A Typical Day Teaching in Budapest


untitled1.jpgI wake up at six so I can leave at six-thirty and arrive at the school by seven. My first class starts at seven-thirty, and I almost always have copies to make or activities to search for. Sometimes I have to wait for the receptionist to arrive, which is a bit nerve-wracking as I want to make sure I’m prepared in time.

My first class happens to be made up of a lot of folks in their fifties or sixties. Many are returning students who have somehow passed through the other classes but are not really up to the level. This makes it difficult to plan lessons that are appropriate for them and challenging enough for the new students who were correctly placed. One activity that is a winner all around is spending the first ten minutes talking about current events — first in pairs and then breifly as a group. I am never very sad when the class ends at nine.

When nine o’clock rolls around it’s time for a coffee and some pogacsa, a bread I first encountered in Eastern Europe but found out is translated into English as “scone”. I learn something new every day.

Some days I have a three-hour class directly following this one, but not today: I have a one-to-one lesson with two sisters — Julia and Anna — who are 9 and 7, and this doesn’t start until three-thirty. They spent five years in England and are totally fluent, so they don’t really need “lessons,” but rather activities in English to keep them from forgetting.

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I spend my morning compiling activities for later classes and pick up three tiny sandwiches from a cutesy shop across the way. I stop at the indoor market on the way home, buy some fruit, and then hang out at home until it is time for the sisters.

We play a board game, and as usual, there are squabbles about who gets to sit next to me (I sit in the middle), who gets to go first (we roll a dice, but it still isn’t really fair because Anna has now had the chance to go first twice), and how long each of us can speak (I set a time limit and check my watch). Further problems arise when we try to determine who has won…Anna can’t really win if she went first and Julia hasn’t had the same number of turns. Somehow we get through the hour and a half without any tears and Julia asks me for homework.

I head back to the school for my Advanced class. This one is made up of young adults who are very similar in level and ability and we usually have interesting discussions. Tonight it is a crossword puzzle with adjectives to describe people and a discussion about which words are typically thought of as male and which as female, and if this difference reflects reality. At 7:45 we are done and I hurry to make notes on what I covered and leave because the school is locked up at eight.