Pre-Intermediate isn't a level....it's an attitude.

It's 8.45, in the offices of a bank in downtown Madrid. I'm packing up my things and getting ready to go home because the class was supposed to start at 8:30 and I don't know where anyone is. Then, just as I'm putting my coat on, R. comes in. I explain to her that the company policy is that if we don't see anyone for 15 minutes, we can go. Yes, she says, but the security guards told me that you were here so I didn't worry. Yes, I say, but I didn't know that you were here, and since no one else has come, I was going to leave. I don't think R. has understood what I meant.

Next: the homework. You didn't give us any exercises, so I didn't practice, R. says. This is the kind of attitude that makes me want to go back to being a waitress. Honestly. But it's normal. Sad, but normal. If I had a dollar (sorry, no more Euros now) for every time a student tried to make it my problem that they didn't study, I'd be rich. Honestly.

Let me ask you something: who is the boss of your class?

The teacher? The student?

No, YOU are.

Yes, YOU. Not the teacher. Not the school. The reason is easy to understand: only you can help yourself. If you don't know how to help yourself....if you aren't disciplined enough to review your class notes and do your homework...if you don't take responsibility for helping yourself... that is not the teacher's fault.

That's why so many people get stuck at the pre-intermediate level, in my opinion. It's not that they're dumb. It's not that they're bad at English. It's because they have a very unrealistic attitude that the teacher is the person who must do all the work. If the student fails, it's the teacher's fault. (Is it any wonder that so many qualified, experienced teachers are leaving Spain and going to other countries?)

"Pre-Intermediate" is not a level. It's an attitude.

Is that attitude getting you what you want? If not, it's time to change your way of thinking. In this economic climate, you don't have the option of thinking that someone else is going to do the work for you.

Ask your teacher for help.

Look on the Internet for ways to practice.

Review your notes!!

Just do....something....except blame the teacher.

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