiwu is a vibrant city. “Everyone is working very hard. I like this positive atmosphere.”
“Diligent, learning, upright, brave, honest and tolerant.” Though he did not understand much about the essence of Yiwu’s spirit, Gregory adhered to it. He felt pressure to take over Oujing International Kindergarten in Yiwu.
Oujing International Kindergarten is a young school with more than 490 students from more than 10 different countries, such as Europe, America, Japan, South Korea, Middle East and other countries. It has high requirements for the teacher’s team and curriculum design. Gregory devoted himself to his work. After work, he also had to pick up time to contact foreign teachers from different countries and invite them to work in Yiwu. It’s common for him to work overnight.
“We should have more feelings and patience to better international education.” Through his efforts, the kindergarten has recruited more than 30 high-qualified foreign teachers, and set up an excellent expert team.
Docking with advanced international education concept
In recent years, Yiwu has actively introduced in advanced international education ideas and carried out educational exchanges and cooperation, making competition between schools inevitable, which also inspired Gregory to innovate and design more quality courses. He often goes into class for observation, exchanges experience with front-line teachers, and collects various good ideas about curriculum design. “Engaging in international education, you should not solidify your mind, and keep an open mind.” This is Gregory’s theory.
“There are differences between the concepts of Chinese and Western teaching, but each has its own advantages. They can absorb and learn from each other.” After work, Gregory invited Chinese teachers to teach him and he would study hard to understand Chinese culture. He believes that opening an international school in Yiwu cannot copy the mature curriculum system of the west but to adjust to local conditions instead and integrate diverse cultures scientifically. In curriculum design, Gregory will also integrate many interesting and sharing games. For example, in cooking class, the teacher and the children make biscuits together, getting familiar with the common words and learning dining etiquette; in math class, the teacher writes the answer on the gift and rewarded to the correct child.
Now, Oujing International Kindergarten has entered a critical period of development. Gregory likes such challenging work. “It’s an amazing thing,” said Gregory. He said that he would put more enthusiasm and energy to build a better school in the future, and contribute to the development of high level international education in Yiwu.