How I Overcame Obstacles of Learning English
Back in Minsk, Belarus, where I was born, I used to go to a school that was considered an English school. While all the classes were taught in Russian we were given a class where we learned English. I had no idea why I would need English in a Russian speaking country, but I did not have a choice, so I went to the class.
A year or so later, I found out that I would be leaving my homeland behind to move to the United States of America. I was not thrilled that I was leaving to an unknown new place, but it seemed that now what I learned in English class would come in handy. Of course when I came to America, I realized that whatever I learned back in Belarus had vanished and the only word I remembered was no. While no does come in handy, clearly that is not enough to communicate with other people.
When it was time to go to school I was placed into fifth grade instead of fourth because of the age I was, so I ended up skipping a grade. Since I enrolled in school toward the second part of the year I was there for only a few months. I was unsure how I would communicate with other people, but it turned out that I was placed into a Russian class. Everyone there was Russian-speaking, even the teacher. I thought that would make it easier to communicate and even understand the lessons being taught, but it turned out that everyone spoke English among themselves, and that the classes were taught in English as well. It was clearly a challenge for me, but I was fortunate enough to make friends with a few classmates who helped me translate and filled me in on the material being taught.
While attending fifth grade, I excelled in some classes, like math, where I didn’t really need to know much English, and struggled in those where knowledge of English was a necessity. I remember on graduation day I got an award for being so well behaved in class, and while I am usually a well behaved person, the reason I was so well behaved and quiet during class was because I didn’t know English. It is because of that that I could not really be active in class and participate in class discussions.
I was unsure how I would be able to master English, and if I would even be able to accomplish this task at all, but that is something that had to be done. In sixth grade my grades were still not high due to my lack of English. I would take time doing my homework assignments, and often enough had to use the dictionary so that I could do the homework correctly. Using the dictionary was not something that thrilled me but I had no choice. I had to learn English, even if it meant not going outside to play with my friends. So, I spent my afternoons after school not only doing my homework but also doing other things, like watching TV programs, and reading easy English books and English study guides, that would help me learn English once and for all.
Little by little I began to get accustomed to the English language and was able to read, write, speak, and understand it. While I wasn’t a master yet, it was enough to get by at the moment. It took a number of years to get really good, and, while I have a full grasp of the language now, there are still things left to learn...
Having nailed a new language like English, I ended up falling in love with writing. I remember taking ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, where the second part of regular class exams was an essay. I would always be the last one to leave the class on those days. I was not struggling with the essay. I loved writing so much that I found it hard to stop writing. My ESL teacher was very proud of me, and told my mom and me, at a Thanksgiving Dinner gathering at the school, that I should go into journalism. I did take a journalism class in junior high school and even wrote an article for the school paper but for some reason I did not pursue journalism later in life. I did not stop writing, however, and have not stopped since.
While I do not have a career in journalism, I have a lot of writing under my belt—poetry, lyrics, prose, short stories, and other writing. On top of that I have published twelve books. One is a novel, another is a poetic tale, and the rest are either poetry, lyrics, or a combination of both; some even have prose pieces.
Ever since I fell in love with writing, I have dreamed of being a published author one day and have my books be read by people all over the world. Now that this is a reality for me I am very proud to be a published author. Also, I am very grateful to have been presented with the opportunity to share my gift with the world and to be able to touch people’s lives with the written creations I bring to life. I am very proud of myself. English was an obstacle for me for a while, but with determination and hard work I have mastered it. This goes to show that anything is possible, so long as we have the drive to achieve it.
Being a published author is not a career but a side project at the moment. Maybe one day it will be my main source of income. No matter which career path I am taken on, and no matter where life takes me, I will never stop writing. And I will keep on writing and publishing books.
© 2010 Lena Kovadlo