Real Internships: Shixin Su

Things have turned out to be much more complicated than they had seemed. I am no longer an English tutor of Xinqiang. On the day that we were supposed to have our third lesson, I witnessed him exploding for the first time. We were in a study room, with other students and their tutors. When I first walked in, he had his head on the table that all of us shared. When the tutor who was in charge of the room came up to him and asked him what was wrong, he exploded, “Sunday to Saturday—I study every single day. What’s the use of it!” “The tutors are coming from afar to tutor you. Why won’t you cherish your opportunities? Getting an education is to seek another path for yourself. What if the institute (the orphanage) sends you abroad someday?” the tutor responded. “Impossible!” Xinqiang said. They went back and forth arguing with each other. Xinqiang seemed quite emotionally unstable that day. Through a coworker, I learned that the staff there had been trying to counsel Xinqiang, but there as little effect. He is suffering from a lot of emotional struggles.

I began teaching Xiaomao the alphabets last week. He is a very quiet and humble kid. I am deeply touched by some of the things he said. One day, I walked up to him in the hallway and asked if he would like to learn English. He answered “Yes.” “I only have two weeks before I leave the institute.” I reminded him. “I am wiling to learn as much as possible during these two weeks,” he said. During our first lesson, I asked Xiaomao whether he likes to learn. “In the past I didn’t, but now I do,” he said. “Why?” I questioned further. “I was ignorant in the past. I now know the importance of education,” he said. This was a 14-year-old child speaking. I was shocked. Despite his age, he is only in the third grade. He has also been expelled from his elementary for skipping school twice, so he will be getting his elementary education from the tutors of the orphanage. I understand his reason for skipping, actually. A tutor told me that he was bullied and made fun of by his classmates who were a lot younger than him. He wanted to escape.

I went to the inner city last weekend with the intention to buy some notebooks for Xiaomao because I don’t think he has any extra notebooks for our lessons. I didn’t find any notebooks or pens in the bookstore, however, I found two books that I am going to give as gifts to Xiaomao and Xinqiang. I got Finding the Self that You can Rely On for Xinqiang and Stories from the Bible for Xiaomao. When I gave the Bible to Xiaomao, he said that a foreigner gave him one before but he lost it. Xinqiang went to summer camp so I would have to wait till he comes back.

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