Regular Column: Teacher’s Confession by Ushakiran Wagle
Dear readers of NELTA ELT Forum,
I am Umes Shrestha *, one of the editors of this wonderful blog. From this month, I am starting this “Teacher’s Confession” series where I feature English language teachers and their personal stories of struggle, achievement, good and bad experiences and so on. For this month, I am sharing a confession by Ushakiran Wagle with you all.
I have known Ushakiran Wagle for almost four years now. We had met at Kathmandu University, School of Education while I was studying M.Ed. in ELT (she had already finished her Masters). Since then, I have known as a very passionate teacher, an avid researcher and a very helpful colleague. She is also constantly seeking to develop herself professionally in the field of education and training. I feel very happy to feature her in this Teacher’s Confession series and I hope our readers will find bundles of motivation from her experience.
Here’s Ushakiran Wagle and her confession:
Being a student of English language was the most frightening experience I have ever had. My Dad didn’t enroll me to a private English medium school where I could get exposure to English. Therefore, I didn’t get an opportunity to speak English during my childhood. However, my father being an English language teacher always encouraged me to learn English from the day I was promoted to Grade four. I emphasize Grade four as it was when I first learnt the ABCs of English.
During these past 18 years of learning English, I have had a myriad of experiences. Some of them still frustrate me and some of them keep motivating me.
Generally a Master’s level student is expected to be able to put forward the ideas that they have in front of a mass. But in my case, I was not able to do so due to insufficient English speaking exposure. I used to form the idea in my mind in Nepali language and translate that into English. Till the time this process happened I sounded as if I was stammering. Once one of my tutors asked me a question in my Masters class but I was not able to respond instantly. After that incident, he started to believe that I had a speech disorder.
This was the most frustrating incident that happened with me right at the beginning of my Masters study at Kathmandu University. But gradually the very incident motivated me as well. Yes! I felt guilty that I could not speak but I knew that it was not my fault either. It was frustrating because my tutor, instead of supporting me and helping to speak in English, asked me a nonsense question. I was hoping that one day I would be able to speak fluently with other friends and people around. But alas! My dream was about to vanish. However with a little positive vive came in my heart that I needed to show them that neither I nor any of my family members had speech disorder. So I continued practicing speaking English. I gave presentations, I listened to how the teacher pronounced each and every word and I made my ears and the tongue accustomed to the English language.
I can say now that had I not been questioned by the teacher about my capability, I would never have had a feeling of justifying myself and would never have been able to speak the way I do it now.
When my students tell me that they are not able to speak as they are not from English medium school background, I proudly share the story of my life with them. This incident, which was very frustrating for me at first, always motivates me as well as my students to move further to accept the challenge that we have.
(*Mr. Shrestha is a M.Ed. ELT (KU), M.A. MCJ (PU) graduate. He is a co-founder of #PresentationStuffs http://www.presentationstuffs.com. Besides, he is working as a faculty at Ace Institute of Management and King’s College in Kathmandu. A tireless blogger, Mr. Shrestha can be found with his write-ups in his personal blog http://latebecame.wordpress.com/. He is a Life Member of Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA). )