Well, at last I’m here. The past week has seen my German lessons begin which has been rather a momentous occasion as I literally only applied to places where I could learn German as a complete beginner as, despite some knowledge, I am aware that I am exceptionally weak with regard to the grammar and foundation of the language. I was limited somewhat when my first choice of university took German off the syllabus just as I was applying but anyway, that was a lifetime ago!
My relationship with German has been a funny one over the years. It’s a language that I encountered quite by chance and, in my attempts to make media more accessible to my friends and family, who were not happy to just watch something with a summary, I ended up accidentally teaching myself to understand the language, more or less. I’d sit down with a dictionary, really listen to what was being said and attempt to find the English. It was pitiable to start with. Perhaps my favourite story is that of when I could only hear “der Strauß Mutter” when the real thing was “die stoltze Mutter” which gives the sentence a whole new meaning. Anyway, going off on a tangent. After a few years of doing this I suddenly realised that I understood stuff generally and quite consistently. For someone who was told that she was bad at learning languages by teachers this came as quite a shock to me… I started to wonder if I wasn’t a bad linguist after all.
I was actually terrified before my first class. This is something that has led me for some time now and really influenced my life path. I don’t think my friends understood why I was so nervous but, for me, I felt that the first few classes were going to either going to make me realise that I could really do this or reaffirm those words of my teachers, that I should just give up on languages. To go into a class and wonder if you are going to sink or swim in reality, that’s a scary thing.
And now I’ve had a couple of classes? I’m loving it.
The teacher is an exceptionally skilled lady. She has a way of engaging everyone in the class. Each person is called upon to speak multiple times a class but there is no pressure, no judgement and, in that sense, she seems to be managing to bring the best out of her students. Already she has shown that she is able to be endlessly patient when people just can’t get their tongues (or minds!) around certain words. She’s an enabler and, in that sense, she’s a teacher in the truest sense of the word. I’m also really lucky to have spent the last couple of classes working with a lovely, good fun group of people.
Now I can only work hard and hope that I will succeed!