I don’t know what to do anymore, can you please help me.
The message was a real cry for help, and although I did not have very much experience I couldn’t turn her down, so I reached out my hand and offered her my help.
How can I help you, and what is the problem I asked.
The woman, a native Dutch woman in her fifties needed help desperately to get her B2 level Dutch.
She was not very high educated with only a high school diploma she started working in her twenties, to become a mother and a house wife, now working in a day care centre with young children for years already, very happy and very well equipped for her job.
However, the Dutch government has changed some regulations stating that each and every person working in schools/ kindergartens / day care centres and so on, need to have a minimum of B2 level Dutch.( which is equivalent to Bachelor level )
She already applied for a course and an exam, but she was not able to work her way up to the B2 level she needed, she stayed stuck on B1 and she was in a state of panic, when she couldn’t pass her exam she needed to quit the job she loved so much.
I invited her for a trial lesson and I felt so sorry for her, when we met on Skype, I saw a desperate woman, literally bursting out in tears, completely hopeless. She wasn’t able to speak her own native language anymore she cried out. She forgot everything she learnt at school and now she did not know what to do anymore.
For me it was a huge challenge, not only to help her pass the exam, but also giving her back the confidence and make her understand the difficult grammar rules of our language.
When you are a native speaker, you use the grammar rules automatically correct, but very often you do not know exactly how the theory works. That meant for me, that in the working process with my student I had to dig in deep in the Dutch language, and investigate all these grammar rules, with even more exemptions to these rules. For me it was an excellent experience, for even though I did not know the theory, when reading about it, I did understand and the best part was that I was also able to explain this to my student.
We started working very intensively, 2 times a week in June, starting with all the skills, speaking, writing, listening and reading. With exercises and working our way through the theory with a very useful study book, and a lot of websites. After we finished the book we started to practice the exams and I also worked with her as a coach to train her in speaking with confidence, practicing debating and speeches. For writing she practiced with the different types of scripts: exposition, argument and contemplation and I gave her all kinds of articles to read, for the understanding part.
The date of her exam was in September, she was very nervous, but it went well and finally several weeks later she was so happy. Yes, she passed her exam. She now has a B2 level degree in Dutch language.
I am happy and very proud of her, she achieved this with a lot of effort. However I am also proud of myself, because I managed to work with her to reach this wonderful milestone.
From Miss Lien (https://www.italki.com/teacher/6202364)