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He Shirong: A dedicated educator

He Shirong, principal of Beijing Jinsong Vocational School Photos: Billie Feng

“I didn’t want to work as a teacher to start with, but now I feel a great sense of achievement to have spent my whole work life in this school,” said He Shirong, principal of Beijing Jinsong Vocational School.

Selfless dedication

He Shirong graduated from high school in 1974 and received teacher’s training for one year. She started working as a teacher in an ordinary middle school in 1976 when she was only 20 years old. “Most of the students in that school didn’t have good academic records, so we opened some vocational training courses to make it easier for them to find jobs after graduation,” she said.
In the 1980s, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission decided to expand vocational education. Beijing Jinsong Vocational School was established as part of that move in 1983. Owing to her hard work, He Shirong was chosen to teach in the new school. “I wanted to quit teaching at that time. I studied English so I wanted to work in an enterprise where I could further improve my English,” she said.

In fact, she did get a job offer from a state-owned enterprise when she was about to be transferred to Beijing Jinsong Vocational School. The enterprise promised to send her to Hong Kong for training, after which she could be involved in training work around the world. At that time, not many people had the opportunity to work abroad, but the then director of the Bureau of Education wouldn’t let her leave. The former principal of the school promised to let her go in three years, so she agreed to stay. She taught English but was also asked to do some administrative work because of lack of staff. “I was reluctant to take any administrative role because I thought I would eventually end up leaving,” she said.

Three year later, she talked to the former principal about leaving, but he refused to keep his word and became very angry. She said she couldn’t think of any way to lessen his anger except for giving up the idea of leaving. Considering she just had her baby at that time, her husband also suggested her to continue her work at the school. “I felt so sorry to the enterprise because they kept the position for me for three years,” she said.


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