An Unforgettable Teacher
November 12, 2015
Standing out of the Grade 10 classroom, I was hesitant if I should walk in.
“The desk at the last row is yours.” After pointing out a seat perfunctorily to me, the class teacher turned round and walked away, leaving me standing there like a fool.
I could hear the noise drifting from the classroom. Some students passed and looked at me curiously. Taking a deep breath, tidying up my uniform, I crawled into the classroom. The noise suddenly stopped dramatically. Everyone stared at me as if I were an alien. I could feel their steady gaze; I could hear their whispers, “ Who is that girl?” Bowing my head, I sped up my steps to my seat, which was placed at the corner of the classroom—isolated as a lonely island.
I didn't say a word that morning. Nobody talked to me, and I didn't talk to anybody. I just sat there, even rarely raising my head from the book ( even though I wasn't reading one word). I couldn't understand what the teacher said during the classes because I had missed three weeks of school before I transferred to this new one. My class teacher, a cold-faced middle-aged woman, made me nervous. All of the strange faces made me frustrated. I missed my previous high school and my classmates. I wanted to run away.
“Hello, how are you? I am Mr. Wu, your trainee teacher for the next three months. Welcome to my class. May I know your name? ” A friendly voice suddently interrupted my nonsense. I looked up and found a young man standing in front of me. He was wearing a white shirt with a black bow tie, his hair combed neatly. I could see my image through his clear eyes. He looked at me kindly and patiently. I knew he was waiting for my response. I could see the encouragement from his eyes.
“Yan,” I replied quietly.
“Nice to meet you, Yan!” he grinned at me like a big boy. His vigour influenced me. All the depression that was bothering me disappeared abruptly. I felt sunshine bursting from inside of me.
My new school life didn't start successfully. Three weeks missing school made me miss a lot, especially in Physics and Chemistry. Waiting for the bus at the bus station, with an unpassed chemistry test paper ( failed again) in my backpack, I stood helplessly in the rain. I had left my unmbrella behind in the classroom because I was so upset at the ridiculous score I got that I couldn't remember anything else. The sky was gray, just like my mood. I wanted to cry. Suddenly, the rain didn't drop on me anymore. I raised my head. Mr. Wu was standing beside me and covering me with his umbrella.
“You look like a child who lost her way home,” he smiled.
I felt ashamed.
“Follow me.” A bus drove into the station. I was confused. It wasn't my bus to go home, but I still followed him.
Finally, we stood in front of an university---East China Normal University, in which Mr. Wu was studying.
The gate was grand with two pillars on each side. There was a wide road leading to the depth of the campus. On both sides of the main road there were big lawns. The grass looked so fresh in the drizzle. A three-floor white Romanesque building stood quietly with chinars around it. “You will see many students sitting on the lawns in front of this building on sunny days,” Mr. Wu said.
We took a walk along the main road and passed a bridge. There was a small island on the river with a pagoda at the centre. A girl was sitting in the pagoda and reading a book. The drizzle rippled on the surface of the river. Long branches of willows were swaying in the breeze. Through the bridge, there was a woods. A row of single-storey red- brick building was hiding there. A melodious rhythm of piano came through the window.
I was speechless. Everything was so beautiful and peaceful. I never knew a campus could be impressive like this. I wanted to study in this beautiful university. However, how could it happen with my terrible mark. I felt frustrated again.
Mr. Wu seemed to know what I was thinking. He started to tell me his story. He came from a small village in the North of China. “ Do you know how hard it is for me to get a chance to come to Shanghai to study?” he said. He studied hard in high school and got the highest mark in the final university-entrance exam in his province, and he was the only one from his province that got the chance to study in this university.
“Do you know how lucky you are? You were born in the big city. You have many more chances than other students from other cities. ( It sounds unfair, but it's true.) Never doubt yourself. Have courage, be confident, and work harder. You will be one of the students at this amazing campus,” Mr. Wu encouraged me.
“Yes, I will make the dream come true,” I promised.
After that day, Mr. Wu spent all of his spare time coaching me. In the next two months, he was delighted to see my improvement. Then he went back to his university to keep studying since he had finished his three-month practicum in my high school. We still kept in touch by mail (internet was not popular at that time). He comforted and encouraged me every time I lost my confidence.
He went back to the province he came from and became a teacher after he graduated from the university. We lost touch with each other. However, his patience, kindness and encouragement were already buried deep in my heart. I worked harder and harder, and finally my dream came true: I became the student of East China Normal University. I recalled Mr. Wu frequently every time I walked in the campus. I wouldn't be here without his help and encouragement. I promised to myself if someday I became a teacher, I would be nice and helpful to my students, just like him. And I did.