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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I often have to pull myself up sharply and remember that I am a guest in this country. I have that somewhat "American" attitude sometimes that there are so many things the Poles need to change ... as if I know better. It is hard to write this because I feel as if I will be judged just as I judge others.

I seethings that are wrong. This is not with regards to just Poland. My tendency in general is to observe and evaluate what I believe to be a problem and then think about what that solution would be. This was part of my academic training as well as part of my personality. I do not really know which came first or if one influences the other. I just know it is definitely a part of me. It has been my experience that people do not generally like to be told what is wrong ... unless he/she asks for it.

All this said, I now come to the point of my writing. I seem to have this attitude of superiority sometimes because I speak English. Before you judge me, hear me out!

I teach English here in Warsaw and I spend a large part of the day helping others learn the language. Naturally, I do a lot of correcting of grammar and pronunciation. This gives me a false sense of superiority to the intellectual abilities of my students. I literally have to tell  myself that the person is not "slow" ...  he or she simply cannot communicate in English ... yet. It repulses me when I catch myself with this feeling. Perhaps writing about it will diminish these thoughts. I also must remember that the student is actually learning a new language ... something I aspire to do.

Whenever I go to the grocery or some other place where knowing Polish would be beneficial, I am reminded that being unable to communicate is not a sign of weakness or less intelligence. I have had clerks get so angry with me that I cannot understand his/her question. This also brings me back to reality. I keep this feeling close as I can only be a good teacher if I understand the needs of my students and lose the arrogance.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joel its me again
    I’m often being judged because of my bad grammar and bad spelling and this makes me so angry. I’m severally dyslexic and a little lazy but I’m not stupid “I’m different” My mind works in a different way from most people, I never remember numbers, phone, pin even my house number. I have problems reading because the letters seem to jump around on the page, and lets not talk about reading out load. I also have a phobia of teachers because of my terrible experiences in school, teaches treating me like and idiot and thinking I was “slow”
    Thanks to my parents who stood by me through a difficult time in my childhood I’m a successful creative designer, they gave me encouragement and support. No one should ever judge someone if the trying to learn something and make mistakes along the way. Understanding the person, their needs, goals and dreams is much more important than any lesson.