Once a student felt that their academic level was beyond what their current class was teaching, they could take an examination to try to enter a higher class. Class A was the best class in the academy and the students who could pass its exams were considered qualified to take the official child student exam.
When Su Tang took Su Nuo to the academy, she saw there were other people with their children there who had formed a line waiting to sign up. After waiting through the line, the children would be greeted by a young teacher at a desk who would ask them a few questions to decide their placement. Of course, because most of them were children from nearby farming villages, being able to recognize one’s own written name was already considered to have a foundation.
Su Tang watched how the people in front of them were sorted carefully. It seemed that those who couldn’t recognize many kanji were all assigned to Class D. Meanwhile, the young teacher in charge of the exams would sigh occasionally, seemingly disappointed in the level of the students this time.
Then it was Su Nuo’s turn. As the students all went to talk to the man by themselves, Su Tang could only let go of his hand and usher the little guy to go forward by himself.
Although he was nervous and perturbed, the little guy still puffed out his chest and went forward to the examiner. Most of the other children only had to answer a few questions before being sorted, but Su Nuo was held back and questioned for a comparatively long time, so it was a little while before Su Tang saw the little guy coming back out. When he finally did come out, his face was flushed red with happiness and he was carrying his new student token. He called, “Sister, it seems I will be in Class B!”
As soon as he finished speaking, several of the other parents and children who had been assigned to Class D looked over out of curiosity. When they saw that this new fellow who had gotten into Class B was a small child with a slightly bigger sister there, with both of them wearing white mourning clothes and apparently having no parents or other adults around, they couldn’t help but stagger with disbelief.
On the contrary, when Su Tang heard the little guy had been directly placed into Class B even with his level, she couldn’t help but sigh at this academy’s standards. She had known it couldn’t be very good, but she hadn’t expected it to be so bad. It seemed that this wouldn’t be any sort of long-term solution. She would still have to look for a reliable and high-level teacher for her brother to acknowledge.
She decided that, after a few days, she would go over to the county seat and have a look. After all, she still hadn’t really spent any time in the county seat and didn’t know what sort of standards the schools over there had.
“Well done, this shows that all of your efforts until now have not been in vain. In the future, you’ll need to continue working hard so you can continue moving forward on this path Xiao Nuo!” Although she didn’t have anything nice to say about the teaching level of Qinghe Academy, Su Tang still smiled and encouraged her younger brother.
The little guy, who had just gotten a good result from the academy and was also then praised by his sister, was so happy he was practically on cloud nine. He said happily, “En, I will certainly keep working hard.”
Seeing that the teachers were still working on dividing the students into their classes, Su Tang was about to take her brother aside to wait until the teacher from Class B arrived to take him in. However, before waiting even a moment, she saw a young teacher coming out of the examination room. He looked around and quickly spotted Su Nuo and Su Tang and then walked over.
“Are you Su Yongnuo’s sister?” He asked.
In fact, this young man was actually the youngest teacher in the academy. He had already managed to pass the child student exam at the young age of 18, and he could be regarded as an excellent seedling from Qinghe Town’s younger generation.
When Zheng Zhong had been examining Su Nuo just now, he had discovered that the child actually had a quick mind and a solid foundation, so he had asked who his teacher was. Being asked by a teacher from the academy, Su Nuo immediately responded honestly and told him that his sister had taught him.
This answer was also a bit of surprise to Zheng Zhong, so the young teacher became a bit curious about Su Nuo’s sister. He had thought she would probably be a scholarly young lady, but he had never expected she would actually be a little girl.
Su Tang realized he was talking to her, so she looked up at him and replied, “I am. Is something wrong with Xiao Nuo?”
Zheng Zhong had only been a bit curious, so when he heard the little girl’s question he smiled reassuringly and replied: “No, there’s no issue. Su Yongnuo has a good foundation, he should be able to enter Class A very soon, after he has studied in Class B for a while. I was just curious about who his teacher was, if my actions were too abrupt, I hope the young lady will forgive me.”
In fact, although he had only asked Su Nuo about some simple fundamental knowledge, his responses had surprised Zheng Zhong and made the latter sense that there was some deeper understanding in the child’s words. However, he couldn’t say that, so in response to Su Tang’s question, he could only deflect away and blame his approach on his own curiosity.
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