Friday, September 19, 2008

I think I've been duped....

.... into speaking Hungarian.

It all started last year. In June, after a year of my adorable 12.A begging me to speak a single word of Hungarian (and giggling good-naturedly but uproariously whenever I gave in and did), I made them a foolish promise. I promised that in September, I would tell them about my summer in Hungarian. With sentences and everything! I didn't really think they'd understood what I was promising. I really didn't think they'd remember. But they did. Of course. Within 10 minutes of me walking in the door. Since they were so cute about it, I sucked it up and, at the end of class after the 5-minute-warning bell rang, I sputtered out a few sentences about my summer. They all giggled, politely but intensely, and left the classroom looking smug.

Week two, when the warning bell rang, they all looked at me expectantly and began chirping, "Emily! Hungarian minutes? Hungarian minutes?!" "Oh, no!" I said, "That was a one-time thing!" They looked so sulky and disappointed that I came up with a compromise: since their homework was learning a bunch of new vocabulary words, I promised to learn the same words in Hungarian.

Week three, I marched into class with my neatly-printed-out list of English-Hungarian vocab and waved it (perhaps a bit overdramatically) in their faces, proclaiming, "I did MY homework, now where's yours??" Suprisingly, most of them pulled out their papers. I secretly patted myself on the back, thinking I had just found a way to kill three birds: make them learn, learn some new vocab myself, and build rapport with them by letting them think they were forcing me to learn Hungarian, all while not actually having to SPEAK Hungarian to them. Yay, me!

But no. Once again, as soon as the 5-minute bell rang, they started packing up their materials. "Hey, hey, hey!" I chided. "What are you doing? Five minutes more!" "No," they said, completely soberly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, "Hungarian minutes, Emily. Hungarian minutes." "Okay, class dismissed!" I said. "No," they repeated, sitting calmly in their seats with obviosuly no intentions of leaving.

So what could I do? I sputtered for a few minutes, looked at them blankly, until one cheeky student put forward a question about my weekend, which I was able to answer in one or two stumbling sentences. Again, they laughed, a couple clapped, and they all left with self-satisfied looks on their faces.

I wonder how long this game will hold their interest. Twenty-seven more weeks of class.... but only 3 more 'til fall break!

3 comments:

Jo Peattie said...

I am so impressed- you try- maybe I should try too, it is so difficult though.

jrj said...

outsmarting students is awesome.

Mokus said...

Dude, have I ever been there...