I found out that our Chinese school was closed for good the week before it was set to start. I wanted to complain that they didn’t notify us sooner, but I couldn’t find anyone to bark at.
The next best thing to do was to find a new school. I quickly hit up my trusted know-it-all friend we call google, and located another weekend Chinese school in the area. It is no where as close to home as our former school, but still within tolerable driving distance.
I called up the school immediately, and got invited to go to the school that afternoon with my baby. They wanted to make sure that the baby is qualified to enroll in their 8th grade class.
I brought along our old 7th grade class textbook, and the final test paper, where it was clearly marked a 100% for verbal test, and 99% for written test.
Of course we are qualified to enroll in the 8th grade class!!
“Your textbook has pinyin everywhere. Our 8th grade textbook has no pinyin at all.” the Chinese teacher at the new school stated as she flipped through our book. She showed no interest in our proud test paper. This was a bummer.
She walked over to a cabinet, pulled out a drawer, and pulled out a book.
“I think our 6th grade textbook is more suited for her.” she walked over with the book.
My baby took the book from her weakly. The poor child looked intimidated.
The teacher took the book back from her, flipped to a page, and said, “Here, read the first paragraph.”
The baby stared down at the page, and I leaned over to peak at the paragraph. The cursed paragraph was based on a Chinese idiom story starring a Chinese general.
“This paragraph is kind of hard. She does not know how to read “general”, and this general has a difficult Chinese name.” this lame excuse served as my best effort to help out my nervous child.
“Oh yes, this is a difficult lesson to read.” said the teacher, finally showing off that she can smile.
“Here, read this first paragraph in the first lesson.” she opened the book to the beginning.
The baby sent another pleading glance at me.
“What is that” I pointed to the title.
“Oh, you don’t know. That is a fruit.” she looked at us, then added, “ well, we don’t have them here. It is fruit that looks like a star when you cut into it.”
The Star fruit. We have seen them up on a tree in Hawaii once.
“She has been out of the school for the whole summer. She forgets everything. I think it is hard to read about something you don’t know.” me, continuing my bid to bail out the pitiful looking thing that sat next to me.
“No problem….” she took the book back and flipped some more, “ Here, how about the Great Wall! Everybody knows that. Read the first paragraph. Or any paragraph is fine.”
“You have been to the Great Wall, remember? You can read it.” I said to the poor baby cheerfully. There was no getting out of reading with this teacher.
The baby struggled with the paragraph the best she could, skipping many characters, red-faced, and sweating on the forehead.
“You guys don’t speak Chinese at home.” she said to me accusingly.
“We do…sometimes…” I fumbled for words, and added, “she understands Chinese very well.”
“Oh, you speak to her in Chinese, and she answers back in English?” teacher.
“She knows how to speak Chinese.” me, insisted.
“The most she can enroll in our school is 6th grade.” she said to me.
The baby and I shared a look.
“Okay.” We surrendered fast.
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