Majordomo International School in Shanghai

By GAO Zhimiao

(ECNS)SHANGHAI — David Tidswell wakes up at 6:30 a.m. every day. Next, the vice principal of an international school in Shanghai’s Putuo district begins checking messages, attending online meetings, conducting research, arranging logistical support, and ensuring that foreign teachers who are currently working from home have sufficient supplies, among other things.

At 11:30 p.m., after finishing a busy day’s work, the deputy director will also discuss ways to improve teaching with the school’s foreign teachers. Tidswell, who remains on campus as it goes under closed management, said he has become even busier than usual.

“As guardians of the campus, we have maintained a positive attitude protecting the school from the virus. Having a strong sense of purpose is essential for teachers in normal times anyway, but vital for crisis situations like the ones we find ourselves in right now,” Tidswell said. ECNS in an exclusive interview.

David Tidswell (first from right) is in the school cafeteria. (Photo/Chinese Information Service)

Since Shanghai introduced online learning on March 12, Tidswell has remained on campus with his colleagues, providing logistical support to the nearly 200 teachers and students who have remained there. Their special work includes assisting with nucleic acid testing and antigen detection, disinfection, and policing.

Tidswell also serves as ‘majordomo’ for the school’s 27 foreign teachers. With the support of the school management, he also offers help to foreign teachers in difficulty and orders food for those in need, like his fellow Chinese directors. Many foreign teachers, in turn, have also become involved in volunteering in their communities.

“All of our teachers are united in the goal of helping wherever they can. Some have been given permission to contribute and it’s great to see overseas and Chinese staff supporting the effort to get supplies and food to people. who need it most,” Tidswell said.

Tidswell often tours the school building, dormitory, and cafeteria, giving him peace of mind at a time when the campus is under closed management. He is also involved in the school’s mentorship program, which reaches out to students, guides their home study, and takes care of their lives and mental health.

“We are very concerned about the physical and emotional health of students and our teachers are making sure to pay attention to their words, spending more time before and after class talking to students and their parents. Our teachers understand that a few kind words can have a huge effect on a student’s outlook and determination to work harder and smarter,” he said.

In addition to ensuring the quality and quantity of education during pandemic prevention and control, another special role for Tidswell is to provide “logistical support” for the campus.

“I feel quite lucky to be able to spend time in the kitchen with my colleagues and kitchen workers preparing the vegetables, and they taught us the most basic tasks, like peeling the peas. But more importantly, they show us that even simple actions, like sitting down and working together, can create and rebuild our community. It is a great achievement that stems from teamwork.

David Tidswell prepares beans with his colleagues (Provided by interviewee)

David Tidswell prepares beans with his colleagues (Provided by interviewee)

What has affected Tidswell the most since the school went under closed management, he said, is how small he feels when he sees the scene of school staff through his window. delivering supplies, and doing disinfection and cleaning, “We have all seen the difficulties faced by cleaners, guards, delivery drivers and support staff all over Shanghai. They made enormous sacrifices for the good of all.

“We are committed to saying hello to our students face to face, reinforcing their learning and helping them to “thrive” again. Tidswell said, “I believe the school and Shanghai will overcome these temporary setbacks, learn together, and create a better future for everyone with new ideas and knowledge.”

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