Tang Poetry (in response to my Chinese class)

I wrote this poem when I was taking a Chinese language course during my Master’s degree.  As a 4th generation Chinese-American, I experienced a lot of frustration not only because learning the language is extremely difficult but also because my instructor had preconceived ideas on what I should already know according to my heritage (which actually was nothing!).  Written on November 18, 2010

Tang Poetry (in response to my Chinese class)

The Chinese educational system
measures each student on end results
Like a stick, for length and width
But a stick of balsa wood is different from spruce
different from bamboo
If a balsa stick breaks, the system would blame it for not being as strong as spruce or bamboo
If spruce cracks, it will be blamed for not flexing like bamboo
each student comes from a different background
with different strengths and weaknesses
It is not for lack of trying that a balsa wood might break
but it can float or fly where others would sink.

©2010 Lydia Tang Swada

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