Hi, I’m Kristian, and welcome to the Learners of English Podcast, episode number 2. I’m Dutch, I’m 43 years old and I live in Prague, the Czech Republic. I teach English, mostly to adults, but also to teenagers.
In this second episode I want to address two things that I talked about in the first episode of the podcast: Firstly, I’m going to explain WHY I told you that I suffered from depression when I lived in the Netherlands, and secondly, I’m going to answer the question, Who is this podcast for?, into more detail.
OK, first things first. For the people who haven’t listened to the first episode of the podcast, I’m going to quote one segment in which I explained how I felt about my life 2 years ago:
I moved to Prague exactly 2 years ago today, at a time when I was really unhappy. I suffered from depression, I was on a waiting list for special therapy, and for the first time in my life I was taking pills to stop the noise in my head. Basically, to be completely honest with you, I was at my lowest point. There were many moments that I hated my life.
Heavy stuff, right? I know. And I know some people can feel a bit uncomfortable when they hear me saying these words. I understand. But personally I think there’s no need to feel uncomfortable. Mental health issues are everywhere in the world, especially these days, and generally speaking I think it’s good to talk about this topic. Even if it’s in the very first episode of a podcast for learners of English.
Having said that, there IS a specific reason why I began the podcast in this particular way, and I want to talk about this, before I continue to make any other episodes.
You know, for a long time I’ve wanted to start a podcast. But I wasn’t sure how to do it. I knew that I had something interesting to say, but I felt insecure to say it in public, because of what happened to me in my life before I became an English teacher.
A little voice kept telling me: Who are you to tell people how to improve their English, when your life was in a mess only 2 years ago?
And so I kept postponing the podcast for months and months.. until last week a thought popped into my head: my past is not the problem, my past is the opportunity. It’s the start of a story that could inspire other people who want to improve their English.
To explain this in more detail, I want to tell you about something that happened almost immediately after I started teaching English in Prague.
After class some students told me things like: “You’re really interested in us. You really want us to make progress. You always smile when you arrive. You always have energy.” And so on.
And then I wanted to tell them: That’s because I feel incredibly lucky that I’m here right now. A couple of months ago I felt at my lowest point. I felt sad and miserable. Now, here in Prague, I can do something I like and make some money at the same time. So I feel happy.
But I didn’t say that. Because I didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. But, to be honest, I didn’t feel good about this situation. Every time somebody asks me why I’m in Prague, I have to swallow the truth.
I don’t want that anymore. It’s time to move on. I’m now in a different stage of my life and I’m not ashamed about my past. if anything, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in the past two years. As a teacher, but more importantly, as a person.
So, that’s the reason why I started the podcast series with some straight-up talking about my mental health issues. Now that my past is out in the open, I feel completely free to talk about things like priorities, practice, patience and progress, all related to learning English.
OK, that’s it. I hope it’s clear now why I decided to become an English teacher in Prague and why I’m excited to start this podcast adventure. If you want to get in touch with me, you can send me an email or leave a comment on my blog, learnersofenglish.com.
Take care of yourself, and each other, and I’ll catch you in the next episode!