On June 7, Luo Xiaoyan, a 44-year-old Chinese teacher, went to take the college entrance — called the gaokao — again, 28 years after he had already passed it. Why? To encourage his son who was dreading taking the exam.
All for his son
Luo Xiaoyan has had severe myopia since childhood, and has therefore always worn a pair of thick glasses. He sat for the gaokao for the first time in 1988, and achieved the highest score in Chinese language and literature among all the students in his region. He was successfully admitted to the Southwest Normal University, and has been a Chinese teacher of elementary school since he graduated.
Last summer, Luo took a road trip to Tibet with his friends. When they were passing through Tanggula Pass, he noticed a phrase that really touched his heart. It said:
“Higher than the altitude is one’s ambition; one can be short of breath, but not braveness.”
Luo said the phrase awakened him to think of his son who is an introvert, and whose school performance had been wavering. Luo knew that when his son encountered any trouble or difficulties, he tended to shy away from it. Luo then joked to his friends that they should take the gaokao and set an example for their children. His friends all smiled and agreed.
However, after returning home to Chongqing, his friends refused to attend the gaokao with him. Luo didn’t give up, and registered at the local exam center. The center staff said it was the first time they experienced someone come to re-sit the exam so long after passing it.
Luo’s son is in the second year of senior high school. Through taking the exam, Luo said he wanted to show his son: “I, a middle-aged man who hadn’t studied for 28 years, can still have the courage to face the gaokao. Will you, a young man who has studied for 18 years, be afraid of this?”
Luo got a few review materials from his friends. During Luo’s interview with Chongqing Evening News, the reporter noticed his books were carefully noted. “The last time when I took the gaokao was 28 years ago; now, I have forgotten almost everything covered in the exam, and can barely pick up math and English. I feel more confident in Chinese language and literature.”
Luo said sometimes he would wake up at 2 A.M. or 3 A.M. to study for the exam. “I also found some classic poems online that were usually covered in the past exams to memorize, and have downloaded some of the past exams for practice,” said Luo.
Because he has to work during the day, he could only prepare for the exam at night. When he felt tired from reviewing Chinese language and literature, he would go through geology.
When asked whether he would attend a college again if he passed the exam, Luo said it was almost impossible for him to pass the line, because he hasn’t touched math or English for 28 years since the exam.
“Why don’t you take the gaokao next year at the same time as your son?” asked the reporter. Luo replied: “If I took the exam at the same time as my son, it would put pressure on him. If I take the gaokao ahead of him, however I did in the exam would motivate him.”
Luo’s wife is also a Chinese teacher. She said she really respects her husband’s courage and confidence.
The day before the exam
The day before the exam, Luo went to where the exam would be taken to familiarize himself with the place. He looked relaxed. Luo said, after a period of reviewing, he’s still confused with math and English.
“My knowledge is not ready, but I’m mentally prepared,” he said. “I don’t pursue a high score, as if I do bad, my son won’t feel pressured; if I do well, he will be motivated.” For what Luo has done, Luo’s students respect him very much.
Luo’s son said he is very grateful for what his dad has done for him; he understands his dad, and he hopes he can do well in next year’s gaokao.