Shandan Bailie School News

Our Shandan Bailie School Teacher’s Report 4 – Spring 2014

The following is Michelle Elia's fourth report on her work at Shandan Bailie School.  She will be 'doing' her second year there! Introduction "Spring has arrived!  The sun has also arrived and blessed Shandan with its warmth.  As a Pacific Island girl, I’m not sure if anyone knows the importance of this to me… But apparently here in the North West, a lot of people don’t … [Read more...]


The following is the  third report of Michelle Elia who is 'our' teacher at Shandan Bailie School (SBS):  Six months and I've made it and what’s even better is that it is officially springtime in China!  I actually survived the winter.  Although it’s still cooler than Spring in New Zealand (it’s 1°C as I’m writing this report), anything is warmer than the -20°C I … [Read more...]

Shandan Bailie School Diary – Our Teacher’s 2nd Report

The following is the second report from Michelle Elia, 'our' latest teacher at Shandan Bailie School. "It’s 9.12pm on December 4th, 2016, in Shandan.. and it’s -8°C.  But I still love the place! "I’ve been teaching here at SBS for about four months now and the same instant love I had for Shandan has blossomed. I have nothing negative to say about the wonderful place that I … [Read more...]

Michelle Elia starts teaching at Shandan Bailie School

Kia Ora! My name is Michelle Elia and I am Shandan Bailie School’s newest English Teacher for the 2016-2017 school year. Originally from Porirua in the Wellington region, I grew up in a Pacific Island household where my mother migrated from the Cook Islands and my father from Samoa at a young age. My cultural background is something I hold very dearly and I celebrate it every … [Read more...]

Remote school, with NZ ties, trains technicians

The following is a China Daily article written by Li Yang and Xue Chaohua, in Shandan, Gansu Province,  November 17, 2015.  Unique vocational studies combine classroom and practical instruction As the only foreigner working in Shandan, a remote county in Gansu province between the Gobi Desert and the Tibetan-Qinghai Plateau, Michael Forde occasionally feels isolated from his … [Read more...]

Nearing the end at SBS – May, 2015

It’s early June, and the Chinese school year is nearing it’s end. Senior students at SBS [Shandan Bailie School] have already sat their college-entry exams. They now have two months’ holiday while waiting for results.I will give my classes their final oral English exams before the end of the month. I’m keeping lessons entertaining, assisted by visitors from Australia, who … [Read more...]

Shandan in April, 2015

Shandan in April – spring has arrived!   The trees are in blossom, grass is cropping up wherever it can.It has been a month of weather contrast – starting with a full-on dust storm for 3 days.  Dust, not sand – so fine the air looks hazy but the particles can’t actually be felt as they are inhaled.   It was off the scale on the particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10 measurements, … [Read more...]

March 2015 – New School Term at Shandan Bailie School

The new semester for Shandan Bailie School started on Monday, 1 March, 2015, after a seven week break for Spring Festival and Chinese New Year.   Students appeared at school on the Sunday afternoon, then began collecting their new textbooks. I went to find my teaching schedule, but it was still being calculated – admin is not done in advance in China!  But next morning, 8am … [Read more...]

January 2015 in Shandan Bailie School

January is a short school month – the students sit exams in the second week, along with every other student in China.  After the exams most of them go home for the long Spring Holiday break – school starts again at the beginning of March.   Some students stay on for another 3-4 weeks of additional classes, to try to improve their all-important exam results. Many of the senior … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas from Shandan Bailie School!

Merry Christmas from Shandan Bailie School! We don't get Santa, but we do get snow! Shandan in December:  Classes continue uninterrupted throughout December, no Chinese public holidays this month.  Christmas is notable here only by its absence - no advertisements, no carols, no decorations, no shop-sales. Even the legend of Santa is not widely known - I sometimes use NZ … [Read more...]

A Day in the Life of Shandan Bailie School – November 2014

This month’s report describes a typical school day at Shandan Bailie School, as it’s so different from NZ.   The routine is standard - other schools in Shandan, and most of China, follow a very similar rhythm. The students arrive at school by 6.40am.  From 7am to 7.30 most of them have class-reading, or one class definitely has singing practice – I can hear their voices … [Read more...]