Chapter 339: Why are you blindly ordering me around?
It was noon time.
When he reached Peking University, Zhang Ye headed straight for the canteen in his car. There were many places to eat on campus, but he did not go to those fanciful higher end eateries and instead came straight to the School 1’s canteen. It was cheap and the food tasted alright, though this place was well known for it’s pork shank.
There were many people inside.
As it was right about lunchtime, the few windows all had long queues.
“It’s Teacher Zhang Ye!”
“Teacher Zhang, good afternoon!”
“You are here to have lunch too? What are you doing here at School 1’s canteen?”
“Right, hee hee, you are such a big shot. Why would you eat with poor students like us?”
When he walked into the canteen, many students who knew him had greeted him. There was no teacher student ceremonies to observe and it felt very endearing. After all, Zhang Ye was not the traditional type of teacher. He was a host who had diversified into teaching. He could even be considered a comedian of sorts due to his Talk Show, and so everyone’s perception of Zhang Ye was much more familiar, unlike the other teachers and professors who they would behave very well when they saw them. Zhang Ye didn’t have the air of a lecturer about him.
Zhang Ye smiled, “How am I a big shot? The salary for this month has not be issued yet. If I don’t save a little, I might not even be able to pay my rent.”
“You still need to pay rent?”
“Teacher Zhang is claiming to be poor!”
Quite a number of students nearby burst out laughing.
Zhang Ye then went to line up properly since there was no distinction between the student and teacher’s queue.
When the student in front of Zhang Ye turned around, he received a shock, “Heavens, it’s Teacher Zhang. Go ahead first!” He gave way.
Zhang Ye waved his hand and smiled, “I’m not going to add threes. Thanks.”
The words “add threes”, which meant cutting in line, was Beijing slang.
After more than ten minutes, it was finally his turn. Zhang Ye ate simply. He only wanted a platter of assorted dishes. “Sir, two bowls of rice, a portion of Kung Pao chicken, and a portion of fried eggplant.”
The attendant took a look. “Hey, it’s Teacher Zhang. Sure, I’ll give you a bit more.”
“Thank you very much.” Zhang Ye did not stand on ceremony. He then carried the stainless steel tray to look for a spot to sit.
The canteen was not small, but it could not hold that many people. There were already no empty tables. There wasn’t even a place to sit. Many students were standing behind people who were about to finish eating.
“Teacher Zhang! Here!”
“No! Over here! Over here!”
“I have a spot here!”
“Teacher Zhang, come sit with us!”
“Let us squeeze a bit! Make space for Teacher Zhang!”
This all depended on each person’s popularity. Many Peking University students were trying to vie for him, as they wanted Zhang Ye to sit with them desperately. Zhang Ye was not the only teacher who came to School 1’s canteen. There were also quite a few teachers who liked the food or preferred the cheaper food here, but for them, after they got their food, no one would ever offer them a seat. Either they packed it away and went back to their office to eat, or they would wait around to see if their own class’ students would offer them a seat as other class or department students did not recognize them. What’s more, teachers and students were getting harder to distinguish! Some students had old faces, while some teachers looked rather young. It was no longer easy to recognize who was the teacher and who was the student, so how would you know when to offer a seat?
But for Zhang Ye?
Dozens of people were shouting for him!
When those other teachers saw, they were rendered speechless, “……….”
Your mother! We are all Peking University teachers, why is there such a difference in treatment?
Zhang Ye could only accept their hospitality as he could not refuse those few Year 2 girls’ pulling at him. So he joined them over at a table by the window as the seven or eight of them squeezed together to free up a spot for him. Zhang Ye definitely could not refuse now, so he sat down to eat.
“Teacher Zhang, how old are you?”
“What is your horoscope sign?”
“Are you married, Teacher Zhang?”
“Will you come over to our History department next year to teach a class?”
The few girls kept chattering away noisily, but it was rather interesting.
Zhang Ye smiled as he chatted with them, leisurely eating. He liked to interact with the students, just like how he liked to interact with the audience while doing a program.
After having his fill, Zhang Ye left the canteen. As the canteen was quite near the Chinese department, he did not drive back and instead just walked over. As a result, a bunch of students, around 18 of them, suddenly followed along and flanked him as they started chatting.
Around the Chinese department.
Downstairs at the office building.
Su Na had also just returned from her lunch. When she turned her head and saw Zhang Ye’s situation, she was amused. After Zhang Ye made it to the office building’s corridor alone, she said, “Teacher Zhang, you are really popular. You’ve only been here for a few days and you’re already mixing with the students. They aren’t even students from your class. Seems like every student from every department in Peking University already knows you. Unlike me, I’ve been here for 2 years now and it seems like there are some students from my own class that still do not know who I am.”
Zhang Ye laughed, “Well, that’s because of my profession’s advantage. If you were a host and have done a few shows, everyone would know who you are too. Besides, Teacher Su, with your conditions, you would definitely do better as a host than me if you were to try.”
Su Na smiled, “I’m not as capable as you.”
They chatted and laughed on their way back to the office. Someone was waiting for Zhang Ye.
“Teacher Zhang.” It was his “Appreciation of the Classics” class representative, Senior Song. She was carrying a stack of assessment papers, “I’m here to submit the assignments.”
Zhang Ye nodded, “Thank you, has everyone submitted their work?”
Senior Song put down the assessment papers, “It’s all here, not a single one is missing.”
“Sure, then go back and quickly prepare for your other exams.” Zhang Ye said.
When class representative Song went off, Zhang Ye sat down and started grading the assignments one by one. To him, this was his first time doing something like this, so he took it very seriously.
This one’s fine.
That one’s good too.
Hmm, this one is very well written.
The Chinese department’s other teachers were also busily grading their papers or preparing for the exams. The semester end exams were all arranged within these few days and everyone was busy. Zhang Ye, in comparison, was much more relaxed as the others had bigger classes, while his class was just an elective course with a slightly over a hundred students. The assignment was also related to characters in ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, which Zhang Ye was extremely familiar with. Just by reading through their work, he could see if they had put in any effort to write it.
From noon until late afternoon.
Zhang Ye spent three hours without rest and quickly finished grading all the assignments. A few of them were not too appropriate, so Zhang Ye had them marked down and he summoned for these students to see him.
Yao Mi was one of them.
When they entered the office, Yao Mi and the others were very nervous.
“Are you looking for us?”
“Did we fail our elective class?”
Zhang Ye put up his hand to stop them from saying more, “Come over, speak softly. Don’t disturb the other teachers.” He then passed their assignments back to them, “They all have problems. Yao Mi, your choice of character was not good. You picked a servant who isn’t even a supporting character. This person was only described with a few lines in the entire novel and even I do not know this character well, nor will I be able to understand. Cao Xueqin only randomly wrote about this character to set off Baoyu and only appeared once. It’s even an appearance by narration, yet you have written it with such exaggeration. It’s as if this character is a main one with a mysterious feel? The role is too significant? It depended on him to save the world?”
The few students all giggled.
Su Na, who was seated nearby, also laughed a little when she heard this.
Yao Mi’s face was flushed with redness, “But, but I feel that he is very important. In ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, the characters are not just simply characters. They are all made of flesh and blood, but it’s just that no one had ever researched this person. So you cannot say that he’s not important or does not have a significant role. I really did some serious research on this.”
At this time, Chang Kaige and Yan Jiantao had come into the office. They were inspecting on the grading process.
Zhang Ye smiled, “Then alright, explain to me about this person’s life. Of course, it was not mentioned in the novel, but you have to give me your analysis on it.”
Yao Mi immediately replied, “I feel that he is not just an ordinary person because when he first appeared, the chapter description was written in this way….” She explained further.
After Zhang Ye heard everything, he unexpectedly nodded, “OK, you can go back. You passed.”
Yao Mi said in surprise, “Really?”
Zhang Ye smiled, “You have your own views and analysis. That means you have researched and thought about it. Although the conclusion is debatable, it is not a bad thing. You may go.”
“Haha, thank you Teacher Zhang!” Yao Mi went off happily.
Zhang Ye continued to ask the next student, “Zhao Long, what you wrote seemed to be what I said exactly in my class. Regarding the character of Yinchun, what other views of your own do you have? Tell me about it.”
Zhao Long followed Yao Mi’s explanations method and talked about a whole lot of something.
Zhang Ye nodded, “Yes, although you did not analyze from your own point of view too much and was less creative, from your explanation, I can hear that you have also researched on what I mentioned in class. You’ve taken in everything that I’ve said and that’s an effort worth commending. You may go now, you passed.”
In a short while, all of them were passed and left.
Zhang Ye had added on a question and answer exam outside of their written assessment.
Finally, Zhang Ye noticed the inspecting Chang Kaige and his team, “Dean Chang, you’re here? The elective class exams are done. The grades combined with the attendance, the children from my class have all passed.”
Yan Jiantao face darkened, “All passed?”
Zhang Ye looked at him, “Yes.”
Yan Jiantao said, “Isn’t your exam too casual? Why is our Peking University such a famous institution for all these years? Because we are strict and rigorous in education! Those few students who were here earlier, did they fail their assessments? Oh, so you just asked a few questions and they passed? Your attitude lacks seriousness!”
With this argument happening, everyone looked over!
Heh! You are coming hard on me now eh? I’ve already let it slide the last time! Now you are trying to look for trouble with me for no reason again? Zhang Ye stared at him and slammed his hand on his students’ stack of assessments, “Professor Yan, this is my elective class. How I grade them is up to me. I don’t need your instructions!” As he said so, he stood up, “I’m also a teacher of the Chinese department. You may doubt my character, but you cannot doubt my professionalism! Whether the students listened in my class or whether they gained any knowledge from it, I’m clearer than anyone here! If the assessment doesn’t show it, I added on a verbal exam, is there a problem? Why don’t you grade the assessment instead!”
Yan Jiantao was fired up, “Your class and I grade the papers!?”
Zhang Ye rebutted him, “Then what are you ordering me around for!”
Yan Jiantao was filled with rage and nearly blew up, “Me, ordering? I am just telling you how to mark assessments as a teacher! And you actually yelled at me? Are you more experienced or am I more experienced? Zhang Ye! Try shouting at me again!”
Zhang Ye said coldly, “If you are more experienced, why don’t you go and talk about ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’! In this field, do you know more or do I know more? It’s my class and I don’t have the authority to speak or decide?”
“Shout at me again!” Yan Jiantao stared intently.
Zhang Ye stepped forward, “Who’s the one shouting here!”
Chang Kaige quickly shouted out, “Stop arguing! Step down!”
A male teacher quickly pulled Yan Jiantao back, “Professor Yan, calm down, calm down!”
Su Na also immediately grabbed Zhang Ye’s shoulder, “What are trying to do, Teacher Zhang! Don’t speak anymore, don’t speak anymore! Everyone was only doing it for the students!”
Chang Kaige snapped, “What kind of image are we showing if the students see this! Old Yan, you are an old comrade and an experienced educator, what example are you demonstrating to everyone? And you, Little Zhang! Professor Yan is your senior and has a lot of experience, how can you speak to a senior in this way? Watch your attitude!”
This was like giving 50 strokes of paddling to the both of them.
When he heard the shouting, Secretary Zhen also came over, “What’s the matter?”
Outside, the other Chinese department’s lecturers had also heard and came over to see the commotion.
When Secretary Zhen understood the situation, he was lost for words. He then waved everyone off at the door, “Disperse, go back to work!”
Finally, Zhen Shuquan dragged the still-angry Professor Yan away. They probably went over to have a talk alone. Chang Kaige also summoned Zhang Ye to his office, to criticize him in private. Honestly speaking, the two of them were both at fault in this incident. It was not known why Professor Yan was so displeased with Zhang Ye, but it was OK if you just feel so in silence, but yet, Professor Yan had picked on Zhang Ye on several occasions. Zhang Ye was the same. No matter what, this was Peking University where seniority mattered. It was still an educational institution. How could you speak to a senior in this manner? It might not be insubordination, but it’s still disrespectful. If everyone was like you, then wouldn’t Peking University be in a mess?
One was an experienced educator, who was a senior in the Chinese department. His students were many and he had a lot of influence in the education world!
The other one was the Chinese department’s most popular hero. He was President Wu’s hand-picked person and was also the most popular teacher in all of the higher learning institutions!
How do you think this could be handled? Who do you think should be held responsible? However you handled this, there would be a problem! Chang Kaige and Zhen Shuquan were both very troubled by this. Old Yan was really too much, he was too focused on qualifications. What do you think you were doing trying to keep this up with a junior? It’s not like you don’t know what kind of person Teacher Little Zhang was. That guy is not a man to be trifled with! He might look like a harmless guy. Everyone’s good when everything is good, but when you provoke him, he wouldn’t care whether or not you’re his relative! Wasn’t the Shanghai SARFT great? In the end? Didn’t they get insulted as grandchildren!
What are you two trying to prove!
If this gets out, no one will look good!
But the truth was, in just a few minutes after Yan Jiantao and Zhang Ye’s quarrel, the whole of the Chinese department knew about it. Then in less than 15 minutes again, the whole of Peking University knew about it!
Translators’ Notes: Just click it. ‘Nuff said.