Monday, September 26, 2011

Those kids!


Art Linkletter is famous for the show he had about things that kids say. I thought that I would share some things the Hungarian children told me.

Last year we moved back to the town of Velence, Hungary where the local elementary school has become a dual language school: Hungarian and English. The English program requires native English speakers so in March of this year, I began teaching three afternoon classes for second, third and fourth graders.

I told them a riddle: “I am not of Hungarian decent but I have Hungarian blood.” How is this possible? Finally I tell them that none of my ancestors are Hungarian but I received Hungarian blood during my operation for colon cancer in 2007. One of the boys asked me if getting Hungarian blood helped me speak the Hungarian language any better. Then one of the girls asked so innocently: “Mr. Smith, if we get some English blood, will we speak English any better?” My answer: “sorry”.

Almost 60 first graders are now enrolled in classes where for four years, they will have an English lesson every day along with their art, music and PE in English. Then beginning in the fifth grade, their math and science classes will be taught in English.

I have some of these first graders in an afternoon class for them to learn songs in English. However, since none of the first graders can speak English yet, I must communicate with them in my accented Hungarian.

The first day with the children was priceless! Not only was I apprehensive about how such a class of little kids would go, the children were also embarking on their new journey of learning English.

One of the first grade boys was returning to his seat and I overheard him mumbling to himself, imitating my Hungarian accent! I know that he has a good ear so surely he will sound good in English!

Another child asked me: “When I learn to speak English, will you and I be able to talk with each other in English?”

One child asked me if I knew any words in English. (Duh!) Another wanted to know if I really could speak English.

I played a CD with the song “He's Got The Whole World In His Hands” showing them the motions to go along with the song. When the song was over, one little kid was shaking his head back and forth and said: “I didn't understand a single word!”

To indicate that the class was over, I simply said: Goodbye! Immediately they began asking if they could come back next week.

They are so little, so eager, so excited as them embark on their new adventures. Somehow I have the feeling that I'm on a new adventure too!