First Language Class

So maaaaaybe “advanced beginner” is a little ambitious for me!

The little Korean I knew promptly disappeared as soon as 선생님 (“seonsaengnim” or “teacher”) began speaking. I have not heard much spoken Korean, so I spent most of the class trying to follow along and hoping that I was not the only one who was lost. It’s tricky to listen to the teacher, take notes, and look at the textbook at the same time when missing a word or two means the difference between understanding and confusion.

Our class has a no-English policy, so the teacher and students must speak in Korean. We have a break every hour, so my class gets together for those few minutes to speak in English and piece together what we may have missed. It will take a lot of study and practice to feel comfortable with the language.

Even though it has only been one day, my perspective on teaching English to foreign learners has changed because now I will have the experience of a foreign student learning a new language in a full-immersion classroom. My own teachers are so kind and patient with us so far, and I know I will have to exhibit these traits to my own students. If I ever feel frustrated as a language teacher this year, I will have to remember the frustration I felt as a language student.

Four hours of Korean class down. Seventy-six to go.


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