This is my second post on learning Czech
My first lesson
Finding an online Czech teacher was a bit of a challenge. Naturally, I found myself Google where I came across a teachers’ website called Preply. Even though I found what looked like a nice teacher, the payment system didn’t work so well so I gave up. I ended up finding a teacher via Youtube, Martin, whom I contacted on Facebook.
Unbelievably he lives in Brazil, which makes sorting out payment so much easier for me. After the initial chat, we booked our first trial lesson. I explained my ideas and goals to him and he seemed motivated as well. Martin came across as fun and knowledgeable – the exact type of teacher I was looking for!
As I was feeling anxious about the first lesson, so I sent a confirmation email the day before – which he quickly confirmed. “Great, so tomorrow I’ll start my Czech journey!”I thought. However, the day he sent me a message a few hours before we were due to start asking if we reschedule because of a personal issue. Admittedly I felt let down; it didn’t like we were getting off on the right foot, right? I asked if it was possible to reschedule the lesson to later that day, to which he responded positively.
My goal was to leave the teaching decisions up to Martin and not to interfere with his judgements. Being a fellow teacher there is always the risk that I end up as a backseat driver. I need to concentrate on my role as a student.
Apart from few minor technical issues, the first lesson went well and I was pleased with myself!
My independent learning
Prior to the first lesson, I came across this great blog which provided me with a confidence boost. I also use two Youtube channels for pronunciation and vocabulary practice. On top of this, I’m using a grammar book because…teachers being teachers!
My initial impressions
I’ve had some interesting thoughts on my learning experience, before, during and after the first lesson.
I was paying close attention to what Martin was saying, especially by looking at his lips. Sometimes I would ask him to repeat the same word two or three times slowly so I could imitate him. He made me aware of how I should use my lips and tongue to articulate the new words properly.
I had learnt some simple greetings on Youtube and I was expecting him to start with them. I was thrown off a little when he didn’t use them.
I was happy that he used a textbook and I really wanted to be able to read and understand everything on the first page which, I obviously wasn’t able to after just a few minutes.
I was planning to audio record parts of the lesson on Soundcloud but I was so engaged that I forgot which was a shame because I could do with listening to the lesson once or twice again. I’ll make sure that I won’t forget next time.
I wasn’t as concerned with understanding the reasons behind grammatical rules – I just wanted to start to get the basics right.
He taught me the alphabet which was very useful but I wish he would have linked the letters with their phonetic symbols. I feel that it would have made my pronunciation more accurate.
I felt that everything he was saying was important and I did my best to jot everything down, which, in hindsight might not have been very wise because it was very time consuming. I also found myself relying on Portuguese more often than I would have liked.
- Repetition (from teacher and student alike) is SO very important at this stage! Once, twice, three times…