Thursday, June 25, 2009

Teaching Tang Poetry

I do not know if everyone has a romantic prospect of his or her adulthood profession while they are growing up. When I was a teenager, I wished to be a Chinese teacher in my home village. I wished in a fine spring day, I would instruct children to recite the poetry from Tang Dynasty, meanwhile, spring peach blossoms falling in front of the windows.

If I have not come to America, it was impossible for me to be a Chinese teacher. Fortunately, in America, Chinese is one of the minor languages, and being a native Chinese speaker provides me the opportunity to be a Chinese teacher. I started my teaching career since last year, and last Saturday, I finally got a chance to teach Tang poetry.

We studied two poems, Recollecting Shangdong Brothers at the Ninth Month Ninth Day by Wangwei, and Accidentally Writing when Return Home by Hezhizhang. In spite of the fact that the two poems are too familiar for all Chinese to create a fresh expression, I still insist in their extraordinary excellence. I believe this is just the eternal allurement of Tang poetry.

For my around ten-year-old students, the poem by He is relatively easy, but the poem by Wang is certainly hard to be understood. To push them to study them, I promised gifts for the one who could recite the poems without looking at the book. To my surprise, most of the kids have done a good job on it although they usually showed no interesting in Chinese study in the class. For a few who could not recite, they asked a few more minters to prepare. I was glad to see their serious attitude towards the study. After all of them recited the poems, one even claimed that he could write down them without the reference of the book. I immediately responded that whoever could do that I would present an extra gift to him or her. Thus, they became even more excited. I have never seen such a thrilling atmosphere in the class. In the past, their excitements were never relevant to study. Of course, at this moment, the most proud person was me.

The scene of teaching Tang poetry that I have dreamed numerous times came a little bit unexpectedly. It was not identical with what I portrayed in my childhood. I can never image that my first time teaching Tang poetry was in such a foreign classroom, such a peaceful Saturday morning, and encountering those Chinese kids with little Chinese literary background. Nevertheless, this scene was still so romantic and touching. The two poems are the most typical Tang poems; they are the core of Chinese literature. Regardless all the conditions, neither I care about how long the kids would remember the poems. At that moment, I sensed the essence of Tang poetry springing up on the foreign land and the different time; its magnificent gesture and universal philosophy suddenly expressed. Perhaps, the achievable aspiration is always stand between the realism and the idealism. We are surrounding by our dreams and the reality; this is the manifestation of today.


At 7:05 PM , Blogger Kyoko said...

WOW, Congratulations, Tea!!
Your dream is really coming true slowly but surely. I am so excited!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home