Wednesday, February 2, 2011

upper intermediate? really?

I recently watched this talk on TED about why we have too few women leaders and why only a small percentage of women reach the top of their professions (Thanks Steph!).  I thought it was a good, inspiring talk and I agreed with most of it.  This week, I realized that part of that talk surprisingly stuck with me and helped me make a decision.

I met Camilla last Friday, a non-German woman, recently married to a German man and living in Frankfurt.  She is taking German lessons and was raving about the school she is attending.  Since it has been time for me to take a German course for a while now, I decided to check it out.  Turns out, she wasn't raving for nothing.  It's a very charming school, in a nice neighbourhood in the city, with highly qualified teachers and super friendly staff.  A little more expensive than the alternative I was considering, but the obvious quality difference and the fact that they told me I could start as soon as tomorrow led me to choose them.  If you are reading this and are living in Frankfurt needing to learn German, please do check this school out.  It's called A-viva.

So yesterday I attended my first class.  On my first visit on Monday we assessed my level by taking a short test.  I thought my level was B1, which is lower intermediate.  Turns out, they thought I should be in the B1.2 - the upper intermediate class.  I was a bit hesitant about this, since I really didn't want to be overwhelmed and I am a bit obsessed about doing things in the right order and not skipping steps, even if it slows me down sometimes.  But I agreed to try the class today and if I found it too challenging, I could switch.

I found the class a bit difficult and I felt that compared to the other students, my German was not as good. They had a better vocabulary and a better understanding of some grammar issues.  At break I was thinking about switching ... but then a part of that talk popped into my head - the part that says women don't get ahead because the are always underestimating their abilities.  I thought about this and wondered if this is what I was doing?  I'm definitely not one to shy away from hard work, but I'm always careful not to overestimate my abilities.  I don't know why I do this.  Maybe it has something to do with fairness or believing that you shouldn't lie to get ahead and that being modest is better than being vain...  But is taking a more challenging class lying just because I don't believe in myself?  I asked the teacher if she thought this was an appropriate level for me based on my performance and she agreed that it was without hesitation.   I thought about all the people I've met who say, "...but your German is quite good...".  I always push those comments aside because I assume people are just being nice.  So with these ideas in mind, I made the decision to stay in this class.  I decided to believe that even though I think I'm not good enough - I might actually be.   I hope that this class, and this decision will give me not just the boost I was searching for, but a power boost as far as my language skills are concerned, and allow me to get ahead faster and with more power.  Instead of being careful, I decided to get a little reckless.  I know, I'm such a crazy person, eh?  B1.1 vs B1.2... I'm just out of control!


1 comment:

  1. Good for you Holly! I told you that before. Effort = Life. But like you say, boosting the effort will make your life more interesting. Mommy, love you xoxoxox.....
    I am also glad that "TED" makes you do good desicions, but it takes Holly to apply it.
    Good job.