Tuesday, April 24, 2018


We all have the same roots and we are all branches of the same tree.  ~Aang (in Avatar: The Last Airbender)


Testing means work silently (all by yourself) but we
are accustomed to collaboration. We know we are all
smarter when we work together, but we have
to take the
test alone. It is not the same
as (all those times) when we discovered how our (very different) roots
could lead us to common understanding. Testing is too quiet and
the air is filled with tension. We
struggle silently (on our own) until we are
all finished. At last we get our voices back and we are all
of us (once again) like branches
(grafted from many nations and cultures) of
(strong enough to support us all and tested by time) same
(collaboration makes us all smarter) tree.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2018


  1. Ugh! I don't know a teacher who likes test time. You touch on an important effect of testing: silencing student voices.

  2. That's a really big concept in a very short quote. You really worked it out in the poem, and I can imagine that this goes to a child who HATES that quiet sitting down... and yet perhaps now they understand a little more.

  3. Love this one, and I love the way that the parenthetical are like a thicket of voices waving their twigs and leaves, arching to be heard. Also “tested by time”. :)

  4. I have SO MANY THOUGHTS about this... testing and the sort of artificial inhumanity of it... you captured it well...