Disciplinary Actions

Welcome back folks. I am in a little bit of a rush to get this post out of the door this week. I will be attending a native Hungarian festival Friday through Sunday. It’s one of those fancy festivals with hundreds of years of history and tradition and penises on sticks. What? What was that thing about the phallic poles? Really I’m not sure what your fascination is with that one aspect of things. There is going to be drinking and revelry and fire and hand carved masks and wooden noise makers and all you want to hear about is the naughty bits. Really, Margaret, I didn’t realize this is how you act around penile imagery. Get ahold of yourself, everyone is staring. Anyway, if I don’t finish this now, the chances are it won’t get done for another week. I can’t do that, I have imaginary deadlines that I have to stick to for mildly nonsensical reasons. For those of you who are actually interested in hearing about said crazy festival, there will be a full report on said adventure in some blog post in the far flung future. At the rate that this blog is coming along look forward to reading about it sometime around Thanksgiving. What an interesting opening I have prepared for you all today, wouldn’t you agree? All of this talk about genitalia is truly the best means of introducing my main topic today which is children. Truly, I a master of theming, witness my genius.

Back to the glacial narrative I weave. Because no celestial event had impacted the flow of time, the second week of teaching had proceeded towards its expected point of cessation. Truth be told, the portion of the job that involved me interacting with the students had actually gone well. The multiple teacher format had served me well, making classes fun for me and fun for the students. It even felt that by the end of the week they had improved their language skills if ever so slightly. Somewhat less of a resounding success, the lesson planning continued to be a source of unending suffering and ill spent hours. However, with the close of the week, the period of time that I was set to have in class supervision had also drawn short. This meant that I was staring down the barrel of being let loose into the teaching pits with only my wits to save me. I learned as many lessons as I could in those first two weeks. The training wheels though were soon to come off, and this baby bird was about to be mercilessly ejected from the nest. Each week from here on out I would be solely in charge of the English education of these children. Flap those nubbins faster little birdy.

I had made every preparation I was able to, and then the moment was upon me. It was minutes before 8:00 Monday morning and there I sat in my classroom with sixteen empty seats before me. I had gotten there early to make everything ready for my lessons. As the clock signified those passing seconds, the students began to trickle in. By the moment the bell rang I had sixteen seats filled with children who I had met, but in no way remembered the names of. This is what you may recognize as minor problem. I did moderately well at playing it cool, finding as many creative ways to sidestep the use of actual names. I am not terribly ashamed or worried about not memorizing the names of over one hundred students Hungarian is a difficult language which unsurprisingly has different naming conventions from English. Fun fact, Hungarian surnames come first followed by given names. In addition to that is the fact that the five vowels that we have in English are subdivided with various accent marks to make twelve distinct sounds that I cannot tell the differences between. I reiterate that Hungarian is a difficult language.

Anyway, back to the solo classes. In many ways those first lessons alone were very similar to the week prior. The children were terribly loud shriekbeasts sliding their way through the hallways in a cacophonous mess. When in class, the quiet kids were silent and the smartasses intelligent butted. The only real difference was that there was the conspicuous absence of a safety net in case of unexpected falls. The children were very smart; they followed instructions, and listened to the things that I asked of them. All seemed to be proceeding with only minor issues. As school neared its final bell students became restless and less receptive to orders. It was small things at first, things that a knowledgeable instructor would end immediately but a less knowledgeable one would let slide. Residing firmly in the latter category, I allowed inklings of control to slip loose through my fingers.

Monday dragged its burden of work through to Friday, and on each subsequent day it was a similar scene. Because, like prisoners, middle schoolers can feel a lack of discipline as a tingling in their spine, the number of liberties taken with the rules was on the rise. Like untrained dogs they will run with as much of a leash as you give them. A precedent was being set with every choice of inactivity. I did not display a strong control over my wards early on in the year. Ground was lost in every battle for supremacy of the classroom, and I hadn’t even realized there was a competition. These are all observations that I could only make through informed hindsight though. This process proceeded invisibly before my eyes.

I had been stripped of the Hungarian symbol of power which was my lifeline to controlling the children. Here’s a bit of knowledge for those of you who are perspective teachers or parents, just because children behave in front of a person sitting next to you it does not mean that they will behave for you once that person leaves. The reason everything seemed so easy in those first two weeks was because the Hungarian teachers were present and ready to stifle dissent. At times I very much miss that degree of control that I wielded and squandered in the beginning. Every mile lost to the opposing front has been a bloody sortie that I have had to fight to regain.

More than just a lack of experience led me to acquiesce to the little goblins in my classroom. In my everyday life, I am just the most relaxed person. I do not get annoyed or angry with other people under normal circumstances. I’m cool like a cucumber, probably because I seek to avoid conflict and am fond of the color green. I internalized much of the annoyance. In relationships, I hope this leads to me being an understanding and forgiving person in all things. However in a teaching position, this is the opposite attitude of what will help you. You don’t have to be mean, just have a measure of stern resolve. Interpersonal conflict is just as much of the job as actually teaching new things. I attempted a soft touch as much as I could, and it was not the right tact without a base of discipline already intact. I had to change my reactions to stressful situations. The lack of discipline is a problem that will get much worse before it gets better, but don’t worry that part is going to be written soon enough.

If it sounds like I am negative about children, I’ll let those of you who do not know me in person in on a little secret. I am not a big fan of children. In fact throughout my adult life and most of my adolescence I have been doing my best to avoid them in every way shape and form in my personal life. Now, don’t get me wrong I have nephews and… cousins? Second cousins? I’m not sure what my relation is to the offspring of my cousins is, but them. I have a few of those. (First cousin once removed, thank you Google. Now don’t let me hear you say you didn’t learn anything from this blog.) I do have familial relations from baby to middle teens, so I am speaking from hopefully a range of experience. I have opinions about children that are not actually popular with those in my life who possess itlings. I do not find them cute or sweet simply by virtue of them being smaller humans. I see them as miniature adults who have not learned morality or basic human decency.  Therefore the merits of being within shouting distance of a child is entirely dependent on said child’s individual personality and it is not entirely a given that I will tolerate proximity to a shrieking hellbeast. This is fine for children I am related to, ones I get to see often. I am able to observe them in their natural state and get to know who they are as human beings. Then I get to judge accordingly.

To those of you who love children, love to hold them, to play with them, and either have or one day wish for a baker’s dozen of them, I likely sound like a heartless Grinch monster hating on all of the little miracles living and breathing around us. I don’t hate children; I just refuse to give them the benefit of the doubt. I would apologize if I were sorry. However, this is my blog which equates to you perusing my ideals.

All of that concern about my lesson plans, I mean it was well worth the investment of time, don’t get me wrong. The problem I most faced was an internal struggle. My success in this enterprise entirely depended upon me fighting the laziness within. I allowed myself to be led down the path of least conflict. As I was still developing my teaching legs, I was worried about halting the progress of the entire classroom just to deal with a mildly disruptive child. This is a dumb fear that is counterproductive to the healthy flow of a class. It concerned me so much though, because I was still secretly terrified of standing in front of a classroom with nothing happening. All of the teachers who I asked for advice told me methods I could take towards fix my issues. However, I am more of a kinesthetic learner and just hearing something does not mean it passes into my brain. I had to suffer my way through all of the misbehavior to get where I am now.

Ok, I hear what some of you are thinking loudly at the screen. Mr. Miscellaneist, if that is your real name, why would a self professed child disliker want to take a position where the job description is to literally be surrounded by said miniature animals all of the time. To this I respond that Mr. Miscellaneist is my father, just call my Misc. You’ve been inside some of my deep head thoughts; we could probably drop the formalities. To answer the previous question though, it was everything surrounding the position which enticed me into application. Also, money isn’t exactly a deterrent in this case.

Please excuse me while I take a little time for a peak behind the curtain as it were. So, seeing as it has been over a week without a post, I appeared to have missed my deadline for this last week. I apologize for being late in my work. Surprise of surprises and wonder of wonders, I somehow managed to misuse the time I had set aside to get this blog done early. Do forgive the tardy nature of my composition. For once though, the reason for my delay has been that I have been out living my life as opposed to retreating into an internet fueled spiral of laziness. Hopefully I am not begrudged too much for making this judgment call. To all of my eager readers out there I do plan on making up for lost ground and writing another post to be published this week. As always a special thanks to those of you who tune in to my misadventures. To you I say, good day, good night, and good reading.

That’s The Plan

Welcome, one and all to the blogstravaganza. While writing this blog I find that the part that I have the most difficulty with is coming up with the intro and the outro paragraphs. Since I stepped off the airplane some seven months prior I have been writing down little notes about my mental state and the state of events that I think would be somewhat fascinating for people to hear about. Every week when it comes time to pry myself away from idle pursuits and start tap tap tapping a post out, I reach into the metaphorical hat and fish out a few juicy thoughts that I feel I can verbally meander into a thousand words. This means that the meaty word substance that comprises the middle sections is somewhat preplanned. At the least there has been some prior thought expended over what will be said. Unfortunately a random jumble of thinly strung together concepts drawn from notes taken months apart does not always lead itself to the cohesive narrative that I am pretending connects events. So, what do I do? What would be the smoothest way for me to transition gradually and naturally from last week’s post into the topic of today? It is a good question, one that I gladly ignore. Instead, my dear reader, I give you a two hundred and thirty three word non sequitur before cold opening into…

The first week of school had flashed by in a notebook scribbling haze. For my efforts I had gained four days of observational experience. This meant that I now had some idea of how I would be spending my time at school. After having witnessed how each teacher handled their job day to day, I didn’t believe that my higher ups would expect more of me than from their actual accomplished teachers. I now had a baseline understanding of what the expectations were for me. Back in the flat, we were still living the life sans internet. An appointment had been made that guaranteed us a speedy reunion with the great information cloud in the sky. My free time went towards exploring the city and spending time with my new improved and not quite sick girlfriend. I had a positive outlook for the future. This whole teaching deal seemed to be really easy from what I saw the professionals do. Surely it would be as easy for me and I would have no unforeseen hardships cropping up in the future. None. At. All. Entirely easy. A can do and a positive attitude were definitely all that stood between me and that sweet government distributed Hungarian currency.

Towards the end of that first week, I had many a discussion with my fellow English teachers. They would very thoughtfully ask me if I knew what I was going to do when the classes were entirely my responsibility. Somewhere along the way I had somehow developed an unwarranted overconfidence in myself. This would lead me to respond in the affirmative that I did indeed have a plan. Fortunately for foolish me, my teachers saw through my foolish foolish claims that I had a handle on the situation. They imparted me with as many tips and tricks as they could condense into the limited time before my tenure as teacher began. I am immensely grateful to them for all of the help they have given me in the process of tricking the students into believing that I am actually a teacher. In the next week of work the difficulty was to take a slight upwards tilt. It was set to be a reverse of the first. I would teach the entire class as my co teachers would sit back and take notes on my teaching style.

My first week at my new profession drew to a close. As those lovely days of rest at week’s end worked their way towards Monday morning, I had some homework that had to be completed. Now that I was going to be the driving force for these classes, there would need to be a lesson plan in place before work came back around. So I aped the actions of others, with slight variations on the formula accounting for the new materials students were learning from week to week. This seems like it would be a simple process. Ha, ha. How hilarious that joke is to future me. I likely need not mention that there are worlds of difference between practice and experience. It was most certainly not the simple thing of which I had anticipated. Even with reams of notes and a solid skeleton for me to hang each lesson’s delicious meaty knowledge on, it took me an inordinate amount of time to create that heinous lesson plan. So on Sunday night I, with great vigor, wasted equal hours on cobbling a lesson plan together and watching videos on youtube to procrastinate that very action. The great beast was slain though and I sat hunched over a chair in victory.

With my notebook filled with ingenious means of instructing the pupils, I was ready to take the reins of this classroom and plunge headlong into my time as a English as a second language teacher. The classes went well. The students were excited to be taught by their brand new foreigner. They were responsive and actually quite intelligent, maintaining a rather firm grasp on the English language. If any confusions were to become an issue, my co teacher was ready to lend a word of Hungarian to keep the class moving along. My daily stint ran its course and then the other instructors would come to me, and discuss the minutia of the day. They told me what they appreciated about my methods, and they told me what could be improved in the future. Then I would ask how they wished for me to proceed over the coming days. Day to day, much was the same I absorbed a little more about how a school runs. Each class had its own individual challenges that I would in turn deal with as they arose. I created a set of class rules with every group with basic ideas like speaking in English during class and raising your hand to speak. The students were all receptive to the transfer of control to this new entity. Then, upon retiring for the day back to my humble residence, I would on average spend eight hours alternating between writing the lesson plan for the next day and trying very hard to find reasons to not write the lesson plan.

It quickly became a source of misery in my life. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I had erected a mental barricade to stop myself from just doing the work and making my life easier. If you have ever put things off to your detriment you will understand the feelings that flow through you when there is a deadline imminently approaching. There’s the fear of not meeting the time limit. There is the self reprobation that you put upon yourself because you know every moment you waste only makes the inevitable struggle for accomplishment that more difficult. You know that you are doing it to yourself. The emotions permeate your mind with stress which only makes you want to retreat further inwards and seek refuge in those same comforts that delay you. This was the point at which I realized that procrastination had become a strong instinct in my life. It was my method of coping with external pressures, and it needed to be addressed.

I know I keep referring to my lack of experience when talking about my problems but in a job like this lack of experience is almost your biggest problem. I didn’t understand how to roll with the momentum of a class or to restart progress when a lesson stalled. I couldn’t just improvise what to do without having backup plans for my backup plans. The thoroughness of your lesson plan is inversely proportional to your experience as a teacher. A more comfortable teacher doesn’t need to necessarily write out a detailed description of moment to moment action in the classroom. You learn what works and for how long, and you can draw from memory. I was so afraid of the empty void of not knowing what to do or how to proceed. The lull of a class with nothing to do was like a physical pain reminding me that I had no idea what I was doing. This led to me writing out actions on top of actions, trying to prepare for every eventuality. This was the only way that I could attain a level of comfort in the classroom. It was highly neurotic, which was a trait that I never associated with myself. It was also the reason that I was spending hour after hour banging my head against these lesson plans every day.

Whereas that first week rolled on by like a jet piercing the sound barrier, this second week was an uphill slough through the mires of uncertainty, procrastination, and self induced suffering. All I could do was tough it out with the help of those close to me. I continued to meet the problems head on until they began to abate. Unfortunately for me, this process took me months of continual work. Eventually I did start getting accustomed to the demands upon me. I gained comfort in lessons and lesson plans, and if you want a good indication of just how much my process of preparing for a class has changed in these seven months, here is an example of the lesson plans for my very first day versus the lesson plan I wrote for yesterday.



That’s how it went, my first two weeks of school done and chronicled. That got a little personal in there; but seeing as how I am using this blog as more of a diary than anything else, I hope no one will begrudge me too much for the self indulgence. For those of you who have been reading along with my little adventures I do appreciate it, and I hope you have been able to derive some benefit from what I have been writing. To you I say, good day, good night, and good reading.

A Matter of Class

I yet live! Here I sit my constitution tested but unfettered. Such a bronchial malady was poor equipped to assault my immune system. This bacterial interloper determined to lay its challenge clear. Alas in the duel of multi-cellular organisms I had garnered the hand and attentions of the fickle mistress victory. My superiority was in the end unquestionable. I do however still retain a persistent cough. I suppose no victory is without its sacrifices. Overall though, this little brush with illness has actually been the exception over the rule. Of the four American English teachers at my school I was the last to succumb to the illness. In this imaginary contest of constitutions I declare myself the victor for no reason other than an inflated sense of self. Nevertheless, I have returned to work and my awaiting captive audience. Well look at that, I seem to have just given myself the opportune chance for a natural segue into today’s discussion. Then I succinctly ruined its seamless nature by making sure everyone knows that I am shifting subjects to……..

It was the day after our little medical misadventure, and I was going to be given a second take at first impressions. My girlfriend was still ill, voiceless, and on doctor ordered leave. This meant that I would be on my own attempting to do what I was meant to do the day before. Early mornings in a school are always a somewhat hectic time. My school is a primary school teaching grades 1st through 8th. There are scores of children running about, screaming whether through joy or displeasure is up to the whims of the day. Parents walk the younger children to their rooms or give them good luck kisses to begin the day. Teachers are meeting and discussing plans with one another. There I stood in the center of it with a list of room numbers and a schedule of which to visit. I march up to the first one and wait outside for the bell. Each grade is subdivided into groups of thirty two, and each of these has their own room where they stay for the majority of the days’ classes. Each teacher in turn comes to disperse knowledge to the little mob and then retreat back to the teacher’s room. The classrooms belong to the children as their base of action. It is a terrifying thing to enter into, in a way reminiscent of a Bond villain shark tank.

I was waiting for the minute hand to reach 8:00 on the nose, and I was also waiting with quickening pulse for my co-teachers. In the few days I had been at this school I was told that I would learn the job on the job, because there is no better teacher than experience. However, with a forty five minute class just seconds away and no plan in mind for how to fill the time I held a growing sense of dread. As time counted down, the cacophony from the halls returned to a calmer state. The noise retreated back into the classrooms where thirty two screeching banshees were still coming down from their summer highs. The clock ticked and my nerves of steel seemed to lose their metal. In moments of high stress, I have this habit of re-checking facts just in case I somehow misunderstood simple instructions. Keeping the outward facade of unreasonable confidence, I looked at each room number on my list, cross referencing the time. I walked up to the doors several times to make absolutely sure that the number on the door had not altered itself through some kind of terror alchemy. To add on to this lovely little tableau, lest it be forgotten, it was hotter than Mephistopheles’ Jacuzzi. It was on record as one of the hottest Augusts in Hungary. It was at least a solid ninety degrees Fahrenheit with an unpleasant humidity. Coupled with these unfortunate facts, I was rapidly learning that Hungary did not believe in air conditioning.

Prior to applying to this teaching position I had taken classes in teaching English as a second language. I had also as a prerequisite of this program racked up forty hours of classroom experience. Both of these experiences were entirely forgotten as I stood in front of the door like a nervous date. In terms of preparation, I had been given a textbook the day before; but as the subtitle of this blog will hint, I had found less useful outlets for my time than reading that. The time had come and the morning bell rang out its happy tune; adrenaline and sweat flowed in equal measures. I stood notebook in hand, my somewhat formal button up shirt and khakis being drenched with perspiration.  Luckily for me, my salvation arrived. My highly experienced, confident, and most importantly for me calm co-teacher rounded the corner. She greeted me as I was ushered through the portal to my very first class.

Thirty two fresh young faces turned to face me and bellow their greeting. The students and my co teacher had known each other for years which left me the only stranger in the room. As the biggest unknown, I was asked to tell a little of myself. I told them briefly about who I was and where I had come from, not entirely sure just how much of it the students would actually understand. Because I had never met any of the students until this juncture in time I had no factual grasp on the students English capabilities. I opened the floor for questions though and the students began asking me in English about jobs and hobbies that I had in the United States. I began to realize that their grasp of English was stronger than anticipated. With my little show and tell out of the way my co teacher managed to alleviate all of my fears. She informed me that for the first week of classes I would be required to do no teaching, but instead I would observe the teachers and students in their natural state. So I put on my best Jane Goodall face, and she went on to simply teach a class. Not one of memorable nature, just one out of many that populates the normal day of education.

The pattern of my first day was set. No longer a bumbling participant, I was free to get a feel for the task at hand, able to catch glimpses of each co-teacher’s methods. In my notes I analyzed the flow of each class. How much time was spent on this activity as opposed to this one? How were instructions given to the students, and did they understand the tasks? The dynamic was a good thing to see and it helped me to actually start devising a teaching style of my own. This opportunity also allowed me to take note of the students. I tried to see which children had problems, and which ones just were problems. I just observed the professionals at work.

At the end of the day I had met five full classrooms filled with my future students. So with the Hungarian names of near one hundred and sixty students rattling about in my brain, and a notebook full of hastily scrawled observations I rounded out my first day of “teaching”. The rest of my first week was pretty much the same. I would greet the students and then sit back and observe the interactions and means of imparting knowledge to the pupils. With actual classroom experience taking place I began to gain confidence. Actually understanding the moment to moment of a class was what I had been hoping for since before I had left the U.S.

Thus ends the story of my first week at school. The time passed by quickly as I was preoccupied with learning. Without the chance for observation I don’t have any idea of how I would have managed to do the job I had come to do. Which reminds me, tune in for next week’s installment when I may actually talk about my experiences teaching abroad. In the meanwhile, thank you to everyone for reading, and have a good morning, evening, noon, or night, signing off from Budapest.



English funtime notes:

The word assault is a word that I feel has one too many vowels for the unprepared. I completely and totally did not have a moment in which I was forced to rewrite that word six times in rapid succession. I also was in no way snickering as I continued to write the word ass over and over again.


Back to School

I’m not sure how to begin this blog as my brain is moving along at a severely diminished pace right now. This last week I have been running a few cylinders short of a v8 because I somehow, cough *children* cough, contracted a fun case of bronchitis. These last five days I have been confined to the house and mostly resided in bed. Before anyone gets too worried about my waning constitution, it has not been a particularly bad case of the illness. My quarantine was enacted on doctor’s orders so as to not somehow re-infect myself by returning to the disease breeding grounds that are schools. The first few days of immobility were a fun sort of vacation from responsibility. However, I don’t feel that I have fired a single neuron in the service of thought for days. I must do some kind of work, whether mental or physical, in order to stave off the encroaching specter of madness circling overhead like a theoretical carrion bird. If this post seems a little less thought out, keep in mind that my brain is still booting back to full capacity. To any of my readers who have come to expect a level of quality from my writing, I apologize profusely that you have accidentally reached the conclusion that there is any semblance of quality in my half baked first draft ramblings. I will take steps in the future to not accidentally give off the impression that I know what I am doing.

In continuation of my journey from inexperienced layman to semi-professional instructor of today’s youth, it was my second week of being in Budapest. I had just moved into my new apartment building, and I had been given a day to settle in before work was to begin. Good we’re caught up to where I last left off. I’m glad that I was able to summarize in two sentences all that went on in the last seven blog posts.

The moment of truth was upon me. The morning of my first day of work had arrived. One of my coworkers came to the apartment to instruct me on the use of public transportation to get to work. Luckily, it was only a few kilometers away. Upon reaching the building we learned that there were still a few days left before all of the students were set to return to school. Only the permanent staff that was present. Said staff was in a rush flitting from room to room. Preparations were being made, classrooms made ready, and meetings being had. To these actions did our guide leave us to partake in. Unfortunately for me and my girlfriend, our lack of Hungarian fluency meant that we missed any and all of the subtle clues supposed to direct us towards our purpose in this maelstrom of action.

We did manage to accomplish some quality standing around and looking confused. We did this task so well that before long pity was taken upon us. Someone took time out of their busy schedule of actually doing something to take the lost Americans where they were supposed to go.

We were informed that we were going into a meeting where we would be introduced to all of the Hungarian teachers. Meeting us at the door was our new boss and principal. She is a lovely woman, very kind and understanding. She ushered us into a large classroom where all of our coworkers were already sitting and being productive members of the faculty. We were requested to introduce ourselves, which we did very briefly using the one broken Hungarian phrase we had actually memorized. The Hungarian teachers were so impressed that we could say a half sentence in Hungarian that they actually gave us a round of applause. The meeting then proceeded in almost entirely Hungarian. We were unsurprisingly more than a little confused by the time the meeting came to an end and everyone split with tasks in hand.

We were then introduced to our new co-teachers. The way it works, is that each subject has one Hungarian teacher who is in charge of around thirty students. The English as a second language teachers are assigned to however many classes and grades they are scheduled for. Us native English teachers would then split those classes with the Hungarian instructor. Each week one teacher has half of the class and then we swap from week to week. Just a quick clarification of how the classes worked, and if you understood at all the process I just described then congratulations you knew more than I did at the time.

I and my girlfriend then went with our respective co-teachers to be coached on our responsibilities and expectations. I remember furiously writing note after note in an attempt to comprehend anything. There was just so much information was given to us, but because I had never taught professionally before it was all without context and only led to larger quantities of confusion. I give thanks to my co-teachers for their valiant efforts to prepare me, as futile as they may have seemed. After an hour of being told things I should do and things I would have to do my work day came to an end. I was released into the wild to return on the morrow for more instruction on my theoretical responsibilities. So I did. I returned, was talked to, and wrote notes furiously. This happened for the few remaining days before the big day.

Before I leave off today I will retell the lovely story of our first day at school. Thus came to an end the period of preparation for teaching. Suddenly the time for practice was upon us; and just like that the big day came, school was to begin. This would be the day that we new English teachers would meet our charges. The day was to begin with an opening ceremony to commemorate the new school year. Everyone in the building gathered round a raised stage to hear about all of the new things this time around. This included somewhere over two hundred students all patiently waiting to witness the shiny new Americans. We shiny baubles were then trotted out on stage to the adoration of the crowd.

A little backstory before continuing, my girlfriend and I were both more than a little nervous about teaching students when we had no real world experience in such matters. Our nerves were all a jumble of concerns, and somewhere in the worry my girlfriend began to feel ill out of the blue. So when we were marched out on stage all of these worries became so very real. I know I was handed a microphone into which I mumbled some kind of generic greeting. However, it was at this moment that my girlfriend’s body decided that it did not want to be talking to two hundred children. It instead decided it would rather do literally anything else. Her voice vanished like a Little Cesar’s Pizza in front of college students. After mumbling a few words in the semblance of an introduction we were asked to step down, our suffering was no longer necessary. The mob was satiated.

We were expected to participate in our assigned classes immediately following. However, because my girlfriend was completely unable to speak louder than faint squeaking sounds, there was something an impediment to that plan. She and I tried our best to explain the situation to one of our English speaking colleagues. It was decided by management that instead of going along with the schedule and being introduced to our students we would quest for a medical professional to sort out what medical mystery had just befallen the woman I am with.

We piled into the car being very apologetic about every inconvenience we were forcing upon our new hosts; but the man who took us, Z as I will refer to him henceforth, refused to be taken aback by the situation. Z was light hearted about his role, the added bonus was that he was one of the first Hungarians that we had met able to carry on easy English conversation with. We drove to one doctor’s office where Z made the effort to explain the nature of the problem to a nurse. Unfortunately we had yet to have all of our paperwork finished by the local government and were thus denied assistance from said healthcare establishment. So back into the car and off we drove to the local hospital. Z argued with the woman at the front desk until we were allowed to go through. Down the hall, to the right, up the elevator, down another hall, into the crowded waiting room and there we sat for the better part of an hour waiting for the line to die down. We were granted admittance to see a doctor who seemed to have been conjured from my mind as a caricature of a crazy doctor. He had wild and untamed grey hair extending out to the sides with matching crazy eyes in addition. Crazyeyes MacDoctorpants did a few cursory tests before he declared which pills that the patient was to then take. So out the door, down the elevator, down the hall, outside, and off to the pharmacy we went to get the prescriptions filled. I thanked him graciously for his time and efforts in this crazed emergency. He was very humble about the situation and he quoted the great philosopher Ice Cube and stated that “Today was a good day.”

Thus it was that we passed our first day as teachers, moving around from doctor office to doctor office. What a wacky misadventure, truly an auspicious means of starting my teaching career. I would like to thank you for sticking with me and reading the transcript of my brain rebooting. Read along next time as I actually spend my first day with students. Good night and good internettings.



Thank you to stock footage sites for giving me such high quality images that have tangential relation to what I’m writing about. No I most certainly did not make the title of this post because I found this picture, why would you even accuse me of something like that?