Učím převážně ženy, které se v průběhu let často do kurzů vracejí, aby si svou angličtinu znovu nakoply. A protože je mým hlavním cílem dovést je k tomu, aby se staly samostatným celoživotním studentem a angličtinou se co nejvíce obklopily, dělá mi velkou radost, když mi absolventky kurzů píšou, jak moc je to v životě posunulo a jak moc je angličtina baví.
Yveta Londa je jednou z nich. Nedávno se stala maminkou a protože ji angličtina začala konečně bavit a hodně se v ní posouvá, nechtěla ji na mateřské vypustit. Naopak, rozhodla se čas využít k sebevzdělávání a dál se angličtinou obklopuje. A vás, které jste v podobné životní fázi, by ráda tímto článkem inspirovala a povzbudila, že to jde kdykoliv.
I am a very active and social person but last year everything changed. Instead of business problems and working in teams, I deal with diaper changing and breastfeeding my baby son. From a professional UX designer attending English courses, I have become a full-time, stay-at home mom.
Like every mother on maternity leave, I am surrounded by four walls, toys and a little person who’s not speaking (yet). I would like to have some time for myself, I want to be competent at work in the future and I want to stay sane. However, sometimes it seems impossible to learn something new or work on my soft skills while parenting. I have realized I cannot manage everything I had decided to achieve. But I am still trying. So you can too!
Here is my journey through the first year.
I am surrounded by things whose purpose I don’t understand, a little creature without being sure how to take care of and I don’t know the difference between day and night. I am not able to realize there is such a thing as the English language.
I read instructions for breath monitor and baby thermometer in English out loud. My little one doesn’t understand. He’s simply happy to hear my voice, I am happy to have product instructions for use.
My new colleagues at work struggle with English and I realize it will be challenging to go back. No one wants to start over. So right now my short term goal is to keep my level. The Testyourvocab.com website gives me my vocabulary knowledge estimate, The English Club offers a quick reading test. I am going to compare my results at the end of my maternity leave. And I also make a study plan.
If you have no idea how to write your goals and put a study plan together, contact Nina for a consultation, she will help you set it all up and coach you through it, like she did with me. It was very helpful!
To hit the button on the phone or the notebook and record myself is the easiest thing to do. I don’t have many opportunities to speak with people in English on my maternity leave. And my son doesn’t respond. To make a short video recording each week is super easy. If you don’t have time to read, write, memorize, this is perfect for your busy day. Often I just explain on camera why I did not record myself last week. It still counts.
After a couple of amazing weeks, everything changes again. It’s so hard to stay positive. The only one thing I do is the list of “Three things I am grateful for…”. I write three nice moments or facts every evening. It keeps me in touch with English and reminds me that there are bright moments every day.
I used to enjoy podcasts, you can notice that in my other article on Nina’s blog from a few years ago “How to learn English with podcasts”. But it is now harder and harder to find interesting ones. I get bored easily. Finally, I install the TED app and look up some talks. I search for interesting talks, those with “audio-only” are downloaded on my mobile and I listen to them during my walks with a stroller. I enjoy topics such as parenting and childcare (look at The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen) but I like to listen to something just for fun too (The agony of trying to unsubscribe).
My sister receives questions about childcare from me almost daily. She has two kids, she’s my hero on the phone. After her start with Nina English course, she asks me to chat in English. We correct each other sometimes. But most of the time, we have fun with discovering how to express our news, advice, and complaints. I am glad she comes up with the idea. We would chat anyway, why not in English.
I heard about Luke English Podcast Transcript Collaboration. Each episode is split to chunks of 3 minutes long. Volunteers and fans follow simple rules and make a transcript. I have to admit, this is the hardest activity I have tried. I usually spend 90 minutes with a single chunk. The real conversations are messy. Not sure how helpful it is, but I am satisfied I have tried.
Flashcards are not my cup of tea. When I need to learn the word “house”, I need to visualize the picture in my mind. To think of a building with a red roof, not the word “dům”. But after many years I have found a reason to start with flashcards. There is a big pile of words I translate every time I see them. Sometimes I am very ashamed I am translating again, I finally remember it. But for the rest of them, I use the star icon in the Google Translator application to save them. I convinced myself to transfer those words to app Quizlet. Lessons are quick and when you need to leave the app right now, it’s not a problem to continue later.
I have an exceptional opportunity on my maternity leave – I don’t have to study something particular, to prepare for exams, or focus on things I struggle with at work. I can try different approaches and drop them if they don’t work for me. It’s a playground and there is no need to feel guilty for what you did or didn’t.
I want to share all of this to inspire you, but also to tell you it’s okay to play with all possible methods and always edit your study plan if you are convinced you need it.
So, what do I do on tough days or weeks? I stick to habits. I keep reading because I love it. I chat with my sister in English because we would send those messages to each other anyway. And sometimes I just sleep every possible moment and I hope the period of sleepless nights passes soon.
The last words are dedicated to parents with two or more kids. I am aware of my luck having a single good-natured child. It’s easy to write how to study in such a cool period. You have to wait. I will write a second part of the article, about Learning English while parenting in a chaotic zoo, in the next few years.
Best of luck,
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