By Jolana, an ELL Student at our Addison County Learning Center
My beginnings in Vermont were marked by euphoria. Everything was new to me, exciting and interesting. My self-taught English was met with considerate understanding, absolute hospitality and friendly encouragement. My pronunciation has sometimes been the subject of smiling situations. Can you imagine how terrified I was when I ordered “vodka” as a drink instead of ordinary water at a restaurant? When this situation repeated itself a few times a ‘la Amelia -Bedelia, it ceased to be cute; it became frustrating to me.
My lifelong passion for reading books turned into an outright cracking of text with a dictionary in my hand. While watching movies, I missed details, which did not please me. My very nature is that I avoid the superficial perception of anything. As I became aware that my self-study book, English is Easy, no longer pushed me forward in English grammar, I decided to find help. I discovered Vermont Adult Learning in Middlebury, and happily thought, “EUREKA !”
The first meeting with the kind and welcoming teacher Mary was accommodating, full of understanding and a willingness to help. I immediately felt the reviving spirit of school, this time as a student. (Jolana was a teacher in her native Slovakia.) With joy and gratitude, I accepted my teacher’s helping hand and began to penetrate the secrets of the English language. Mary, with infinite patience, leads me and my classmates from different parts of the world, not only to master grammar—she also teaches us the rules of syntax. She helps us get used to all verb tenses, phrasal verbs, synonyms and homonyms. Through various teaching methods and forms, we learn about adjectives, nouns and adverb clauses as well as combining sentences, editing text, etc.
In my opinion, Mary is a perfect teacher. She always encourages us to practice, with the demanding TOEFL tests too, and often presents us bold challenges. She says: ”Apply what you have learned, study further, write essays, find your individuality in your new home and always keep going!”
Mary’s enthusiasm inspires us. We do not give up. We improve, perhaps slowly, but firmly. We step forward and we are thankful. We are extremely grateful for the educational opportunity Vermont Adult Learning provides us. My respect and thanks go to all the admirable people I have met in this school.