My experience of learning English
I am a healthy young mother of two children who came from Myanmar. Before I came to New Zealand, I lived in a Thai refugee camp. I lived in the camp for about 20 years.
I had learned a little English in the camp, and now I’ve been in NZ for 4 years. When I arrived in Palmerston North I went to the English Language Partners’ ‘Mothers Group’ for learning English.
I enjoyed learning English there because I could take my little baby. When I went to the group I could read and write a little, but it was hard to speak English. It was also hard to understand the language.
I learned English for about a year at the group, I could understand a bit more than the other learners, so they used to ask me “What did the teacher say?” I used to help them, and explain the meanings of words so they could understand. Later the teacher also needed me to help the other learners.
I liked helping them and I am now a volunteer at the Mothers Group.
Helping volunteers to train as ESOL home tutors
Sometimes my teacher asks me to do a speech at the volunteer ESOL home tutor training. I have never done a speech in English in front of a large group of people before. The first time I did a speech at the tutor training I couldn’t stand up and do the speech because my knees were shaking, so I sat and spoke. When I had done it a few times there was no problem for me to stand in front of the people and speak. But sometimes I felt nervous.
Learning with an ESOL home tutor
Also, I am learning English at home with my ESOL home tutor, Cathy. She is teaching me a lot of things about life in New Zealand. She took me to new places that I hadn’t been to before. She’s teaching me a lot of reading, writing and speaking. I have a great tutor. If I hadn’t met her, I wouldn’t know so much about life in NZ.
Cathy also taught me to drive a car, and in 2016 I got my driver licence. Then I could go anywhere and I could take my children everywhere. After I got my licence my teacher told me maybe next year you will get a paid part-time job at English Language Partners. I was surprised and I didn’t believe in myself. “I am not good enough yet!” I thought. Last year I got a part-time job at English Language Partners’. I love my job because I like working with people and I like helping the learners.
It is so easy to be confused by words
One of my friends told me that her son played football near the house and broke a small pane of glass. She asked me, “Can you help me to go to the Professional Real Estate and tell them about the broken pane of glass?” So we went there and I went to the receptionist and tried to explain about the broken glass.
The receptionist lady told me that it was not their responsibility – but our responsibility. The lady said you would have to call Hughes Glass. But I told her it was not a huge one but it was a small one. I thought she asked me about a huge glass or a small glass. Then she wrote down on the paper “Hughes Glass”. And the telephone number. After that I understood- English is not an easy language!
For the future, I want to be a good English speaker and a good translator.
That is my story about learning English.