What was a highlight of your trip?
Dave: I thought the students would be different from those I taught in North America (I taught grades 5 – 10 near Vancouver, Canada), but I have found it is the school system that is unique; children are almost universal. That said, my most rewarding experiences have been in seeing how children raised in a different school system respond differently to different activities. Creative drawing projects in Hungary have been a flop, but students here get very excited about memorizing and competing against their peers. Every activity I’ve done where the students have gotten more out of it than I thought has been a highlight.
To choose a personal highlight is nearly impossible; so much has had more value than I can ever express. However, as a family living in a foreign country, one of my favorite things is when people say they think my daughters were born in this country. They have adapted and learned so much, I am humbled by their knowledge of the language and culture and I rely on them often to help me seamlessly navigate daily life.
Describe your typical morning as a teacher with CETP in Hungary.
Dave: Four out of 5 days a week I teach morning lessons (1-3) at a nearby high school. As a morning person I prefer to wake up early and review my lesson handouts before printing and copying them at school. I am able to leave my house a minimum of 20 minutes before the lessons start as I live very close to my school, and have no special office or space to maintain there. After one or two lessons I travel by bicycle or bus (weather dependant) to an elementary school where I spend the rest of my teaching hours.
What about your afternoons?
Dave: I arrive to teach 3-5 lessons a day at my elementary school after teaching lessons at a high school 3 km away. Most lessons I teach are pre-planned with a Hungarian teacher and then taught together in the classroom. Planning time requires reviewing a text book with a co-teacher and deciding who will teach what content and in what order. I decide how I want to teach the given topic or learning outcome outside of shared planning times. In the afternoon I either return to the high school to review topics and plan for future lessons or run an extra-curricular drama club at my elementary school.
Dave: As a family man, my evenings are devoted first and foremost to duties at home. Once the children are in bed it is necessary to spend 2-3 hours a night preparing for the next day or future lessons. Half of my courses do not have translations for the texts and I am often required to supplement lessons with independently researched topics. On weekends I spend 2-6 hours preparing for the coming week, but make sure to schedule time for myself; exploring, traveling or catching up with family back home.