Monday, July 28, 2008
learning the poem of Flash Cards
Finally we can get access to free Internet. Since Mike mentioned we still had no entries about teaching the Chinese poems to American students, I'd like to talk about it a little bit because since now I haven't found anything exciting here, except for a passionate cowboy teacher.
That lesson on exchanging views on poems really impressed me, maybe because our group worked with two brilliant students, Amy and Esther, who are good teachers at explaining things and also eager to learn about foreign languages and culture. First they chose the Chinese poem An Autumn Night, which is about Chinese Valentines' Day, and we told them about the ancient myth of the heart-broken stars that they really love. Then we transfered to English poem Flash Cards by Rita Dove. The first time I read it, I was totally lost. But they explained it word by word with great patience, and of course with help from Mike, I finally got to know the feeling Rita wanted to express in this little poem, that is a mixed and complicated emotion. On one hand, she wanted to satisfy her father and make him proud of her, not disappoined of her. On the other hand, as a ten-year-old child, she wondered why she had so huge burdens on her and so many stuffs to learn. I have to say many Asian kids have the same experiences and feelings because the environment is full of competition. Actually I did have this strong feeling when I was a kid. So when I read the poem again and again, I kept thinking that there are some familiar things in each culture.
A lot of thanks to Amy and Esther, and also to Mike, to let me know more about America. Here I put this poem, to let all people appreciate it.
In math I was the whiz kid, keeper
of oranges and apples. What you don’t understand,
master, my father said; the faster
I answered, the faster they came.
I could see one bud on the teacher’s geranium,
one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane.
The tulip tree always dragged after heavy rain
so I tucked my head as my boots slapped home.
My father put up his feet after work
and relaxed with a highball and The Life of Lincoln.
After supper we drilled and I climbed the dark
before sleep, before a thin voice hissed
numbers as I spun on a wheel. I had to guess.
Ten, I kept saying, I’m only ten.