Village Teacher At dawn, the sound of roosters woke the girl from

Village Teacher

At dawn, the sound of roosters woke the girl from her sleep. There was heavy snow outside the window, the blustery wind was howling. The fire in the stove had gone out somewhat, the house was almost freezing. The girl slowly got up, took the water to the stove to warmed it up a bit, and started washing up. She stared at her slightly distorted self in the mirror, then took a towel and wiped it off. A black-and-white photo of a man is placed on the cabinet next to her door, there is a lot of dust on the frame. She glanced at it coldly, then pushed the door and walked out.

The winter in the northwest is cold and dry, with goose-feather-like snow falling on the dilapidated houses and the barren land. The girl walked forward against the wind, the snowstorm made it a little hard to open her eyes. She was in a bit of a trance, her mind flashing back to that rainy day. It was the same road that day she ran all the way home from the village entrance. A letter tucked into the girl’s cloth, she was afraid of getting it wet from the rain. Rushed into the yard, the girl couldn’t wait to show her father the good news, but was completely frozen instead. The man in the courtyard was lying on the ground, as if he had fallen asleep. The raindrops fell on the letter she had just taken out of her arms and gradually drenched it. It was the acceptance letter she finally received from her dream university.

The girl came back to her senses and stopped in front of a small red brick house. Outside the house was a wooden board hung on the wall, with red paint written on it: Stone Drum Village Primary School. The girl let out a deep breath and walked inside. The small classroom of old bricks was already filled with children, who were discussing and waiting for their teacher to come to class. The girl walked in and came to the podium, so called podium is actually just a broken wooden table. She turned her head, looking at these children expressionlessly. The children immediately quieted down after saw the girl. Led by a boy, the children called out loudly and clearly: “Good morning Miss Min!”

The girl is called Min, who just turned 17. She is the only teacher in this village of thee northwestern mountain. This school was built by her father, who devoted his life in here as a teacher. Her father was always very busy. Teaching the children in school had taken up all his energy, left him little time to take care of Min. But Min worked hard on her own. Whenever the village received donations from outside, she would go and find the textbooks and brought them back for self-study. Min can’t be stuck here for the rest of her life like everyone else, she must go to college and leave this barren village. But the illness of her father took away her hope.

Even in his last days her father was still thinking about the students in his school. Min won’t forget that day, when her father trying to grab her with his trembling hand, telling her to stay here and continue teaching those village children. Her father’s last words were like a shackle locking Min in the cage she had been trying to escape. Min hated her father, and she hated those students, the people who had deprived her of her dreams. She secretly wrote a letter to the university to apply for a gap year, decided to palter with her father’s last wishes for a year.

This morning’s lesson is language and literature, Min didn’t even bother to open the textbook. She gave couple of random comments as usual, and let them study on their own. Min looked out the window in a daze. Suddenly a voice interrupted her, and she looked back to see a boy standing in front of her lectern with his textbook. The boy smiled, pointed to the text of a poem and asked her a question. The poem was called “Plant Mother Has a Way”, which seemed to be the content of the lesson from last month. The boy’s face did ring a bell, he and his sister had just started coming to school here two days ago. His textbook was already filled with dense marks and notes. Felt afraid somehow, Min couldn’t face the boy. She unconsciously looked down and asked the boy which part he didn’t understand. The boy pointed to a sentence in the poem and said he didn’t know what does the dandelion “parachute” mean. Min quickly glanced at the line, she hesitated a bit but took the chalk eventually. She drew a dandelion on the blackboard and explained its structure. The boy thanked her happily and ran back. She watched as the boy put the book in the middle of a group of children to explain to them the question he had just come up to ask. In this snowstorm of a cold winter day, the icy wind was blowing the wooden window frames to clatter. Min looked at the boy and the other children, an unknown emotion rose up in her heart.

For some time afterwards, Min kept a secret eye on the boy. The boy’s name is Li Fei, he and his sister Ying came from the next village to study here. No matter how perfunctory Min was in her class, the boy always listened attentively. He would happily ran over to ask questions after class and then shared what he had learned with Ying and the other students. Everyone liked Li Fei, but Min was just dreading to look him in the eye. Something started to change, and gradually, the girl became more attentive to teaching the class.

The sunshine of early spring started to lift the dark clouds, the blizzard days are almost over. This day, Min came to school as usual, but Li Fei was no where to be found. She only saw his sister Ying. Min hesitated for a long time, but did not ask anything at the end. she caught a glimpse at Ying, the girl seemed to have something to say. But Min ignored her anyway and started her class. After that, Li Fei never came to class again. Min secretly mocked the boy of being just a three-minute hothead who gave up so soon. She was a bit complacent, thinking that she was different from Li Fei and must stick to her dream to go to collage and leave this village for good. Min went back to her old self in class again.

Time flies, and it’s summer. Today Min has no class, she has to go to the market next village to buy something. She walked slowly, looking at the arid landscape and thinking about when she would leave. Suddenly, a familiar figure caught her eyes. In a potato field not far away, a boy was pouring bucket after bucket of water into the field. It was Li Fei, who had not been coming to school. Min held back for a moment, but slowly walked towards the boy. She called the boy’s name, and he looked up at her with a happy smile and shouted, “Miss Min!” Min looked at Li Fei for a while, and finally asked him why he didn’t come to class anymore, whether he thought studying was meaningless. Li Fei put the bucket on the ground and went to sit nearby. He smiled at Min and said, “The family does not have money to pay for both of us to go to school, I want to help my family to do more work, so that my sister can continue to study!” The boy said looking at the dandelion next to him. A soft breeze blew through the grass, and the dandelion seeds flew away in the wind. Stared at the boy, the mocking smile gradually fades away from Min’s face.

When she got home, Min took out the acceptance letter she had always treasured. She carefully wiped her father’s photo clean, and then gently placed the letter next to the photo. Looking at the photo and the letter, Min smiled heartily.

The dandelions swayed next to the red brick hut. Min stood on the podium and the children’s voices read aloud: “If a child has grown up, he must say goodbye to his mother and set out to the world. The cows and horses have feet, the birds have wings, but how do plants travel? The dandelion mother prepares a parachute and gives it to her doll. Her children can set off, as long as there is a gentle wind blowing……”