Chapter 12 Teacher-Student Relationship (1)
Everyone in the Academy had to be evaluated, and the same was true of professors. People assumed that the job of a teacher was to judge someone; in reality they had to earn it, from proving themselves in their research accomplishments to analyzing their teaching methodology to giving out their lectures. Both students and teachers were on the receiving end of being assessed.
In this regard, student registration during the new semester was always a source of fear for teachers. Depending on how successful the last semester was, the number of students signing up for a class either increased or decreased. Of course, for a popular professor this was not a problem.
Wayne Hill, in charge of “Plants, Insects, and Earth,” sighed in front of the Academy office. At first glance he appeared to be a student, but in reality he was a full-fledged professor who had been teaching for two years at the Academy. On the downside, he had also suffered the pain of his classes being closed due to lack of interest. He wondered what would happen this semester. Wayne Hill remembered the scary face of the dean.
“Professor Hill, I hope we can teach many students the wonders of nature next semester.”
Wayne wanted to teach as much as possible, of course, but his classes had always been unpopular, likely due to his own timid personality. He couldn’t even tell a proper joke in class. He wished could be a more interesting person or get used to public speaking.
He fixed his thick glasses. It didn’t help his nerves, so he scratched his gray hair. Alright. He hugged the heavy book of plant illustrations he brought with him for emotional support and pushed open the door.
The principal’s office was usually a quiet and solemn place, but the start of the semester was a different story. It was crowded with new students picking up schedules, professors confirming student registration, and general busy office work. There’s even a saying that went “overtime for the new semester.”
Wayne approached the clerk in charge of class registration.
“Ah, Professor Hill is here!”
The clerk was an amiable young male employee. His expression was kind, even though his eyes were dark with exhaustion. Wayne hoped he was alright. He couldn’t muster a word of concern and simply stammered out “Class registration.” This timid personality. He hated it.
“Ah, you mean the class registration for ‘Plants, Insects and Soil?’”
The cheerful clerk opened a large drawer and began to dig through the files. Each time he flipped through a document, Wayne’s heart skipped a beat. He already glimpsed two sheets of paper with the word “Canceled” written in red. Of course, there were some advantages to a canceled class. He definitely had more time for private study, but that was about it. The cost of research and support decreased, and if it continued, he could be kicked out of the Academy in no time. He better have a class as long as he could.
“Ah, here it is!”
The clerk took out a thin paper file.
Wayne Hill quickly grabbed the files and left the office in a hurry. Oh my god. The attendance book was so thin. In this case, he hoped for a single outcome: for there to be five students, the minimum number of people who could prevent the class from being closed.
‘Is it canceled or…’
Please, Goddess of the Grass! Mother of the Earth! Please save me from cancellation!
He slowly opened the file with squinted eyes. He couldn’t find the courage to look inside it at once, so he turned his head to look at the clear sky outside the window then glanced down at the file.
Total Number of Students: 5.
Wayne Hill’s hand trembled. These five students, though small in number, were his lifeline. He can teach! He’ll prove it!
There was someone beside him who seemed to echo his relief. Wayne Hill turned his head in surprise to see the person next to him. It was a slim girl with waist-length blonde hair. The crisp uniform indicated to him that she was a freshman. Come to think of it, he’d seen her somewhere before. Where?
It wouldn’t come to him, so Wayne Hill looked over at her a little more. The girl was holding the schedule she had just received, and it seemed like everything was going according to plan for her, just like Wayne’s attendance book. He smiled absent-mindedly. It was strange to feel a sense of fellowship with a student.
She suddenly turned to look at Wayne as if she felt his stare, fixing him with purple eyes full of healthy curiosity.
Wayne Hill dropped his large book on illustrated plants in surprise.
The hard edges of the heavy book struck him on the foot and he sank to the floor in pain. The book lay crumpled on the floor. What kind of professor becomes surprised at the sight of a first-year? He wanted to die in embarrassment. He was a pathetic sight. What if there were rumors about this? It would be a problem if even one out of five students in his class dropped out.
“Are you all right?”
The girl quickly knelt in front of him.
Wayne Hill rubbed his foot while the girl quickly picked up the fallen book.
“This is an illustrated encyclopedia on plants by Dr. Rogers.”
It wasn’t until Wayne Hill looked up and saw the student in front of him looking delightedly at the encyclopedia. The look in her eye was of someone who had seen their favorite book.
“I’m sorry that your book was crumpled.”
She flattened the corners of the book, frowning.
Wayne accepted the book and gave a small bow in gratitude.
“I won’t have any problem reading it like this.”
“But it’s a precious book.”
Her eyes were still glued to the cover of the book. Wayne couldn’t help but ask the young girl who seemed to recognize its value.
“Have you read it?”
“In my father’s study. He had a collection of his personal favorite books which I liked to read myself.”
“Your father has a good eye for books.”
“Even if one can’t read, Dr. Rogers’ illustrations are still invaluable!”
The girl was still kneeling in front of Wayne and she clasped her hands in excitement.
“Dr. Rogers was an artist, an adventurer and a scholar. The collection of his genius is in this one book!”
Wayne completely agreed with her.
“Yes. His writings about his travels are in here. The importance of it is unimaginable.”
“It’s already two hundred years old, but even after another two hundred years, it’s still going to be a classic!”
Her enthusiastic reply made Wayne Hill smile. The pain on his foot was long forgotten.
“…I’m sorry. Why am I saying this all of a sudden?”
The girl seemed a little embarrassed.
“I guess I was just excited to find out that my favorite class wasn’t canceled. Pardon me.”
Wayne nodded. He was happy his own class wasn’t canceled too. She seemed to hesitate for a moment then introduced herself.
“I’m Louise Sweeney. This is my first year here.”
Wayne Hill suddenly remember where he had seen her before.
“You’re the top student of the class!”
“It’s a little embarrassing if you remember me from that. “
“And you’re the only daughter of the Sweeney family.”
Wayne Hill, who studied biology, knew her family well. He was once asked to conduct research with them.
Louise looked at Professor Hill as if wondering who he was. Of course, not many people knew his identity and most of the professors that taught here were over forty years old. Wayne Hill, twenty-five, held the record for the youngest ever teacher, but he didn’t look much like a faculty member.
He stood up with the plant encyclopedia and the attendance book. Encouraged, he reached his hand out to Louise. It was remarkable considering how wary he usually was with strangers.
“I’m Professor Wayne Hill.”
Louise pushed herself up from the floor in surprise.
“Professor Wayne Hill?!”
Louise clutched at her schedule and looked at him in shock.
“You mean Professor Wayne Hill, the genius who became an Academy professor at the age of twenty-three?”
“Well, Miss, I’m not really a genius…”
“I read your thesis from my father’s bookshelf!”
“Mr. Sweeney always overestimates me. I can’t believe a paper like that ended up in that glorious library…”
He bowed his head deeply, hugging his thick book.
“I was hoping to meet you at the Academy! I’m so happy.”
Louise glanced at her watch then looked up apologetically.
“I guess I should go now.”
“Yes, I can’t be late for the first class, even if I don’t want to go.”
Louise bowed politely.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Professor.”
He was surprised to see that she seemed sincere in her happiness. As if she understood his troubled face, she gave him a gentle smile. What a kind girl.
By the time he broke from his thoughts Louise Sweeney was already several steps away. It wasn’t until she disappeared beyond the hall did he open his attendance book. His eyes fell on familiar name written on it
It seemed that this student, who was interested enough in plants to read Dr. Rogers ‘ book, was in his class. He had a hunch that they would make a fairly good teacher-student relationship. Somehow.