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A “Brainwasher” and His Class

By: Daniel Qiu

My geography teacher, Mr. Liu, is more than just a fan of geography. He always claims that he thinks and does things “geographically”, as all people working on geography or geology do, and he works hard on spreading this idea. He has a PowerPoint page with questions like “What is this subject?” and “How do geologists think?” on it. It is, of course, normal for a teacher to use a similar presentation in his first class as an introduction to the subject, but he used it time and time again during the whole year. This page soon became his symbol, and thus he was joked as a “brainwasher” by students.

One of his most famous “brainwashing” statements is  “Who you are depends on where you are”. He used it to illustrate the importance of “location” in his class. Like most of my classmates, at first I did not understand it very well, because I thought that I am just who I am, and my character is always constant. I ignored it carelessly.

As we are not going to have geography classes in Grade 11 and 12, at the end of the year our final class of Mr. Liu’s had come. He quickly reviewed the textbooks and gave us time to ask him questions. When there was only five minutes left, he decided to give us a few goodbye words. It was quite a different feeling when we saw his “brainwashing” PPT, as we saw the familiar words which we were too careless to remember. Then he said, “When you look up into the starry night sky in the countryside, or bury yourself in books in a classroom, or tap rapidly on a computer in an office, you are actually different. You think and act differently, which makes you a different person. As I often say, who you are depends on where you are.”

Somehow he was right. A man is not always constant, but is always changing. When we grow up, we change in time, and when we move around, we change in space. He taught us to think in that simple but unusual way.

Perhaps, one experiences more in changes. Our teacher was really a man who did as he said. He once directly went to a mountain with his tent in another city during a seven-day-holiday, and had classes about that mountain right after he returned. His class was definitely different due to his action. In the end, he was quite a remarkable teacher.


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