Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Answering by rote: FAIL

Today I was playing a speaking game with my students. I drew a card that said "Tell the others two positve things and two negative things about yourself."

"Well," I began confidently, "A good thing about me is-" and then my brain froze. I stuttered on. "Um, I mean, a bad thing about me is, yeah, sometimes I'm selfish, and, and, and..." I had nothing.

Big deal, right? We all have brain farts now and then. But there's something very important to remember, which I'll point out here for the benefit for all 3 of my readers who aren't other English teachers in Hungary. I spend my life answering these questions. The same ones, over and over. What's your favorite band / music / color / food / class / thing about Hungary? What did you do at the weekend? Describe your family. Describe your ideal teacher / husband / friend. Descibe your personality. These are the question-and-answers that are drilled into the heads of Hungarian students. These are all things that, 95% of the time, I can rattle off without thinking about. Except for today.

Luckily, I have awesome students.

"Well, you're kinda lazy," one said helpfully.

"Yes!" Never been so grateful to be insulted. "Yes, bad things about me are that I'm selfish and lazy. Good things are.... uhm.... I'm a good cook, and...."

"And you have a good accent," offered another. Well, duh, but thanks. I'll adore anyone who tells me they prefer my American accent to the British one they learn normally.

"And you like beer!" Okay, someone else's turn to speak.

8 comments:

mom of 3, hater of cheese and birds said...

I'm one of your 3 non-teacher readers, and have enjoyed reading your adventures. I grew up in the US with a crazy Hungarian mother and grandmother. I have many times made it back from the "near death" of going out with wet hair, and ate Paprikás Csirke every week. My mother often both things in the states that resembled things she used in Hungarian, but they were invariably wrong (there was an incident with men's underwear that comes to mind). Stop by any time, I would be happy to answer any questions you have about Hungarians. I am actually coming to visit for the first time this summer, after living 33 years as an American, who just happens to speak a strange second language nobody has ever heard of here.

zhaoman said...

I'm another non-teacher reader, and I would like to add you do like beer! Unfortunately no experience if you are a good cook, though you might be.

Brieggy said...

HILARIOUS. I love when the students are helpful...

anita said...

another non-teacher reader here. I love your blog and your personality. I'm the daughter of Hungarian immigrants, living in the U.S. and I wish I had done what you are doing in my twenties. Now, with two young kids and a husband that would be a little difficult. My new goal is to live in Hungary as a retiree and try the teaching thing then.

anita said...

oh and by the way, i am quite lusta too ;)

sanya said...

So this is the time and place that you find out that you actually have a lot more readers than you think :)
Make sure I'm also counted ;)

Emily said...

@Sanya - no kidding! What a great surprise to find out I have so many cool readers.

Thanks everyone!

jrj said...

think about how good you are at living on people's porches/couches for long periods of time...