How I became "Stove"

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

The truth is, we all make misteaks. Some big, some small, we all worry about making them.

When I suggest to a student that they need to speak, or write more in English, they often tell me that they are afraid of making a mistake. I cannot help but empathize, as I have faced the same challenges while studying other languages. However, it is important to remember that making mistakes and learning new skills go hand in hand.

To this day, I still remember a mistake I made about 20 years ago while I was learning Japanese. I had just started learning Katakana, and had a very basic grasp of it. To show off my newly acquired skills, I decided to write my name on the board in front of an eager class of new students. "My name is ストーヴ" I turned around with a giant smile on my face only to see a bunch of confused faces looking back at me and a whole lot of giggling. Half of them shouted back in laughter, "STOVE!" Several katakana characters flashed through my mind but I came up blank. Then, one of the students tiptoed to the front of the class, erased my name, and wrote スティーヴ It was a simple and innocent mistake, but the damage had been done.

From that day forward I was known as Stove and the students ran with it. This nickname followed me through my entire stay in Japan, and for several years after. To this day, it still comes up and I truly believe hearing the word stove while out in the city will always catch my attention. The upside of my blunder? Firstly, I added yet another humorous anecdote to share with friends, colleagues, and students. And secondly, no matter how much time passes without practicing Japanese, I will never forget those characters. They are forever planted in my memory all thanks to the little mishap. The lesson we learn here is that mistakes are all part of the learning process and that we should not be afraid of making them. In fact, we should embrace them as they will help us grow and improve.

The primary purpose of my website, blog, and Youtube channel, is to create a community of students who all share the common goal of learning and practicing their English. To share stories and knowledge in a place where everyone understands that learning another language is challenging. Don't be afraid of expressing your opinion or thoughts. Share your stories. Your English skills will improve over time.

Do you have a funny, embarrassing, moment where you made a language mistake? Let me know in the comments below, and share this blog with your friends. Let's practice English together.

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