A few weeks ago my Student Rosie* told me of a dream she’d had that I was in her bedroom answering phone calls on her landline and had asked her not to disturb me. What would have triggered such a bizarre dream?
Well, the night before she’d been talking to her mother saying she’d have to get up a little earlier the next day because she had English class. Her mother asked her if she was still having lessons with that teacher who wore glasses and had a captivating smile (author’s imagination) and Rosie* nodded. Her mother asked how long she’d been having classes with me and she said “nearly 10 years maybe”.
Then I told her that it would be around 19-20 years – on and off of course. I moved to the US for a period and then to Ireland. But it made me wonder what would make someone pay a teacher almost long enough for the latter’s retirement.
For many years she was what we would call a regular student – using textbooks, doing or trying to do homework, etc. But in recent years, we’ve been basically having “communication-based” lessons, sometimes throwing in some work-related material or presentation she would have to go through.
She has achieved a fluent advanced English level – which does not preclude mistakes. She still confuses he/she and his/her/your. Sometimes, tenses are a nightmare, but she feels perfectly capable of carrying on a meeting or phone conference.
Now, am I taking advantage of a situation and should tell her to terminate her classes? or is she still benefiting from those classes?
After a serious and hard analysis, I came to the latter conclusion. Both psychologically and linguistically she still can improve and she does, although slowly and haphazardly.
Sure, most people will benefit from a 3-5 year language program, but the same way that some professionals seek continuous improvement so some language learners require and can afford long-term language assistance.
* all names have been changed to prevent any legal issues.