• Kathleen Lees

Celebrate the Small Victories

Updated: Jun 16


I notice that most students initially struggle with a few things, no matter where they come from; these are regular past tense verbs and the placement of adjectives.


When learning English, it's very easy to want to say "-ed" as a separate syllable for all regular past tense verbs. (In words such as helped, robbed, etc., yet these are all one-syllable words...) Most regular past tense verbs are only one syllable. However, this rule changes if a regular past tense verb ends in a "t" or a "d." (Example: started, needed... these are two syllables.) (And the rule does not apply to irregular past tense verbs, which unfortunately, must be memorized.)


In addition, in most languages other than English, adjectives come after a noun... In English, adjectives come before...


Learning these things are tricky, and not something that students grasp overnight. Like learning any new language, it's easy to fall back into the old habits that come with our native tongue. If any new students come to class, I always review these concepts because I know they might be new for some and are also a good review for others. (After all, they're easy to forget.) It's really the consistency that helps them fall into place as part of the permanent structure of our learning and future memory.


I celebrate when I hear students speak with the correct verb tense, part of speech, etc. It not only means they're learning, but that they've been putting in the time to come to class (no matter what's going on in their lives, which isn't always easy) and probably working on their own, as well. It takes a lot of effort to learn a new language--in and outside of the classroom. Most of all, it takes a lot of vulnerability.


Progress and Resilience

Like most of my posts, I (try to) bring it back to writing. Being a writer, you do open yourself up to a lot of criticism. And you sort of learn that the word "no" doesn't phase you like it might have when you were younger, because you've heard it a lot. (If it does, then you either need to grow a thicker skin or get out of the business.)


And even beyond that, I would go so far to say it makes you grow. Hearing the word "no" makes you question the validity of your work (whether it was actually good enough or not.) It makes you research more for next time. It makes you work harder. It gives you a break to work on it longer.


As you've seen in my previous post, I've submitted to quite a few publications (local and out of state.) I have some work coming out this summer. And finally, I had one idea of my own which I pitched to a local publication (after several rejections). Just that one made all the rejections worth it.


I know that I'll still have a lot more rejections after this, and I have a lot of professional work to do (as a teacher and a writer.) But I'm really looking forward to it all.


Did you achieve any accomplishments (big or small) recently? Share in the comments below.



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