My way of learning English was thorny. I started learning it when I was 4 years old. But, if you think that such early learning is the reason for my level of language proficiency, I will try to rid you of these illusions by telling my story.When I was 4 years old my mom signed me for an English class for little kids. But I don’t remember staying there too long. So, my learning started since I entered elementary school. I studied at a regular school in my neighborhood, nothing special. Our class was divided into two small groups to study English. Each group was 12-15 students. We had 2 lessons per week. We leaned and crammed a lot. All the time new words, rules in which I didn’t understand anything. I had a dictionary and a grammar book. In class, we answered on the blackboard, wrote exercises and vocabulary dictations. As you can see the load was quite serious. Unfortunately, even this was not enough for me to be able to speak English well by the third year of study. Maybe I didn’t have a penchant for learning languages. Maybe the teacher didn’t fit, but our teachers changed every year. Maybe it was necessary to continue classes further. Which I did to lack of choice.
I went to school in 1999, and my elementary school fell on the change of the millennium. So, I don’t think that we had very good textbooks since they were either old or could not be bought. We were engaged in photocopied books. They were very bully all the pictures were black and white. So, from boredom in the classroom in which I didn’t really understand anything. I colorized these pictures.
Then I went to middle school and again transferred to another group. I don’t know why we were shuffled all the time. Most likely the system was that group one was for strong students and group two for weak. Depending on my success I was transferred here and there. Since in the third grade I nevertheless made a breakthrough and pulled English into grade B, in the fifth grade I was transferred to a strong group where I went down to grade C. Well, next year I was transferred to another group again.
Every year starting from the 6th grade we passed English exams for which we had to prepare very seriously. Over the years I had read and learned tens of English texts and did hundreds of grammar exercises. But my English still had a lot of problems. I had to deal with them at the university where I entered the major of technical exploitation of airplanes and engines.
I entered university right after I finished high school. We started learning English in the second semester. By the level of knowledge, all our students could be divided into 3 categories. First, those who don’t know anything. Second, those who know something. And third, who have a normal level of English. But most were in the first category. We were divided into two groups, but not according to the level of knowledge, but according to desire. After a couple of months, our teacher took pity on us and began giving additional tasks for strong students. If she wouldn’t do that I would have degraded our methodology because almost all students were reduced to cramming words and translating them. In few months many students simply stopped attending class meetings. There four of us left who were showing in the class. Since that teacher decided to take normal textbooks and learning more seriously.
I finally started to like classes and really began studying. By the time the Internet was fast, and it was easy to look for additional materials in English. This is where my real training began. I enjoyed watching movies, reading books, and working on my punctuation. I liked it so much that I spent a couple of hours daily learning English.
In my second year in university, I decided to go to the USA for the summer exchange program. I took additional lessons with a private teacher. So, we were preparing for a consulate interview all year long. I passed the interview in April. And in May I went to the USA. English helped me a lot with communication right from the exit from the plane, and till now on.
If you ask me if I was satisfied with my studies at the university, I will say that I’m disappointed. The school gave me a good base which should have been scientifically expanded in the university. And when I realized that no one needs my English I began working on my English myself. I would like to tell the students who will read my story that it’s possible that everything will not turn out so gloomy at your school as at mine, but do not console yourself with illusions. You will know as much as you learn yourself. Nobody will go out of their way to teach you something. Your English is your personal work.