The metal gate slid slowly in its track. A face appeared. Swirling dust was, meanwhile, covering our faces and hair while the sun beat down on our shoulders and heads. Every second outside the gate felt unbearable. Until we were inside the gate and then the trapped heat greeted our sooty faces like steam from a pot of rice.
Passing row upon row of bench seats filled with students in blue and white uniforms. Old chalkboards were filled to the brim with writing in the same way every square inch of space was filled with a body clad in royal blue pants with crisp white blouses. It was difficult to imagine learning in such a crowded, cramped and overheated environment. But my cavalier American education had catered too intensely to my whims and feelings. It had not prepared me for the real world where education is a priviledge to be worked for — not a right to be abused and disdained.
The students before me in blue and white would never throw grapes at their Literature Arts teacher when she wasn’t looking. I didn’t recognize how truly grateful I should have been for my own desk, school supplies and air conditioning. My days of being an asshole on purpose were long gone. Now I was just an asshole when I got too hot or too hungry.