Taking a Stand坚定你的立场

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Taking a Stand坚定你的立场
2009-03-25 11:46:16    作者: 刘克(译)     来源: 新东方 Taking a Stand

The summer before fifth grade, my world was turned upside down when my family moved from the country town where I was born and raised to a town near the beach. When school began, I found it difficult to be accepted by the kids in my class who seemed a little more sophisticated, and who had been in the same class together since first grade.

I also found this Catholic school different from the public school I had attended. At my old school, it was acceptable to express yourself to the teacher. Here, it was considered outrageous to even suggest a change be made in the way things were done.

My mom taught me that if I wanted something in life, I had to speak up or figure out a way to make it happen. No one was going to do it for me. It was up to me to control my destiny.

I quickly learned that my classmates were totally intimidated by the strict Irish nuns who ran the school. My schoolmates were so afraid of the nuns’ wrath that they rarely spoke up for themselves or suggested a change.

Not only were the nuns intimidating, they also had some strange habits. The previous year, my classmates had been taught by a nun named Sister Rose. This year, she came to our class to teach music several times a week.

One day during music, I announced to Sister Rose that the key of the song we were learning was too high for our voices. Every kid in the class turned toward me with wide eyes and looks of total disbelief. I had spoken my opinion to a teacher ― one of the Irish nuns!

That was the day I gained acceptance with the class. Whenever they wanted something changed, they’d beg me to stick up for them. I was willing to take the punishment for the possibility of making a situation better and of course to avoid any special attention from Rose. But I also knew that I was being used by my classmates who just couldn’t find their voices and stick up for themselves.

Things pretty much continued like this through sixth and seventh grades. Although we changed teachers, we stayed in the same class together and I remained the voice of the class.

At last, eighth grade rolled around and one early fall morning our new teacher, Mrs. Haggard― not a nun, but strict nevertheless― announced that we would be holding elections for class representatives. I was elected Vice President.

That same day, while responding to a fire drill, the new president and I were excitedly discussing our victory when, suddenly, Mrs. Haggard appeared before us with her hands on her hips. The words that came out of her mouth left me surprised and confused. “You’re impeached!” she shouted at the two of us. My first reaction was to burst out laughing because I had no idea what the word “impeached” meant. When she explained that we were out of office for talking during a fire drill, I was devastated.

Our class held elections again at the beginning of the second semester. This time, I was elected president, which I took as a personal victory. I was more determined than ever to represent the rights of my oppressed classmates.

My big opportunity came in late spring. One day, the kids from the other eighth grade class were arriving at school in “free dress,” wearing their coolest new outfits, while our class arrived in our usual uniforms: the girls in their pleated wool skirts and the boys in their salt and pepper pants. “How in the world did this happen?” we all wanted to know. One of the eighth graders from the other class explained that their teacher got permission from our principal, Sister Anna, as a special treat for her students.
We were so upset that we made a pact to go in and let our teacher know that we felt totally ripped off. We agreed that when she inevitably gave us what had become known to us as her famous line, “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” we’d finally do it. We’d walk out together.

Once in the classroom, I raised my hand and stood up to speak to our teacher. About eight others rose to show their support. I explained how betrayed we felt as the seniors of the school to find the other eighth graders in free dress while we had to spend the day in our dorky uniforms. We wanted to know why she hadn’t spoken on our behalf and made sure that we weren’t left out of this privilege.

As expected, instead of showing sympathy for our humiliation, she fed us her famous line, “If you don’t like it, you can leave.” One by one, each of my classmates shrank slowly back into their seats. Within seconds, I was the only one left standing.

I began walking out of the classroom, and Mrs. Haggard commanded that I continue on to the principal’s office. Sister Anna, surprised to see me in her office so soon after school had begun, asked me to explain why I was there. I told her that as class president, I had an obligation to my classmates to represent them. I was given the option to leave if I didn’t like the way things were, so I did. I believed that it would have been a lie for me to sit back down at that point.

She walked me back to class and asked Mrs. Haggard to tell her version of the situation. Mrs. Haggard’s side seemed to be different from what the class had witnessed. Then something incredible happened. Some of my classmates began shouting protests from their desks in response to Mrs. Haggard’s comments. “That’s not true,” they countered. “She never said that,” they protested.

It was too much of a stretch for them to stand up and walk out with me that day, but I knew something had clicked inside of them. At least they finally spoke up.

Perhaps they felt that they owed me. Or they realized that we’d soon be at different high schools and I wouldn’t be there to stick up for them anymore. I’d rather believe that when they spoke up that day, they had finally chosen to take control of their own destinies.

I can still hear their voices.














我们十分气愤,大家约好一起去找老师, 想告诉她我们完全被愚弄了。我们全都同意如果她仍不可避免地说出那句早被我们熟知的“名言”——“如果你不喜欢,你就可以走。”那么我们就会真的那样做。一起走出教室。







(原文作者:Irene Dunlap)