Looking Back on School

Hello! The time has come for me to write a blog post about Chinese middle school. DISCLAIMER: I dunno. Read it. So, looking back. Day one. I walk into school, wondering if today is the day I get in or if they opt to wait until a full day can be arranged tomorrow.
And guess what? It’s my first day at school. And I’m terrified. I sit there, at the TA’s desk at the back, staring at the board. I hope to God or something that the teacher (Chinese as a native language, no less) doesn’t come over and realise that I’m not understanding a word of what’s being said.
Also, everyone is looking at me.
Afternoon. The same damn thing. Except everyone is older than me. Because guess what? I’m at the uni. So… the youngest is 16, the oldest 23. I am downright terrified. So I copy. After a while, the teacher walks over and (presumably) notices the astounding similarity between the work of me and that of the guy next to me.
Day two. It is half seven. I am brought up to the front of the class. I am introduced. There are audible sniggers from my classmates, probably meaning that “Victor-of-a-Military-Battle Mountain” is an unusual name. I am sent to the back again. Ah, a few people have stopped staring.
I decide to stop cheating at CFL (Chinese as a Foreign Language). Conscience: clear. Understanding: eh, probably under 10%. Oh boy, I have a long way to go. Fast forward a little. Day something-something-dark side. I have endured it. All of it.
I have sat through CFL tests, maths tests, English tests (:D) and lots of other sh*t like that. And I have done fine. Fine enough to regret leaving? NO! And yet… yes. The kids and teachers have been more than nice. However brutal the hours may have been, however tough the homework…
I will miss that school.

7 Responses to Looking Back on School

  1. Glad to hear your thoughts on your experience, and from what your proud mum has written, I think you have done amazingly!

  2. Zac – I knew your mum at university and now I live in Beijing. I’ve studied Chinese. My wife’s a teacher and had loads of mainland Chinese kids in her class in the UK – and heard about how lihai they were at maths. I think your mum was proper mad to put you in that school (I told her she was borderline insane but I was just being polite). I think that sticking it out for three months and doing it full on is fairly astounding. Hope you are enjoying Mongolia.

  3. Lovely post. Loved hearing about your school adventures. Well done for sticking it out. Look forward to hearing about Mongolia.

  4. Very succinct account of what it must have felt like, and affectionate too – an excellent post. Looking forward enormously to seeing you and mum in a month’s time and to hearing all about Mongolia.

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