Friday, September 19, 2008

The kind of teacher I am

It's 6pm on Friday and I just learned while IMing a friend that today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I am devastated because this would have made today's classes not just good, not great, but some unparalleled level of awesome. Sigh.

When I posted this woeful news in my Gchat status bar I realized I wasn't the only one who was taken by surprise by this unsung holiday:

Kim: Is it really talk like a pirate day?!
Paul: Yes!
Kim: Oh shit
Paul: I know!!

Maybe that I do so much stuff like this in class is the reason why I laughed so hard when I saw this. It's funny because it's true. I've thought about how a combination of being kind of outside the culture already while occupying a teaching position as flexible as conversation practice instructor has encouraged me to be really zany with the students. I've also thought about how maybe I'm just one of those weird teachers.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Take two

After a spectacular whirlwind of a summer, I'm back in Szentes. The summer flew by so fast that I kind of feel like I was just gone for a quick vacation - I can't believe it was really a full two months. Seeing you all this summer was absolutely incredible!

The trip back to Szentes was an arduous one. After a last American meal of a delicious reuben at Sully's my parents dropped me off at Dulles at 2 in the afternoon. After a flight into London Heathrow, an entire day in London walking around, a flight from Luton to Budapest, a train ride to Szentes, and the 3o minute walk from the station dragging my luggage, I arrived here at about 9am two days later. I promptly slept for another two days, but then it was Monday and time to start school! Getting things organized for the school year has pretty much dominated the last two weeks since I arrived. This year I'm teaching 28 lessons a week instead of last years 21, plus I agreed to start an English club. It's certainly a lot of work but the silver lining is that I had great luck with the groups that I have been assigned. I will be spending a lot more time with students that I really like and a couple of my problem groups from last year aren't my problem this year.

This year is going extremely well at school thusfar and it's great to be back with the kids. I found that, while I was too happy to be home this summer to think much about Szentes, I actually did miss being in the classroom with the students. The contrast to where I am now and where I was a year ago is huge - returning and knowing everybody's names already and understanding the ropes has been a nice experience. Colleagues and students alike treat me with much more respect, like a real teacher instead of a random American who wandered into the classroom. Even the Hungarian government is more managable this year, as I already have my residence permit locked in with the government! It's all coming up roses, except of course for the evil old washing machine, which has already flooded my bathroom. Twice.