Spring Forward: A Tavaszi Program

I have been an audience member at many Hungarian high school programs (Hungarian Prom), but I had never participated in one until last Thursday.  My school asked me to give a five to ten minute presentation about spring traditions in America and Great Britain at a Spring Program held at Fazekas, a nearby high school.  I talked about Ground Hog Day, Mardi Gras, food, the White House Easter Egg Roll, and Royal Maundy, when Queen Elizabeth gives coins to special citizens at a church service.

I did not know until the program began that I would be the first speaker.  This was slightly terrifying.

One of my tenth grade students (“József”) from was my translator.  He is quite a joker.  I am no stand up comedian, but we kept the presentation light-hearted.  (Speaking to Europeans made me realize how strange some American traditions are.  I was telling  a room full of Hungarians that Americans use a rodent to predict when winter will end.  I also tried to convince them that chocolate peanut butter eggs are delicious.)

Some primary school students performed a butterfly play in English.  It was adorable:

Here I was being attentive, sitting with my students and other teachers:

My ninth grade students baked some desserts for the program, and my tenth grade girls made decorations.  They were very proud!

"Water Pours"

Another American teacher spoke (Ironically, we’ve never met him before.  And I still haven’t.  He disappeared before I got a chance to introduce myself.), as well as teachers from France, Germany, Spain, and Italy–specifically Sicily, which made me even more excited about our vacation.

The program was like many assemblies in the U.S., except that Americans only have school-wide assemblies.  There were teenagers from eight different schools at this event.  Europeans put more emphasis on interacting with other schools in non-competitive settings.  I think this is a good idea.  As an American student, every time I met kids from outside my district my focus was on earning a trophy (Please note: for writing skills or trivia knowledge, NEVER athletic prowess), and not on learning or making friends.  That only happened tangentially.

When presenting to a Hungarian audience, there does not seem to be an expectation that the audience will be silent.  As I spoke into the microphone, there was a low hum of voices buzzing throughout the gym.  I wasn’t offended because that’s how things are here, but the other American seemed displeased!

After the presentations, we got to eat food and there was a competition (the students were assigned a team by number, not school).  I enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with my students outside of the classroom.  I only see them for 45 or 90 minutes a week, and it doesn’t give me a lot of time to get to know them.

Jesse was also there with some of his students.  My students were fascinated by this.  Their comments:

“He looks 18!”

“Is he Irish?”

“How long have you been in the status of married?”

“Where did you meet?”

It was a fun afternoon celebrating spring, and then Jesse and I walked home.  I was officially on SPRING BREAK.


Filed under Hungary, Language, Teaching

6 responses to “Spring Forward: A Tavaszi Program

  1. Melody

    Wow Jesse should be flattered.

    Your female students seem much more appropriately dressed than many female students in the US. Do you agree with that? Its hard to tell from one picture.

    • I don’t know what the high school’s official dress code is, but I’ve seen girls wearing things that Mr. Goode would’ve had a fit about! Some of their skirts are very short. Over all, though, the teen fashion is very similar to the U.S.

  2. Galev

    Little known fact: being not silent while someone is giving a speech is considered rude in Hungary too – so the Hungarian teachers should have been displeased too. However it seems people don’t care much about manners anymore. Which is sad really. Though maybe it’s only me: here at the university, most of my peers don’t seem to be concerned at all when in class, that the teacher is talking… And I don’t know if the teachers just really don’t care either or if they just gave up on the hope of being respected with silence and attention. So maybe it is normal and secretly I am an alien…

    On an unrelated note: in Hungary, we predict spring with bears, not rodents so I don’t think you should be concerned about how foolish some traditions sound.

    • Well, I must say that when I attended a school program for March 15th at the primary school where I work, the students were dead silent, and I was very impressed with how well they payed attention. It seems that the older students have a harder time keeping quiet than the younger students!

      Bears make a little more sense because they hibernate. Groundhogs are out and about all winter long! 🙂

  3. Cindy

    My gracious, 8 different schools?! I am completely and thoroughly impressed that you made it through the presentation! I would have fainted dead away! Had I known ahead of time, I could have mailed you some samples of peanut butter and chocolate to share… Still- it is so good to hear about these things, I miss you and love each one of your new posts! 🙂

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