It was 5 a. m. when I woke up, all covered with a horrible feeling of anxiety. I laid in the bed and felt like my heart was escaping from the chest. There was a clear day outside the window, but the absence of sun made it gloomy and grey. Suddenly, the flow of emotions flooded me and I started to cry.
We were moving from Qingdao to Suzhou and I had transferred to an experimental primary school for third grade. Studying in that school was a quite good experience for me. In fact, it taught me to be more serious and ready for the fierce competition from the very young age.
I was desperately waiting for the day I would come to the new school. At the same time, feeling of both joy and anxiety accompanied me all day. I was thrilled with the new life, which the school personified for me. From the first glance, I was impressed with the look of the school campus. The elegance of environment reminded me rather lush gardens of some expensive resort than school area. Moreover, school buildings were performed in lovely tones – they were like neat cottages situated in exotic surroundings. A profusion of wild vegetation around only added charm to the whole picture. The sound of water in a crystal clear fountain in tandem with light wind gusts created melodic music of nature. The spacious lobby was lighted by the windows of the two towers, and thus nothing could hide from the sun’s rays. Compared to my previous school, Suzhou’s one was extremely beautiful place that could be hardly taken as school. For me, it was akin to oasis where I was eager to spend all my time.
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Nevertheless, great first impression of the school building and surroundings later unexpectedly turned into a nightmare for me. I was sitting in the classroom among other twenty nine pupils. A Chinese teacher, ChenLan, called my name and the name of the other boy and we stood up. I remember as my heart was beating rapidly, and as it was my first day, I did not know what to expect. The teacher told me and my classmate to rewrite our homework. Moreover, our grades on the assessment were not satisfactory. Although the teacher only informed us about our blunders, the deep feeling of sadness overwhelmed me and I was too ashamed to stand there. It seemed to me that the shirt collar gradually began to become narrower and narrower as if trying to strangle me. I remember how hard it was for me to face the public censure. All pupils in the classroom were watching me and certainly thinking how lazy and stupid I was. At least, I thought that they were estimating me.
At that time, I knew nothing about LiMing, the boy who stood next to me. Regarding his poor academic performance, he had not so good reputation in the class. Thus, the boy became an outlaw only due to his bad grades and low score in the ranking. Standing near LiMing, I felt myself guilty in some kind of horrible crime. Nevertheless, I could not even imagine that it was only beginning of my nightmares in Suzhou’s school.
The following day, ChenLan divided the whole class in six groups in order to conduct the discussion. Each group had a leader that could select one person to be a reporter on the discourse. All the leaders were sitting separately while rest of students could find places for themselves within the class. It is obvious that, I have not been honored to test myself as a leader. I asked whether or not I could join one of the group which leader was a girl named Shasha. She had a sweet southern accent, which prepossessed people. Shasha looked at me barely squeezing a smile, and said, “Oh, sorry, dear. I think our friends are coming and there is no space out there”. In a minute, she gestured to another girl telling her, “Hey, Lu, I saved the space for you”. That situation knocked me out of the way. Although Shasha could not be blamed for anything, but continuous rejection and even hidden neglect of classmates greatly embarrassed me. Thus, I found out that I was unpopular among the classmates as well as LiMing.
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The situation that took place in the gym class completely proved my assumption. During the lesson, the class was provided with an opportunity to use the free time for games. Thus, we played a game called “Blind man and an elephant”. It was a pretty interesting game – one player had to close his or her eyes and start countdown while the rest pupils moved like elephants until he or she ended the countdown. Then, all players had to stand still as they were frozen. Being an elephant in this game, I was frozen when I heard the “blind man” ended the countdown. Nevertheless, I saw that Shasha kept moving that violated the rules of the game. I felt that I need to make a comment because her behavior was inappropriate. When I said Shasha about her violation of rules, she fiercely looked at me and kept walking. The girl did not talk to me, but she asked other students whether or not they want to play with me, and they answered negatively. That event on the school yard impacted me greatly because it proved me to be an outlaw in the class the same as LiMing was. I felt that nobody valued my feelings and that thought affected me even stronger than classmates’ attitude towards me. Running away from the playground, I desperately wanted to hide tears that almost froze in my eyes. Thus, I attempted to comprehend such behavior of my classmates but experienced insult gradually overshadowed my mind.
Eventually, I understood that such attitude was caused by my poor academic performance. Thereby, class division regarding the scores impacted not only pupil’s progress, but put a stigma on a person. It was really hard to understand why my classmates were guided by such logic. Moreover, student’s character, as well as his/her qualities, was not taken into consideration. In addition, pupils’ parents taught their children to be good students that also found its reflection in the relations with others.
The atmosphere at school made my life hard enough. The burden I felt every day in the classroom promoted me to be afraid of establishing eye contact with other people. Sitting in the classroom among others, I felt myself on the desert island. I supposed that there was no more depressed and stressed person in the whole world. To be honest, I was afraid of school, and those fears influenced my sleep. Thus, I was waking up in a panic in the middle of the night because of disturbing dreams about the school. Once, I said my granny that I felt myself an outlaw in the new school. I asked her to call the teacher in order to say that I was ill. Grandmother tried to find out what was wrong and I told her that I did not want to go to school. Honestly, I felt uncomfortable to tell granny the truth in order not to upset her. In addition, I was also ashamed with my position within the class and did not want my grandmother to know about it.
When I came back to school, ChenLan, my class teacher, wanted to talk to my parents. Waiting them outside the cabinet, I was preparing myself for the difficult conversation. However, being very angry, my mother did not answer my questions about the theme of her talk with the class teacher. Then, I moved to Beijing, and that region was left far away in my past.
I did not receive the answer from my mother concerning that conversation till present days. She only told me that ChenLan showed her a picture where I was chewing my finger. The class teacher recommended passing an intelligence test for me. Nevertheless, my mother was not agreeing to everything that teacher said like obedient parents of other students did. She argued that it was an invasion of privacy and she could sue the teacher for what she did. ChenLan stayed speechless because my mother did not correspond with tractable kind of parents, as well as students in Suzhou.
Many years have passed after my studying in Suzhou’s school. I have visited it once out of my curiosity. Wandering near the school gate, I saw ChenLan guiding her new class. The teacher held a board in her hands with the inscription “Class 2 Grade 3” – the class where I was during my studying in that school. I was looking at ChenLan for a long time; I knew it was almost impossible for her to remember me.
Therefore, studying in Suzhou’s school was a pretty good life lesson for me. Gained experience helped me greatly in my further life. It taught me to be strong and stable despite opinions and attitude of other people. At the same time, the reaction of my mother to the words of the class teacher helped me to feel my significance and importance. Moreover, I began to be even more proud of my mother who supported me no matter what happened. Thus, just a thought of native people matters in our lives.