Introductions were never my strong suit, so let’s keep it simple, and go straight to it.
I grew up in a household where books were all over the place. I remember having a little nook in my bedroom where we kept all of our family-owned novels, manuals, reference and story books. My dad taught me how to read when I was 3, and luckily, I grasped the skill pretty easily.
My childhood basically revolved around reading the same book all over again, it was “Beauty and the Beast”, my favorite fairytale book that my mom got me. I’m not really sure if I understood the words, because it was written in English, or maybe I just looked at the pictures and guessed what the story was all about.
When I was in the first grade, my sister brought home a novel by Roald Dahl. It was Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. It looked really good, and I was tempted to read it. I slowly lifted the pages and immersed myself in the printed words. But, surprise! I wasn’t able to understand a thing. I finished the book, though. But it was useless, because I wasn’t able to appreciate it. To me, they were just words but it didn’t give any meaning. That’s when I knew, I had to stretch my vocabulary, and study English.
The Reality Of It
Let’s get one thing straight: Learning English is hard.
From the moment we set our feet in school, we already embraced English. There wasn’t a school year without an English subject from our curriculum. It gets harder, and more complicated the more you are advancing. As for me, apart from learning English in school, I studied on my own. My sister borrowed books for me to read, and I asked her about unfamiliar words that I encountered. We also watched movies together, and picked our favorite scene, wrote down the lines and role played it. It was fun learning that way.
Sure, I was able to pass all of my English subjects in school, but there were times where I still make grammatical errors and, sigh, my speech was no good. I stutter from time to time when I speak English, and fillers were there 50% of the time. I am more confident in expressing my thoughts through writing, but if you let me stand in front of a crowd and talk, I am certain that my body will magically create cold and heavy streams of sweat, and anxiety will take over my consciousness.
“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda, Star Wars: Episode V
Do We Stop There? No.
I pushed myself hard, ever since I started my career as an educator. I cannot just slack off and let things be, especially that I am shaping young minds now. I practice now more than ever, reading more articles and feeding my mind with new information every day. My IELTS coach once told me to read newspaper editorials, as it pose more intellectual content than novels. Digesting contents as such helped me get new ideas for verbal wit and vocabulary.
I also exercise my writing skills by posting more content on my blog, and get inspiration from a community of bloggers. Since I am more confident in writing than speaking, I try to create something, then read it out loud after, to practice my pronunciation and delivery.
However, I am still trying to compose my confidence in speaking by conversing with my colleagues in English and sometimes, I record myself while reading just so I can hear myself if I sound good already. Sometimes, when I feel a little extra, I record an audio diary where I just talk about my day and listen to myself if I still use a lot of fillers while talking. So far, these things made significant improvements for me and hopefully, to you too!
Allow yoursef to be a beginner because no one starts off being excellent. Just pour your heart into it and remember that if you strive for greatness, the results will be majestic.