Accepting Slow Progress

This week I split my time up into two one-hour sessions. On Tuesday, I met with Eli for the first time this week. To begin our session I practiced the alphabet, and this ended up taking most of the time again. After we got done with this, I practiced spelling. Thursday’s session was similar. I met with Eli in the afternoon, and we AGAIN started with the alphabet. It didn’t take quite as long this time, and we were able to move onto words earlier. This time, we practiced bathroom words: sink, shower, toilet, etc. At first, he said the words, and I would spell them. To end our session, I practiced saying the words I had spelled.

Even though I am learning alone (hence the independent learning project), I can’t help but feel behind, so I continued studying on my own. I started the habit of reciting the alphabet in my head whenever I think of it. I used this website if I forgot how any of the letters were pronounced. I study the words Eli has had me spell so far and tried to remember their definition. Eli told me that once I get the pronunciations and phonetics down, we will move on to simple sentences and more challenging words. I was expecting the process to be slow, but I didn’t think it would be quite this slow. Eli is a great teacher, and I enjoy and appreciate learning from him, but I can’t help but wish my process was a bit quicker. I have put in over twelve hours to this project, and there are letters in the alphabet I still struggle pronouncing.

Although this is a frustrating experience, I know every new opportunity to learn is a good one. I have become proficient in a few skills since a young age, but it has been a long time since I have attempted learning a new one. I began playing sports in the second grade, and I started taking piano lessons around the same time. Over the past ten (plus) years, I have been improving my skill in these crafts, but I have not picked up a new one. Remembering this reminds me that I must be patient. I have also noticed some definite progress which is very encouraging, and every time we go through the alphabet, Eli is impressed with my improvement. Although I was hoping to be more knowledgeable of the language by this time, I am learning to appreciate any progress, even if it is slow.



  1. This is a great learning project. I don’t blame you for wanting to see results sooner, I feel the same way about mine. I know that with time I will see results its just hard when its only been two weeks. If you ever need help with anything, I also speak Spanish so I can totally help you out if you ever need it, or if Eli isn’t around to help you! Good Luck!


  2. Timmi,

    I am in the same boat you are in too. I am learning sign language and it has been a very difficult thing to do. I knew it would be a struggle, but not as big of a struggle as I am having right now. It takes time to learn things we have almost no knowledge about, and it is best to not rush through them. Slow and steady wins the race, so just stick with it and you will feel so accomplished once you are done! Great blog post!



  3. Really interesting article. I like how you acknowledged the fact that it was less progress than you would have hoped to have had by now but you know every learning experience is just that, an experience. Keep your head up, and keep going strong!


  4. Timmi,
    I still think that it is cool that you are wanting to learn Spanish. My roommate speaks Spanish fluently and I like to sit and listen to her talk on the phone and decipher what she is saying. I am to the point now that I know what she is saying for the most part, but usually cannot put them together in a sentence fast enough.


  5. I know it can be so frustrating, but I hope you’ll stick with it. Are there any good apps that Eli has recommended. I now 2 hours a week isn’t much for learning a language. So if there’s anything to practice with in short time periods throughout the week, that would be helpful. Honestly, after taking 3 years of Spanish (and just a little in college), I think I learned more Spanish by spending about a week in a tiny village in south Mexico (where none of the villagers knew a word of English). Being so secluded, it felt like my life depending on figuring out how to communicate. LOL I also remember my mom and brother watching TV shows in Spanish (I grew up in Texas where so many people were fluent). I really think you’ve selected a language that will be helpful in American schools. Maybe you’ll be more surprised by your progress than you think come this May. 🙂 Fingers-crossed!!


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