Monday, April 17, 2006

Beijing - Haidian Foreign Language Experimental School - Flag-Raising CeremonyThe flag-raising ceremony at Haidian Foreign Language Experimental School is an important activity for my students. Often, the brightest or hardest-working students are allowed an opportunity to present some kind of motivational or confessional speech of their own creation to their classmates. Over the past two years, as I teach an accelerated English method, I have helped many of my students work on their English presentations. Although us teachers generally arrive at school after this ceremony has taken place, I have observed and even participated in a few of them.

My fifth-grade students are presenting a poem this morning, which seems a little out of the ordinary from the usual flag-raising fare. The poem was composed by the class as a whole and they have asked the two fifth-grade teachers, Mr. Henderson and I, to help them in their presentation of the English translation of the poem. Considering my background, I thought it a nice request and immediately agreed to participate. So Mr. Henderson and I will go to school at 8AM today to take part in this event. We have to share speaking of the lines with the math teacher, another student's parent, and a native-English Canadian student, which means we only have about three or four lines to read, but that's really no matter. Here is a transcript of the poem we will read:
Although I am a flower, it is impossible for me to be the whole spring;
Although I am a drop of water, it is impossible for me alone to form a big river;
Although I am a tree, it is impossible for me to shape a huge forest;
Although I am a rock, it is impossible for me to resemble the greatness of Tai Mountain.

If we were flowers, there would be the world of flowers;
If we were water, there would be waves of water;
If we were trees, there would be green shades of trees;
If we were rocks, there would be charms of mountains.

We are an intact class
and strive for the class
but not just for ourselves.

Facing glories, do not only consider myself;
Before joys, do not only think of myself;
Facing happiness, do not only ponder myself;
Before benefits, do not only count myself.

Whenever in trouble, count me in;
Whenever shouldered with burden, count me in;
Whatever responsibilities, count me in;
Whenever facing adversity, count me in.

If only numerous individuals strive for the whole class,
Nothing is impossible to create.
Listen to the podcast here (4.6MB/18m 47s).

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