By Lara Meneses Sousa
What is the meaning of learning or teaching English? Most people think that learning an additional language is through grammar, repetition, and tiring memorization of phrases and expressions, verbs, and all this in a robotic and mechanized way. Many also want to learn English, for example, as it will add to their curriculum. However, I see learning an additional language as something much bigger than an extra element in my curriculum. I see countless possibilities of getting to know different cultures, people, and places. It is about getting to know the whole world inside a classroom.
I heard that we could learn to drive a car and be a good driver even if we do not know the difference between a diesel engine and a gasoline engine. Similarly, we can learn Portuguese, express ourselves in our native language without knowing what a subordinate sentence is; that is, we can learn English without studying grammar as many people think.
I believe that the meaning of life is to live it in the best way possible and knowing English, which is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and is a way of living life through new learning. I think that the meaning of learning a new language is in this. However, many people like me have a hard time learning a specific language. I suffered, and I still suffer a lot while studying English. So, sometimes it seems that I will not learn until I graduate and I think about giving up, even though I know it is not the right thing to do. I have cried, I have stopped doing many things out of fear, I have thought, “what am I doing here?”, “why do I insist on that?” but I end up remembering that I cannot give up because something is being difficult or because I got frustrated at some point. I once heard that the brave are the ones who try, even if at some point they make a mistake; at least they tried. That is why I remain firm and strong, even if in some (several) moments I have relapses, I know that each one has their own time.
I have not had the experience as an English teacher yet, but I already have my purpose. I am very proud of the professors I have had throughout my life, but mainly of the university professors. Most of the teachers never let me give up and helped me in the best way possible, and, incredible as it may seem, it was always the language teachers who helped me to move forward. They always saw my potential and helped me to do my best. That is the kind of teacher I want to be. That is my purpose. I want to be that person who helps, who is always there. I want to do my best. Moreover, I think one of the reasons why I chose to be a language teacher is this: because in all language classes, we have a welcoming, trusting space, and we can be ourselves without prejudice.
To learn English or any other additional language, in my view, is to learn to live with differences – not only linguistic contrasts but also cultural and personal ones. And I think that being a language teacher is being able to talk about any subject in a classroom. It is the teacher who can open new horizons for students, new thoughts, and reflections. The language teacher is more than a teacher; it is about being a friend who is there to help with whatever is needed. Furthermore, teaching languages has a lot to do with the concept of freedom, autonomy, and self-determination. We can choose what we want to study within a classroom. We are free to be whoever we want. I think the beauty is in it.
My purpose in teaching English is to bring different possibilities to my students, show them how huge the world is, and how they can experience it all; that the world belongs to everyone! I want to be able to travel without leaving the place while teaching my students something that is of interest to any of them. I want to teach fun classes that will add to and help those in need. I want to be sure of myself, my potential and know that I am professionally capable of doing what is proposed. Learning English will not only add to someone’s professional life, but it will also go far beyond that. After I became an English student, I changed my concept of life and my thoughts. My mind was closed, and now I am growing more and more. Deep down, I am proud of myself and the people around me. I am grateful for all the opportunities that life has given me and looking forward to the next ones.
My name is Lara Meneses Sousa. I like to read, listen to music, watch movies and series. I am an undergraduate student of Additional Languages. My email address is email@example.com