Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Shout-out to 1.b

So, I know it's "against the rules" of teaching to pick favorites...even though every teacher has favorites. After a month of teaching, I have chosen both a favorite class AND a favorite student. First, I should probably give a short explanation of how schools work here in Hungary. Unlike the United States, classes stay together throughout their primary schooling (through 8th grade). This means that each class does not disband at the end of every year and then get assorted into a new group for the next year...rather, they continue on as a class through each grade. I see positive and negative aspects to this, which I won't get into now. But the biggest reason I can gather for this tradition that has been in place for several decades now is the sense of comradeship that comes with getting to know your fellow 25 or 30 students throughout your primary schooling. Considering Hungary's sad history, which has been constantly filled with uncertainty and isolation, it is understandable that it is part of the culture here to feel the need to work together and to have people to help and count on as they embark on the road of education. There is a huge element of pessimism among people here, where the idea of just "waiting for the next bad thing to come our way", prevails. Therefore, it is important to have this connection to fall back on. Okay, enough of the cultural lessons for today...onto the fun stuff. There are three 1st grade classes at Varosliget Primary School...1.a, 1.b, and 1.c. I have taken a special interest in 1.b. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE all of the 1st graders...but this class is very special in my opinion, and I am happy to know they will stay together through 8th grade. I have never seen a group of kids 1) so well-behaved...it's a miracle, and 2) so excited about EVERYTHING. When we sing songs, it is a straight-up dance party in the classroom...complete with air guitar and mock ballroom dancing. I pull out flashcards to learn new words, and these kids bounce off of the walls. I had the privilege of going to the zoo with the class last week, and they just spent the whole time enthralled with both learning the animal names in English, and teaching ME some names in Hungarian (for a day picker-upper, I recommend looking at my pictures from the day...you can't help but smile when you see these kids). After looking at my pictures, you will notice who my favorite student is...little Oliver. Our little connection started after he had a dream about me one night. He said (translated through his teacher) he dreamed that I was able to speak fluent Hungarian and that he was so happy to be able to get to know me and have me really know him because we could talk (I know, SO cute). Ever since then, he's been my little magnet, and every time I walk into the room he lights up. I cannot tell you the amount of joy this brings me! He used to be shy in class, and now he raises his hand BEFORE I ask a question in hopes that he can answer! It's funny...growing up, there's always that boy you wake up and go to school for. The one you purposefully get pretty for every day. Well, 1.b and little Oliver serve as my motivation on those days where it's a little tougher to get out of bed...on the days when I'm homesick and tired. They are my reason to get out of bed in the morning!

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