Thursday, September 17, 2009

School days

My Mandarin teacher is like a warrior. One who fights for comprehension. She thrusts her marker in the air and slices downward. When your intonation is wrong, she becomes more forceful with every marker stroke, eventually jumping and squatting.
The best thing about matriculating is your abilities, your efforts are measurable. I had forgotten the joy - and the ache - of grades and percentages and the pursuit of perfection.
It is like I never grew up and the first person that I want to tell my scores is, disturbingly, still my father. And when I get back that test that says I drew a single stroke wrong, from right to left, instead of left to right (how my teacher knew that remains a mystery), I am that girl with the headgear and the poodle perm and the leopard-print spandex pants who is squirming at her desk because she missed that 100% by a mark.
Mental note to latent childhood self: Hey. Remember that science or math exam that you stressed about? Yeah, neither do I. Oh and by the way, we got big. And we got boobs (thanks to a Taiwanese saleslady). So don't sweat the small stuff.
Good. I must remember that when my teacher looks at my 99% and tells the class that the mistake that I made was a stupid one.

1 comment:

  1. I love this one!! Very good points cleverly put. I can't believe your teacher is that meticulous. She sounds a little nuts, to be honest. I hope I am not like her when I teach. Though I admit I do strive for absolute comprehension from my students when I speak, so I tend to speak forcefully and with lots of wild hand gestures, sometimes going so far as mimicking the intonation of English language with my hands and flowing marker lines on the board.