[Chapter 048] I want teacher Zhang YanRong to apologise to me
Li Li laughed, “Just what are you thinking, are there security cameras in the classrooms? If there are none, then it’s all the more that there won’t be security cameras in the staff office. Do you students like being surveilled? You don’t, and neither do we.”
It made sense. “Sigh, alright, let’s go. I’ll go see just how teacher Zhang will malign me, and to see if our department head is clever enough to see the truth.”
Li Li saw how he seemed to have a pretty good attitude towards this situation and relaxed. She was also a student once, and knew that what students hated and feared most was accusations of cheating. When teacher Zhang had accused Lu YunFei of cheating after seeing his results and recommended that they nullify his score, she opposed the notion on the spot.
Lu YunFei’s English had in fact made a vast improvement, but this was not an indication that he had cheated. Labeling a student as a cheater and allowing them to carry that black mark with them all through high school was too much of a burden, and much too cruel. Li Li didn’t support this, and also didn’t believe that Li YunFei had really cheated.
The department head’s office was on the right side at the end of the corridor. Zhang YanRong was already in the room when Lu YunFei and Li Li entered.
The department head beckoned them to sit.
Li Li closed the door and pulled Lu YunFei with her as they sat down.
“Student Lu YunFei, you’ve heard the reason from your homeroom teacher as to why you were called to the office?”
“You made an improvement of 24 marks, going from 74 to 98. Could you explain this?”
“After the previous month’s exam, teacher Li got me to switch desks so that Bian JinYuan was my deskmate in order to improve my English scores. You know Bian JinYuan’s English scores as well as I do. After he became my deskmate, in order to help me, he devised numerous plans which covered everything, from vocabulary to essays. It was normal for me to improve.”
At this, Zhang YanRong laughed as if in ridicule, but didn’t say anything.
“Why did you laugh?” Lu YunFei asked.
“Nothing much, I just thought that if Bian JinYuan were as amazing as you described, then what was he doing as a student, he should be an English teacher instead. 24 marks in a month, I’m afraid there’s no teacher in this school who could be that great.”
Lu YunFei found this absurd, “What, if you can’t do it, then you can’t allow for others to do it? If I were to say so, some teachers only possess seniority and don’t have the ability, and aren’t much better than students who are able to excel in their studies.”
Lu YunFei smiled, “Did I say something wrong, teacher Zhang?”
Seeing how the both of them were about to launch into an argument, the department head hit against the table to get them to quiet down.
“So Lu YunFei, the reason why you improved so much and passed this month’s exam was because of Bian JinYuan, am I correct?”
“Nonsense,” Zhang YanRong interjected, “You obviously took a peek at the paper. Do you dare to say that you didn’t?”
“I had gone there to look for teacher Li, and wasn’t there to look for you. I did not go over to the area where your desk was, and more so did not know that there was an exam paper on your desk.”
“You obviously wouldn’t admit it. There was no one in the office that day. Even if you did, no one would know, wouldn’t it?”
“Do you have proof that I peeked?”
“You know that there aren’t security cameras in the staff office, that’s why you dare to make this claim don’t you?”
Lu YunFei smiled slightly, “The same could be said of you.”
“Lu YunFei, if you really didn’t peek, then that day when I chatted with you to ask if you could pass this time, didn’t you claim very confidently that you could? Wasn’t it because you had peeked the questions from the paper, which was why you were confident that you could pass?” Zhang YanRong accused in anger.
“Hey,” Lu YunFei drawled out, “teacher Zhang wants to talk about our chat that day? Was it that chat about tutoring me for one thousand and six hundred an hour for a class?”
“What nonsense are you saying!” Zhang YanRong spouted in anger and embarrassment.
The department head furrowed their brows, “What one thousand and six hundred an hour for a class?
“Department head, don’t believe his nonsense,” Zhang YanRong said quickly.
Lu YunFei said unhurriedly, “That’s the time when teacher said, my English scores were very bad and that it was best to take her class, a thousand and six hundred for one hour.”
The department head’s expression froze instantly, and she looked at Zhang YanRong in dissatisfaction.
There will be no fish when the water is too clear∇. In lieu of the fact that parents in China took their children’s college entrance exams strongly, First High’s principal and department head turned a blind eye to most of their teachers conducting extracurricular tutoring classes. However, to have someone like Zhang YanRong who asked for one thousand and six hundred, it was the first time that she had heard of such a thing. This was too expensive wasn’t it! If this were to get out, the reputation of First High would plummet.
“Teacher Zhang, I wish to chat about this matter later.”
“Department head doesn’t listen to him, he’s spouting nonsense.”
“Hey teacher Zhang, are you not taking responsibility for your words, lying in front of your students is unbecoming of a teacher.”
Zhang YanRong turned to shoot him a glare, “Lu YunFei, you’re pulling me down with you only because I’ve caught you cheating.”
Lu YunFei smiled, “I think you’ve got the sequence wrong. I see that you weren’t able to open the lion’s mouth✤, so you decided to frame me for cheating instead.”
“Frame you?” Zhang YanRong laughed, “Look at your scores for this half a year, have you ever passed once? It’s always in the seventy-eighty range, yet why would you pass just this time? Wasn’t it because you peeked at the exam paper beforehand.”
“I already said, it was because Bian JinYuan tutored me. Furthermore, do I need to cheat? What for? Does a mere monthly exam deserve me cheating? I didn’t even cheat for the placement exams, yet I’ll cheat for this? Am I crazy?”
“Perhaps you had chanced upon the paper and decided to do it on impulse?”
“What else for? Of course it was so that you could get a good grade. You’ve failed this subject for so long, you must have wished for the day you pass it.”
“Then you really don’t understand me. I’ve failed in English for so long that I’ve become used to it. Moreover, my grades for other subjects are good enough that even if I fail English repeatedly, I still managed to get placed in class one, and it’s above average too.”
Zhang YanRong was about to expire from anger.
The department head looked on as the both of them argued and asked, “Do you have anything else to say?”
“If Lu YunFei claimed that he didn’t cheat and that it’s his current level, then why doesn’t he retake the exam,” Zhang YanRong feigned compromise, “The English department always sets two sets of papers. This monthly exam used paper A, while paper B is still in my drawer, so that can be used for Lu YunFei. With a similar difficulty level for both papers, he should be able to pass this too.”
Lu YunFei froze.
The department head thought about it, “Lu YunFei, do you think you can do it?”
I think that I shouldn’t have to! Why must he go for another exam? Then what if he happened to fail this, wouldn’t he have to carry the burden of being accused.
Zhang YanRong saw how Lu YunFei didn’t respond and grew more confident in her suggestion, “What’s wrong? Student Lu YunFei disagrees? What are you afraid of if you didn’t cheat?”
“Teacher Zhang, you don’t have to talk to me in such an ambiguous manner. Everyone knows that skills and luck are factors in exams, otherwise there wouldn’t be the sayings “extraordinary performance” or “being off one’s game”. You claim that I cheated, but do you have any proof? Do you have either a witness or hard evidence? You have none, so what are you basing your accusations on, and who are you to tell me to retake the paper. Our country’s law dictates that one is innocent until proven guilty, and if there’s insufficient evidence, they’re let go. Since you don’t have proof, you should apologise to me, instead of asking me to retake the paper.”
“Weren’t you so confident earlier? Now you’ve got a guilty conscience? I thought of how Bian JinYuan must be so great, but it seems that he’s not much.”
“Stop mentioning him. You’re a teacher comparing yourself to a student, aren’t you embarrassed?”
“Not as embarrassing as you cheating.”
“Zhang YanRong, try saying that I cheated one more time.”
Li Li saw how he had gone straight to calling out Zhang YanRong’s full name and quickly held him down, “Lu YunFei don’t be impulsive.”
“Did I want to be impulsive? Do you hear the words coming out of her mouth?”
“Lu YunFei what are you saying? Are you listening to yourself?”
“Enough,” the department head admonished, “Yelling yelling yelling, can yelling solve problems!”
“Anyway if I didn’t cheat, I would never be ashamed. Don’t say one paper, I’d even do twenty papers,” Zhang YanRong insinuated.
Lu YunFei snorted.
The department head looked at the three people in front of her and thought for a bit before saying: “What student Lu YunFei said was logical, but we can’t dismiss teacher Zhang’s suspicions either. How about this, teacher Zhang will take paper B out for Lu YunFei to retake it here. Half of 24 is 12. As long as student Lu YunFei scores 12 marks above his previous score, then this would mean that he didn’t cheat. Is this arrangement alright?”
74+12=86, Lu YunFei calculated. While he was not too confident about meeting this score, since the department head had suggested this, him refusing once again would make it look like he was feeling guilty. He might as well try his best at it, since the score probably won’t drop when it came to the essay and spelling. This month’s exam had tested on so much that Bian JinYuan had helped him revise them all. Even if he got some wrong, he probably wouldn’t get too many wrong, so he would try.
“Alright,” he said, “But I have a condition.”
“Say it,” the department head said.
“If I score above 86, then I want teacher Zhang YanRong to give me a sincere apology.”
Hearing this, Zhang YanRong glared at him, “Then if you don’t score above 86, it will mean that you cheated, and you will be reprimanded and it will be recorded in the reports. Next week you will undergo an investigative review in front of the entire school.”
Lu YunFei didn’t think that she had planned for something like this, “Then I’ll revise my condition, I would also like teacher Zhang YanRong to be reprimanded and recorded in the reports, and also to apologise to me sincerely in front of the entire school, in both Chinese and English, eight hundred words.”
“Sure,” Zhang YanRong didn’t believe that he could score 86. With Lu YunFei’s track record, he rarely scored above 80. While 86 wasn’t a difficult score to attain for most people, it was a feat for Lu YunFei.
“Then you head back to class first. Come back here in the afternoon, I’ll invigilate you then,” the department head said.
“No need for that,” Lu YunFei sat properly on the chair, his tone unassuming, “The next class is Chemistry, and we’ll probably be going through the exam paper. I scored full marks on the Chemistry paper this time, so I don’t need to attend the class. Let’s take the retest now. It just happens that the class after Chemistry is Biology, which I also got full marks for. The time for both classes and the break in between should be enough for me to finish this paper.”
Zhang YanRong saw his face full of accomodation, and how he didn’t forget to flourish his scores for the sciences, and was so angry that she ground her teeth.
Meanwhile, the department head found a new appreciation for him.
Wow I’d be super pissed at having to retake an exam! Zhang YanRong is so unbecoming as a teacher.
∇ 水至清则无鱼 (shuǐ zhì qīng zé wú yú, literally means ‘when the water is too clear there will be no fish’) is an idiom that states that if one were too strict, they wouldn’t make friends.
✤ 狮子大开口 (shī zi dà kāi kǒu, literally means ‘lion opens its mouth widely’), and is a phrase used to mean that someone is greedy, who’s asking price is very high.