Visitors

The pleasure I take in talking about our school never diminishes, whether I am defending it or presenting it to guests and visitors. I am always enthusiastic about the French Section, which is fortunate because we have a lot of guests at the moment. Over the coming days my PowerPoint skills will be put to the test, as I prepare to explain who we are and what we do to all of these visitors (in reality, I will be relying heavily on the talent of Nicolas Blanc, the undisputed PowerPoint champion of the French Section).

Asides from Ms Anne Genetet, a member of the French parliament, who visited the primary campus today, and author Kamel Daoud, who met with our Lycéens this morning, next week all of TES will be welcoming two inspectors from CIS. The week
after that, Mr Gilles Almosnino from the AEFE will come to Taiwan to sign the partnership agreement with TES, which I already wrote to you about here. I’m afraid none of our visitors will qualify for a Green Transport badge…

These visits provide us with an opportunity to proudly present all we do at our school, but more than that, they also allow us to give greater consideration to who we are at our core: a French school 10,000km from France. This rather particular situation puts us at the intersection of different interests and means that we are more than a regular, run-of-the-millschool.

Because we are a school that follows the French national curriculum, we represent a centre of interest for the French educational authorities who come to see us – to ensure that the students (and teachers!) are achieving what is expected of them and to share the latest best teaching practices.

Because we are a meeting place for the French community in Taiwan (190 of our students are French passport holders, and the French Section is one of the main employers of French people in Taiwan), we are also at the heart of consular and economic conversations; one of our missions being to support expat families working for French companies in Taiwan.

Because we have plenty of ‘local’ students in our school, we also play a strategic role in French geopolitics; one of the reasons France invests in schools abroad is to ensure that French language and culture are shared and loved around the world generation after generation. We call it ‘soft power’ – French schools abroad are an example of soft power at its friendliest.

These are the reasons why we regularly welcome prestigious and important guests and visitors to our school. But to be honest with you, I don’t talk to them about France’s economic position or soft power. I simply show them our ambitious projects, our innovative classroom spaces, and our excellent academic results. I tell them how proud we are to work in the French Section, how lucky we are to teach and learn with students, parents and colleagues who support us, believe in us and make us better. I tell them about our highlights, our hopes, our objectives, our plans for the future and our dreams.

The idea is for our visitors to take a bit of our school with them when they leave. Those of you who breathe life into the French Section everyday deserve to see your efforts recognised and spread!

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