On 19 May the TAKE FIVE club passed another milestone on the freeway of its five-year history. We had the immense pleasure and honor of welcoming 10 first-year secondary school students to an extraordinary one-off session. In collaboration with their English teacher we paddled into uncharted waters to discover and embrace a long-dormant possibility of our club.
“Hi there, Take Five organizers! I’m Svoboda Róbert, English teacher from Budapest. Balázs knows me…” That’s how it all began. We agreed that a regular session would be deep water for the students with all the strangers (not to mention the psychological trauma Balázs is likely to cause with his mere appearance), so we put our heads together and decided to organize a one-time special event, elegantly squeezed in between two scheduled meetings. Our goal was to keep the original, academically acclaimed and at the same time world famous TAKE FIVE format, but adjust everything to the proficiency level and age group.
Robi was brave enough to join one of the preceding events to sit down with us and help us lay down the foundations. In harmonious cooperation we imposed our brilliant ideas on him, which he tacitly and respectfully accepted. Our final plans included an ice-breaker, three of the topics we had already used at the club, and two amusing picture-based creative writing tasks. The session lasted for two hours with a ten-minute break.
Despite the fact that I am quite used to being surrounded by ladies, I was preparing for the event with a more or less healthy gender ratio in my mind. If you take a brief look at any of the photos, you may see how close I got. I think I will never be able to write down in a public blog how terrified I felt when I saw ten teenage girls walk into the club in a straight line. They all settled down and we dived right into the introduction part. One of our most favorite ice-breakers is a game called alphabet, in which we scatter the letters of the alphabet all over the floor. Then we ask questions and everyone has to find the starting letter of their answers. The girls became pretty excited upon hearing the questions “What’s your favorite band/singer?” and “What’s your favorite TV show?”. I turned out to be the only one who was having trouble coming up with answers and finding the letters.
Our lovely guests began to feel more and more comfortable as time passed. I would probably have burst out crying and/or run away if I had been taken to a club like this in the first year of secondary school. But to my astonishment, these girls made themselves feel at home by the end. They were ready to volunteer when it came to summarizing the topics, the room was often filled with laughter, and – as far as I could see – they did enjoy most of what we had prepared with. The session was concluded with a round of applause and a volley of thank-yous.
As the founder of the TAKE FIVE club and as an English teacher, I can confirm that this exceptional occasion was nothing but the first step. From now on we are looking forward to working together with other schools as well to provide more and more students with a genuine English-speaking setting where they have a chance to put theory into practice.