Community College/My First Test

Teacher Ye went around the classroom handing back the graded papers. “Lina, 110%. Very good,” she said, with a big smile. Wow, everything right, plus extra credit. The teacher continued handing out the papers, highest grades first, announcing the grade. I knew I had not done well. I was about to be humiliated.

But while part of me cringed, another part was delighted. This was old school Chinese pedagogy, even though I was sitting with 15 adults in a community college just outside of Seattle. I was happy to experience it. I was learning something about Chinese culture. By the time she got to the last couple of papers, there was no smile on her face and she was done announcing scores. I hung my head with embarrassment.

But I was happy nevertheless. I was an absolute novice at Mandarin, and I was on my way.