A Double Honor

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At today’s opening ceremony for the school year at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium, I had one of the greatest honors of my life. I received two prizes: the “pedagógus emlékplakett” (pedagogical memorial plaque) and the Teacher’s Oscar in the language category. The recipients of both awards are determined annually by votes: the first by the faculty, the second by the students. What a great affirmation and encouragement this is. I treasure these awards and everything that they mean. Thank you!

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Many others received awards today (teachers, two students who graduated last year, and the president of the parent association)–but if I try to list them, I will probably leave someone out inadvertently. Once the names are published, I will include the link here–and if I can’t find it, I will ask for the full list at school. Congratulations to all.

There is so much to look forward to this year. I think of the projects underway–two drama projects, Folyosó, an Orwell project–and the collaboration with different colleagues. I don’t know how things will play out with the coronavirus this year–we have a protocol in place, but things can change–but no matter what happens, we will find ways to do interesting things and help students accomplish their goals. Even though wearing a mask in the classroom will be uncomfortable, I am glad that we can have classes in person. We can use the masks on our faces the way Demosthenes, according to legend, used stones in his mouth: as a challenge to speak more clearly. Or as a challenge to stay silent–who knows? We will see. At least we don’t have to wear masks over our eyes.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Congratulations on your well deserved awards! You put so much thought and care into planning your lessons. Your students are lucky to have such a dedicated teacher.
    Rebecca
    (We used to play together summers in Ogunquit.)

    Reply
    • Thank you, Rebecca, for your kind words–and what a great surprise to hear from you! I would love to hear about your life sometime. Please give my greetings to Clarissa and Amanda.

      Reply
  2. jeannewikler

     /  September 2, 2020

    Diana, I have always been impressed with your accomplishments and proud to be your aunt. But being selected for those two wonderful awards – in a country you’ve only recently moved to, in a language you’ve only recently learned – that is mind-boggling. It’s so nice to know someone who loves their work as much as you do, and who does everything in their power to make it even better. Congratulations!
    Love, Jeanne

    Reply
    • Dear Jeanne, thank you so much. I teach in English, but I participate in the life of the school–and speak Hungarian outside of my classes–as much as possible. There is much more to come.
      Love, Diana

      Reply
  3. Ron Squibbs

     /  September 12, 2020

    Congratulations! It’s great to be able to follow your journey, even from a distance.

    Reply
  4. Late to the party, but congratulations! A testimony to your vision, care, and hard work.

    Reply
  5. Wow this is great congo

    Reply

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  • “To know that you can do better next time, unrecognizably better, and that there is no next time, and that it is a blessing there is not, there is a thought to be going on with.”

    —Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

     

    Diana Senechal is the author of Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture and the 2011 winner of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, awarded by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Her second book, Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in October 2018. In February 2022, Deep Vellum will publish her translation of Gyula Jenei's 2018 poetry collection Mindig Más.

    Since November 2017, she has been teaching English, American civilization, and British civilization at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium in Szolnok, Hungary. From 2011 to 2016, she helped shape and teach the philosophy program at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science & Engineering in New York City. In 2014, she and her students founded the philosophy journal CONTRARIWISE, which now has international participation and readership. In 2020, at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium, she and her students released the first issue of the online literary journal Folyosó.

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    On April 26, 2016, Diana Senechal delivered her talk "Take Away the Takeaway (Including This One)" at TEDx Upper West Side.
     

    Here is a video from the Dallas Institute's 2015 Education Forum.  Also see the video "Hiett Prize Winners Discuss the Future of the Humanities." 

    On April 19–21, 2014, Diana Senechal took part in a discussion of solitude on BBC World Service's programme The Forum.  

    On February 22, 2013, Diana Senechal was interviewed by Leah Wescott, editor-in-chief of The Cronk of Higher Education. Here is the podcast.

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