2020-04-26
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Editor's note: Under the theme of "SCNU & ME", the English Writing Contest has collected over 320 articles from 30 schools and colleges (see results). This column is specially dedicated to the award-winning works.

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By Xu yi

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I entered South China Normal University in 2018, but my story with South China Normal University began in 1981.

In 1981, my grandmother was admitted to South China Normal University as a political student. I am very familiar with the motto of South China Normal University—"foster the spirit of working hard and be a model of virtue for others. ", for having heard my grandmother’s story many times. Owing to her impoverished family condition, she struggled to further study after working for years as a primary school teacher, when she has already had children. It was a toilsome time that she tried every means to balance work, study and family. To be a responsible teacher, she usually visited the parents of her students after class, after which she would prepare lessons till midnight. However, teachers had a low income at that time, since the government paid more attention on industry and agriculture. Nevertheless, my grandmother always says, she enjoys being a teacher and lifelong learning does matter a lot to teachers, regardless of how tough life is.

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Influenced by my grandmother, I have been dreaming to become a qualified teacher since I was a child. Luckily, I passed the university entrance exam, taking one small step to fulfill my ambition. Knowing that, my grandmother was overwhelming with joy. She said: “Teaching is much easier than it used to be, with modern teaching aids. But remember, always work hard, and you still have a long way to go to be a model teacher.” Archaic words again, I thought to myself, everything has changed, so maybe we do not need struggle so hard.

I didn’t really come to realize the real meaning of “foster the spirit of working hard” until I did voluntary teaching in a remote village in Huazhou, Guangdong, where about a 9-hour drive from South China Normal University.

The living condition there is even scantier than I expected. The children wore over-size slippers instead of comfortable sneakers, and they even had no schoolbags to pack up textbooks. We made a bed on the floor in an empty classroom, shared only four dishes with more than ten people. What’s worse, there were many mosquitoes and other unknown insects attacking me all the day. One of my eyes was even bit by a certain insect, and was swollen for a week. However, I cherished every chance to stand on the platform, and I had to be responsible to them. I prepared my lessons with my ill eyes, modified the teaching plan to arrange every links to the best. When I found it difficult to attract students’ attention without multimedia, my grandmother’s words came across my mind. She once said, there was no modern technology at her time, all she could do were be improving teaching manner, paying attention to body language, and organizing her writing on the blackboard in a more beautiful and logical way. It made me so enlightened of a sudden that I got some photocopies from  an old-fashioned manual printer, went to the classroom when the preceding lesson was just finished and made necessary preparations on the blackboard. 

All my efforts paid off, when a student wrote in class dairy that he would carry forward and further develop the spirit of environment protection after my green craft class. It really gave me a sense of achievement that my students were benefiting from my lessons as they grasp something new or important.From then on, I know we work hard in order to make the world a better place, by teaching knowledge and expressing proper values.

Four or five years are fleeting moment in the history of South China Normal University. Nonetheless, for me, for my grandmother and other students, it is an extremely meaningful period in our life. Most importantly, the motto of South China Normal University is handed down generation to generation, which cultivates outstanding talents for the society.


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