Ever since I remember I’ve always loved English. That is for sure.
Yes, English is my second language. Back at my days at the elementary school in my home country (Czech Republic, in case you wonder), the second language started to be a thing somewhere around 4th grade.
I have an older brother and even before I had a second language at school, he had. My first memory of English is my brother practising his English with my mum. I remember overhearing some basics like: “Hello, my name is…” and counting one to ten, learning alphabet etcetera… It immediately stuck to my mind without trying and when I started to study English at school myself, it was coming to me very naturally.
Throughout school I barely ever had to study for English lessons. All my classmates used to hate the English teacher and blamed their bad English on her but I had no issue with the teacher as English was simply my favourite subject.
At the secondary school the teacher was truly wonderful and her lessons were very challenging. So challenging that most of my classmates were on the verge of a nervous breakdown before each class. Not me though. I was excited.
At the final graduation I voluntarily took both lower and higher level of an English exam and result of both were better than final exam from my mother tongue… I find that hilarious.
As I love singing I had been always curious about the meaning of the lyrics of my favourite songs. I also used to watch lots of series and movies too. I used to practice thinking in English, journaling and making up dialogs in my mind, reading, looking up articles.. All you can think of. And all of that helped me enormously with understanding the language.
Some years later I decided to certify my English with a Cambridge certificate. People usually take courses to prepare themselves for these types of exams but I decided to prepare myself alone. It was actually at the time when I was taking my final exam at the university to complete my Master Degree in Art History. I had to study hard back then, but to be honest studying for the Cambridge exam felt more like relaxing in comparison to studying for the Art History graduation exam...
So what did I do differently than others when learing English?
1. I focused on my inner motivation (to learn) rather than outside factors ("bad" teacher).
2. I surrounded myself with English sources of my interests- song lyrics, tv shows, series.
3. I set myself up for challenges. Challenge youself and see for yourself where it will take you.
Me and English today? Let’s see… I have travelled a lot and worked, studied and lived in different countries. Now it has been two years since I moved to London. I did my TEFL certificate at the end of the 2020 and decided to go for English teacher career fully.