Saturday, January 26, 2008

Private Students

Apparently the one New Year’s Resolution that everyone and their mother made was to study English, because I’ve been inundated with new private students recently. At last count, it’s 14 lessons a week, which isn’t as terrible as it sounds, due to three things:

1. The piles of cash, in 1500 forint increments, I keep finding everywhere - in random pockets, on tables, in bags, stuffed into books... Even though a couple lessons I do for free, and some others are sketchy about paying on time, it still adds up to at least 15,000 a week. Sweet.

2. Most lessons take little or no prep time. In most cases, I take whatever book/materials we’re using, photocopy the next few pages, maybe find some supplementary activities, and I’m ready to go.

3. Unlike previous years, I actually like most of my private students (have you ever tried provoking conversation with someone with who you have nothing in common? It’s mind-numbing). Three of my favorites (since lists of three seem to be my thing today):

The Little Girl: 9 years old, third grade, incredibly basic English. Last time we worked on days of the week, of which she knew none. In addition to being adorable, she’s incredibly smart - I tell her a word twice, and it’s branded into her head forever. Plus, I like to think that it’s because of me that her accent is so good.

The Student: one of Varga’s students approached me for extra lessons, mainly to prepare for the language exam he’s taking in a few months. We meet twice a week and work on a variety of materials. I like him simply because he seems a lot like me at that age. I have some doubts about his ability to pass this exam, but - whether he does or not, after the exam I know our lessons will be over, and I’ll miss them.

The Mom: one of my newest students; she’s the mother of a Varga student who this year is studying abroad in, of all places, Minnesota. We meet three times a week, so it’s a good thing I love lessons with her so much (seriously, when I close the door behind her after a lesson, I usually have to do some sort of happy dance or sing my-god-i-love-her under my breath). Her English is very, very basic, but she’s incredibly, contagiously enthusiastic, not afraid of mistakes (she self-corrects a lot) and even after a short time I can see her improving.

And starting next week, I’m getting one or two new students... yikes. Well, it’s nice being busy...


Paul said...

Apologies for the random comment, but I stumbled across your blog this week. (I had the feeble, misguided hope that I could find túró rudi in America via Google. Your blog was one of the first search results.) I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences. Not only have you helped fill in some pointless hours in the office, but it’s been great to relive the “American-trying-to-adapt-to-Hungary” experience through someone else’s eyes. It’s a great place and your depictions are both entertaining and true. Thanks.

jrj said...

emily's got a case of milf-fever... giggle giggle giggle.