Days ago, felt have not accomplished anything substantial this semester.
Today, feel like cannot accomplish any more after that remarkable thing has happened.
It began with the continuation of our Proficiency oral test yesterday, which we are required to perform either a news-reading or talk-show sketch. Did self’s news-reading sketch in the first part last week. Despite some having performed theirs last week, attendance was almost full with the promise of the pizza lunch Ms E will treat.
After the oral test, while waiting for some classmates to bring the pizzas, others waited in the room along with Ms E. She brought along some delicious cheesecakes and another cake with nuts and chocolate chip. She also brought a bunch of carnations simply wrapped in paper and placed them in a vase. Which was really odd now that self think about it, but never having been in the situation am going to describe soon, self shrugged off Ms E’s “I like to have flowers when I eat” reasoning.
After bloated stomachs and burping mouths, Ms E made us answer some innocuous questions, like what we found interesting and challenging throughout our Proficiency class this semester, which we duly answered with enthusiasm.
Next, she asked who was the easiest to love in our class of twenty odd. There were a few popular names, and to self’s surprise, someone mentioned self. That’s nice, seeing as we weren’t particularly close but we sat next to each other in Proficiency. Again we answered without hesitating and with equal enthusiasm.
Then, Ms E placed the vase of carnations at the middle of the table, along with some thank-you cards. Naturally, was assuming that she wrote something for each of us. But instead, she asked us to answer her final question: who was the hardest to love in our class? Everyone in the room was supposed to come up to the table, give a name and reason, then pick a carnation and a thank-you card (to be written a message) to give to the named person. She wanted to have this intervention session because she has noticed the segregation in the class and felt that it was breaking the whole class apart.
Am pretty sure everyone was shocked when she told us what she wanted us to do because it’s extremely Asian not to talk bad in front of the person. Which is awful really, because then we talk behind that person, and that’s worse, isn’t it?
At the beginning, classmates mentioned people who were not present at the lunch, so it was quite impersonal and detached. Soon, people began to name names of people who were present, and as said before, being in a class of 90% girls, besides lots of bitching and conflicts, water works are very much in abundant too. Suffice to say by the end of the intervention session, there was not one dry eye in the room, not even Ms E’s.
Before self’s turn, was contemplating to lie and give some name just for the sake of doing it. But then decided to tell the truth and of course, it was Miss Ick. Thankfully, self did not lose composure; self was very detached when self reasoned why self chose Miss Ick, looking at Miss Ick in the eye as self spoke.
As there were some popular names when we were asked who was the easiest to love, this question also had some popular names, Miss Ick being one of them and Miss Baby. Self’s name was mentioned too, but it was more of a case of how she felt like she couldn’t approach self and that was why self was the hardest person for her to love in the class.
It was a very emotional event, some more than others. Self suspected that the classmate’s blog had triggered Ms E to hold this intervention, as she reads that blog. After everyone spoke, Ms E said that if this was painful for us, it was just as painful for her, as she saw the change day by day throughout the semester from the other side of the classroom. She saw people rolling their eyes or making snide remarks when someone they disliked was speaking. She saw how everyone always sat at the same place with the same people. Despite her tries to make us mingle more with other classmates, like separating us in groups for class exercises or gathering us in a circle Alcoholics Anonymous style, the bad blood remained. It became bad not only for us, but for her as well. She felt like she had failed as an educator and did not enjoy coming to class at times.
She said that she wished not to have ended our class this way. But felt that if class had not ended this way, it wouldn’t have been such a special class for every one of us (present) now. After she officially ended the intervention, everyone started going around, making teary apologies and hugging and laughing. Miss Ick came over and hugged self so tight self couldn’t hear her speak.
S: … can’t hear what you’re saying!
She said she was sorry. Actually, she said a lot of things but can’t remember now. She said something about missing self. And that she liked self’s skirts. And then we talked shop for a bit. Was trying to kick the habit of not looking at her in the eye because have to remind self that we’re friends again now.
Then Ms E came around so we hugged. Thanked her for doing this.
S: Because we needed it. We wouldn’t have done anything if you didn’t.
This went on for nearly half an hour, of reconciling and laughing and joking and crying some more.
The whole intervention was like something out of a Hallmark movie. It is impossible to have witnessed it, even as an outsider, and not get teary. It was an almost surreal experience, because self could not imagine before now that a teacher would go through so much for us, would invest so much of her heart in her students.
This is the most memorable semester for self. For us.