You need to be no Sherlock Homes in order to figure our that I am struggling with the Chinese characters. Not so much with reading them, but with writing them, by hand.
It is a well-established and well known fact at Chinese universities that 'OuMei ren' (meaning: people from Europe and America) have difficulties with handwriting characters. Since everyone knows this, both my Chinese teachers and my Asian classmates have up been more lenient and forgiving with my ugly (and similar to a three-year-old) handwriting. Main thing is that I CAN write something and that people can understand it, rather than how it looks, right?
Well, that was the norm, up until yesterday.
As I've mentioned before I've been getting some bad vibes from my new teachers, and especially from one of them. She's been doing this sort of 'fake smile' thing, meaning: she walks around looking happy and cheerful, until u ask her about something she gets all troubled and annoyed and asks you to use your dictionary.
Yesterday she was really on my back. I got to answer several questions and then I was asked to go and write a sentence on the blackboard (together with 3 Korean students).
I know that my handwriting is terrible, so I had a laugh about it while I wrote. And so did my teacher. She was honestly standing next to me, giggling, while I wrote. (Fair enough, I am happy to entertain) When I afterwards sat down the teacher started going through our sentences. She started with me (note that this was a grammar exercise, not a hanzi exercise).
-Does anyone think this sentence is OK? She asked.
-Yes, everyone said.
-You don't see any mistake??? *giggle*
-Well I can tell there is a BIG mistake! Jonna here hasn't done a FULL STOP at the end of the sentence. Jonna -you have to make a full stop at the end of the sentence, otherwise we don't know that it has finished.
Me: -eh.... ok.
She: -And I have noticed that when you do your full stop in your exercise books you do it as a 'dot'. In China, a full stop should be a round circle!! You HAVE to learn this! (while she said this she drew one dot and one fuller circle on the board). Then... there is eh... haha... well... Jonna your handwriting is very interesting, don't you all think?! VEEEERY interesting! Do you know you write the wrong way?
-Eh... yes, well, I just....
-You don't write according to the rules. This is something very basic.. you should write like... bla bla bla bla.. (stats going through writing rules that I know about but don't follow -due to one simple reason: I simply can't memorize them all and I think it is better I learn how the character look and know how to write it, than learning it specifically according to the rules. Main thing is that people can read it, right?)
Oh my oh my... She went on and on, telling everyone about how I did it (BAD) and how it should be done... I was just sitting there, starring. So was the rest of the class. If I were them I would have been quite annoyed with the fact that the teacher spent so much time commenting on some one's handwriting when we were doing a grammar exercise.
Finally the class was over and I caught myself feeling quite tense.
Then suddenly the teacher said:
-Oh, if someone wants to change class it is okay because we are too many students in this class, meanwhile the other level 4 class have less students.
Do I need to mention that I was the first student who signed up to change?!
I now have a male teacher most of the time (that I've had before -and I know he is great!) and I am sooooo happy! Constructive criticism, sure, but there's a limit right? No more bully teachers from now on!
Oh... and after school that day I met one of my former classmates. We talked for a bit before she said: "You know what. I could clearly see what you wrote on the blackboard."