For my very first lesson of 2011, my preparation included watching the film Secondhand Lions three times. It’s a rough life, I know, but somebody’s got to do it. The second-year elective students watch a film for our lesson together – in English, of course, with subtitles to help out with comprehension. Sometimes, during our discussions of the film, it takes a little teeth-pulling to get them talking, but I can only hope that the process is slowly building their willingness to speak and decreasing their fear of making mistakes.
I’m working towards the same goal with the third-year elective students. Szabina has given me several categories of vocabulary words that these students have to know for their graduations examinations, so we’ll be working through them topic by topic, practicing their speaking skills by doing things like discussing articles, catogorizing pieces of art, and role-playing.
I’ve hear that teachers are not allowed to have favorite students, but if I were permitted, my middle-schoolers in Beregszasz would be at the top of my list. They are often unruly, it’s true, but their energy comes from their excitement and their willingness to learn. They are especially fond of competitive games (like all 10 to 12 year olds), so for the first form’s and second form’s first lessons we played an alphebet game using Quiddler cards. It was something like a mash-up between Rummy and Bingo, and they loved it. My goal was to help them learn the English alphebet, which differs from the Hungarian alphabet primarily in pronunciation. But when one is trying to spell something, those differences become very big … I’ve run across many adult English speakers here who could not spell their names to me in English because they hadn’t had sufficient alphabet practice. I think I’m beginning to remedy that problem in the Beregszasz students.
The eighth-form students in Beregszasz got a lesson on resume creation, a topic in which all my knowledge comes from the spectacular Professor Quentin Schultze at Calvin College.
My first tutoring session with Szebi and Cinti included a beat-the-clock game in which we greeted each other in English as quickly as possible, jumping and walking and sitting to learn the words jump and walk and sit, singing “Head and shoulders, knees and toes” and eating really, really delicious food afterwards (that was the stuffed cabbage and palacsinta meal mentioned in the previous post). Sometimes I think I have a weird job.