Czech is not for the faint of heart.

Knitting is not for the impatient, but it can be learned and can teach patience.  Czech is not for the faint of heart.  It is learnable, and perhaps it can teach strength of heart.

I have just returned from my weekly 60 minutes of 1:1 Czech.  I am not always the nicest student.  I don't believe it's because I'm a teacher, but because I'm a perfectionist.  Moreover, I'm a perfectionist who also keenly feels her own error.  Thus when corrected, I am both disappointed in myself but also feel a little bit stomped on since I often feel my error as I make it.  In a classroom, I usually am not the slowest, and I don't catch the criticism of the teacher so my pride isn't wounded.  In a 1:1 session, I am the fastest and the slowest.  All of my victories and failings are seen.

Today, I was doing an activity where I was reading out loud an unfamiliar text with new vocabulary  while trying to simultaneously a) pronounce things correctly, b) understand the text, c) fill in the blank with missing words--which usually were dependent upon a grammatical structure.  I was mainly focused on the grammar aspect and somewhat on the comprehension while also trying to read at a natural pace.  As such, my pronunciation fell by the wayside and as I stumbled over the word zvířata.  It's an innocent word, meaning "animals", which features one of the most dreaded (but pronounceable) sounds of the Czech language: ř.  (It is something like a rolled "r" meets the second "g" in garage.)

I pronounced it poorly and caught the quick, corrective tongue of my teacher.  Being keenly aware of the complexity of the activity I was doing and how much I was straining, I reacted to the tone of her voice and jumped in with a (not-at-all-childish) mini-Czech monologue defending myself in the face of such a daunting task.  She replied by reminding me that she's my teacher and she ought to correct me.

It was then that my brain flashed to the book Willpower that I've been reading, which talks of how self-esteem basically helps no one in any way to be successful--unless they dream of becoming narcissists.  So, here's to many more errors, many more corrections, and future strength of heart.


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