The walls are different. The teachers are different. The books are different. The students are different. The views from the windows are different. The desks are different. The coffee machine is different. The bells are different.
Many things are different.
Instead of whiteboards, most classes have chalkboards. Instead of a building that was built about five years ago, it looks like a showroom of communist school architecture. Instead of looking like a new hospital, it looks like an old insane asylum. Why do high schools always resemble a home for sick people? The one I went to didn’t, it just looked like military barracks.
Many young students are eager to learn in a new school. Many older students are eager to get out of an old school. Many classes have a few students who want to talk more than others. Many classes have a few students who don’t want to talk at all.
Everyone has their own name. I have 13 different groups with an average of about 15 students. Plus, all of the other teachers. This year has an advantage over last year in that I’m familiar with Hungarian names. I remember some of them, and I just give nicknames to those who I don’t know. “Guy in the red shirt, what’s the answer to question 7?” “Girl in the corner, how do you pronounce this word?” It’s perfect as long as they don’t change clothes or move seats. “Guy in the red shirt, we have a new rule today - you can’t change your shirt. Ever. Good luck getting a date. I advise you to just study a lot.”
I’m getting into the swing of things. It’s very similar to last year, and it’s very different. What I teach is more organized, but the disorganized nature of a Hungarian school is the same. Every question I ask to my boss or another teacher leaves me with five new questions. The moral of that story is to not ask questions.
The whiteboards that I had last year made everything feel modern, but they were boring. You don’t really feel like a teacher until you’re covered in chalk. Plus, pieces of chalk are better than markers. They’re cheap, so I can have as many as I want. Why is this useful? Because they tend to explode when they come into sudden contact with a sleeping/talking student from the other side of the classroom. Discipline is good.
Now, I have good news and bad news. They’re both the same thing: city life has been keeping me busy. It’s good for me and bad for you. I’m constantly running around doing things, meeting new people, exploring new places, and learning new things. I seem to be in a time warp, though, because 3 o’clock in the afternoon suddenly turns into 1:30 or 2 in the morning. This doesn’t allow much time before my alarm clock starts ringing at 6:30, so I haven’t been writing much here.
That problem will soon be solved. I’m settling into a routine now, so I’ll soon be back to my old ways of writing on a regular basis (in theory). As for my “Daily Photo”, I have plenty of them. They’re happily sitting in my camera waiting for me to share them with you. I’ll work on that. If you have a problem with it, I’ll throw chalk at you.
Hungarian word of the day:
Pronounced Cray-taw, and it means “chalk”. The magical little white sticks that have so many uses in the classroom.