Shengliver’s Note: The teen writer reminisces about his middle school English teacher.


Mr Liu was my middle school English teacher. He was not as active in his class as you are in yours, Shengliver. Mr Liu, born with a poke face, was dead serious and strict. Being one of the school leaders, he was so forbidding that once he made an appearance in the classroom we had no choice but to stop our job in hand and to start studying English. Sometimes we pretended to.


Therefore I ended up with better English grades than maths ones. The reason was simple and clear: I spent more time on English than on maths. Every day our homework for the lunch break was English. If you did not get it done, then you would find yourself in trouble in the afternoon. Mr Liu might abuse you. Of course, whether you would have to go and stand outside the classroom depended, to a large measure, on what impression Mr Liu had of you. Therefore you’d go out of your way to appear meek and guilty when Mr Liu was giving you a dirty look.


Mr Liu’s spoken English was interesting. When he pronounced the sound “d”, he said “der”. Besides, he asked us on a daily basis, “Where is wrong?” As a result I did not think he was good at English. At times, I did not agree with his explanations because what he said disagreed with what I read in the grammar. When it happened, I would air my views and contradict him in the presence of the whole class. Our heated argument could last well up to the moment when the bell rang out the class.


However, Mr Liu had something in common with you, Shengliver. He had a bad memory. He would often forget your name even though he had asked you what your name was a minute before. He gave us much free time to learn by ourselves. That’s where I agreed with him.


Over the years I have met teachers of English of all flavours, but my attitude to the language should not change.

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