Not many people here in the UK know that I studied to become a language teacher. I used to teach English at a grammar school in the Czech Republic. Then when I lived in Sydney, I also taught many foreigners. I am a qualified ESL teacher, and even daddy when I met him had no idea what that meant. ESL stands for “English as a second language”. When we returned to London, I was teaching ESL at a college in the city, but then I was pregnant with Isabelle, and that’s when I gave up my teaching. I don’t know if I was a good teacher, but I really enjoyed teaching English to my students, and had loads of fun doing so. I loved watching them learning and being able to communicate in a language that wasn’t their mother tongue.
When Isabelle was born, I decided I would be making sure she speaks Czech fluently, and can proudly tell you that she can. She speaks without any accent. Lately I have realised she makes a few mistakes as she thinks in English and translates into Czech, at least that’s what I think is happening. When we spend her summer holidays in the Czech Republic every year, I can see a massive improvement, and by the time we fly back to London she speaks it so well that you wouldn’t be able to tell her first language was English and not Czech.
Being a language teacher means when I do some homework with her, I use methods I was using when teaching other children. I think it is especially handy now, when she is trying to improve her reading and writing. When she started reading phonetically, I knew exactly what to do, and had to explain daddy what it was all about. That was ages ago, but I am sure that is has helped.
I love watching her being able to read more and more words, and write too. Sometimes she gets frustrated when she thinks she wrote something correctly, and I tell her that is isn’t correct. That is as new words she doesn’t know she writes phonetically. She tries hard, and is improving a lot every day!
Yesterday Isabelle was teaching my mum some English phrases when we were on Skype. I went upstairs to put Olivia to bed, and as I was walking down the stairs I heard her explaining to her nan what she wanted her to say. Then she had to repeat it again and again. I had to laugh as I saw a bit of me in her technique…. you never know; maybe one day she will become a language teacher too!