Friday, May 28, 2010

My first student

I started giving private lessons during my first year of university. Not that I knew a lot about teaching at that time. Like most students I simply wanted some extra cash and since I studied English, teaching English was the easiest option available.

My first (an only) student that year was my cousin, Kamila. We used to meet every Friday and the poor thing had to cope with my lack of experience and obsession with grammar and vocabulary. I was, apparently, a very strict teacher, getting very angry had she forgotten anything we had covered the week before.

Sometimes we would simply sit and chat, half Polish, half English about a number of issues – old age, money, parents, environment and the future. Gosh, how many dreams we had. It did feel weird and unnatural to speak English to a member of your Polish family but once we started talking, all inhibitions were left behind. And then we talked for hours which I considered, at that time, a waste of time.

Kamila was a very bright and hard-working student, always doing her homework and picking up things very quickly. No wonder that in due time, she got the highest grade form her oral Matura (end-of-high school) exam. How proud it made me feel!

Now, a couple years later, I can’t help wondering. What does a student’s success depend on? The student or the teacher?

Is it his/ her intelligence and motivation or the teachings skills and attitude of a teacher that matter?

My mum used to say that a bright student will learn anyway regardless of how good or bad a teacher is.  Can we hold that true?

My first student, Kamila, lives with her husband Paul in Brisbane, Australia.

How about your first student?

Kamila and Paul :)

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