An American professor starts addressing a small class at a Ukrainian Pedagogical University. His speech flows so freely & elegantly. His choice of words & the way he puts his sentences together fascinates us, ESL students. We listen with our jaws dropped, literally or figuratively. How is it possible that he makes no mistakes while talking? Such a standard of public speaking in English may seem way out of reach to me & my classmates, and rightfully so.
I have studied English since childhood; nevertheless, now I realize that I will never ever be able to speak like this American professor. It is kind of sad. It brings up a feeling of deficiency. I have so much to say, but my English vocabulary is poor in comparison to this excellent speaker! Comparison. I do compare myself to him, and it is not to my advantage at all. I feel sad because my English will probably never be as good as his. Yeah.. Wait! What is that I hear?! The American professor makes a clumsy attempt to say… one word in Russian! It sounds so funny & hardly recognizable.
My perception of the situation changes in a split second! Well, well, well! Now, I am a real professor in English in comparison to his Russian! And he even has not tried to say anything in Ukrainian yet while I know those two languages & making very good progress in learning English – my 3rd language! That changes everything! My feeling of deficiency cannot linger anymore. It is replaced by confidence: I am a well-educated, hardworking, bilingual & multitalented person. Thanks, prof, I learned the lesson!