Just How Kind Your Students Can Be?
by Professor Fury
By now I had followed my lifelong mantra that no matter how bleak things are, regardless of what terrible circumstances you find yourself in, there is always something good in there if you look for it and if not, something wonderful will come along anyway.
Always make the best fist of whatever cards you are dealt. Accordingly, I had trained my students to bring me beer instead of fruit, discovered that at around 0500 each morning I could access free internet for between 20 and 50 minutes so I could check and answer emails and also at that hour sneakily hobble out to dispose of my empty cans from the night before prior to the ward coming to life . The staff of course must have known full well where they came from but nary a word was ever said. Had I been challenged I would simply have shrugged my one good shoulder. A man has to have a few comforts…..
Anyway, at one point a student asked me what colours comprised my old shipping company’s houseflag. I thought it an odd question but never delved deeper. Some reading this may perhaps deign me naïve or even dense for not having an inkling but please read on and judge me when the tale is done!
Sixteen days after being admitted, Kiki (my first ever friend as a teacher) came to visit in the evening. We chatted for a while and then a group of my students turned up, headed by the redoubtable Georgina (who I saw recently in Beijing where she now works). She said “Hi – we’ll be back in a minute” and they all left.
The minute lengthened to half an hour, at which point I started to get a tad narked. Where were they? I was getting grumpier by the minute, quite why I don’t recall and considering they were voluntarily giving up their free time to visit me, completely unreasonable of me. But grumpy I was.
When they finally came back I asked where the hell they had been? The response was a cheery “Come with us”. Mystified, I complied. Where were we going? No answer. My staggering range at the time was limited and so on occasion one of the girls had to assist me because I swear I would have fallen.
When they took me outside the front of the hospital, the fleeting notion flashed through my mind that they had come to spring me from prison!
Then they led me to where they had just spent thirty minutes preparing.
The hospital has changed now but in those days there was a grassy area with stone tables and seats. At one of the tables sat my colleague and his lady friend and there on the table sat glasses, beers, bottles of wines, snacks and the piece de resistance – a birthday cake decorated with the flag of my beloved shipping company!
I was the only one present who had forgotten it was my 55th birthday! Hence my apparent stupidity in not realising the intent of the aforementioned question.
I will now never forget my 55th – a party at the front of the hospital. Marvellous.
After a while, security came and jabbered away in Chinese and the students answered. I asked for a translation and learnt he had come to admonish them and told them to clear up afterwards! There was no question of them not doing so anyway and so I called him back and asked Georgina to translate. Tell him to **** off and try to do his job instead of attempting to spoil a party! He slunk off even though I doubt I was translated accurately. He knew exactly what I meant, for a few days previously I had been robbed of two thousand yuan whilst sleeping in my hospital cot – money that was never recovered.
Over the years my students have helped me so much, turning out en masse to help me move apartments, taking my pets to the vet and so on.
They are invaluable to you. Cherish them. Reward them. Be the best teacher they have ever had.
Coming up – Taking Part