Gerhard Opperman

English Teacher of the Year 2018 – 2019

HiredinChina is proud to announce that Gerhard Opperman is ‘English Teacher of the Year’  2018-2019 after his successful placement in Hangzhou, teaching ESL and IB to Kindergarten students. Gerhard came from a difficult upbringing and has grown to be a fantastic teacher here in China. Read the page to learn Gerhard’s full story.

Gerhard Opperman Teacher of the Year 2018 to 2019-2

K3 Graduation

Gerhard Opperman stands confidently as he presents the K3 Graduation Ceremony to hundreds of parents and children.

The Story

Growing up in central Johannesburg, Gerhard experienced hardship throughout his youth. Young gang violence, burglary and shootings were often stories Gerhard would talk to his family about at dinner time. With a strong family presence, Gerhard noted that “my family allowed me to be in a supportive environment and distracted me from the negative behaviour outside of my community. I’m glad I had a supportive environment and a loving family that, and I believe that lead my positive decisions.”

Throughout his childhood, Gerhard knew education can change peoples lives, and he saw that with many of his peers. He surrounded himself with his friends and those who worked hard in school, and slowly saw his group of friends drift away from others. With a perspective influenced by his environment, Gerhard knew early on that he wanted to become a teacher, supporting those who needed the opportunity to become educated the most. Gerhard believed this was his way of giving back to society and benefitting others.

As Gerhard was choosing the path he would take through university, he noted that

“I was thinking about all those that needed the encouragement to continue education. I enjoyed biology, and thought what better way to give back, that to get a bachelor’s in education in Biology.”

Gerhard progressed through university and successfully obtained his bachelor’s in education in Biology. He was thrilled about starting his career but pondered over the thought that there could be those who need his help more.

Gerhard’s 2018-2019 Academic Year

After seeking council from his family Gerhard moved himself to China to teach English as a Second Language to young learners. Taking his perspective that he wants to benefit society the most, Gerhard moved to a small town called Xiaoshan in Hangzhou to teach Kindergarten students. He commented on this:


“Moving from teaching Biology to University students, to IB English to Kindergartners was tough and came with many challenges. I am glad I partook in the role, as I felt it was my calling. I’m very grateful for the support provided by my colleagues, as without them I wouldn’t be half the teacher I am today”

Teacher of the Year

HiredinChina met Gerhard in person after hearing about his story from his colleague Martin. Touched by his difficult story and impressed by the value he has added to his Kindergarten, we wanted to honour Gerhard with Teacher of the Year 2018-2019. Here’s some of the things Gerhard has done whilst teaching at his Kindergarten:

  1. Became the Director of Studies within the first three months, supporting his colleagues with questions about IB and English as a Second Language.
  2. Spokesperson for K3 Graduation
  3. One-to-One Counselling for teachers
  4. After school support for students who were struggling with English Language Learning

Colleague Martin's Comments

“I was new to Hangzhou, and to IB Teaching. Gerhard and I instantly became friends and he has been there for me ever since. Gerhard offered me a lot of support in areas he struggled with himself, and we’ve spent many evenings going through the IB literature to discuss how we can add the most value to our students. Gerhard offered a lot of support and I am forever thankful.”

HiredinChina's Final Thoughts

HiredinChina would like to congratulate Gerhard and wish him all the best for his continued journey as a teacher. As an organisation that places teachers into schools, we’re extremely happy to hear success stories like this, and this is why we exist as an organisation.

Congratulations Gerhard and Good Luck with your Future,

The HiredinChina Team

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Gerhard Opperman Teacher of the Year 2018 to 2019

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