I messed up. I knew I’d be busy teaching at a summer camp in July so I came up with the idea of a Summer Recording Challenge. I still maintain it’s a great idea, but I made a few mistakes in my approach. That’s ok, we’re all human and we can learn from our mistakes. Here are the lessons I learnt:
1. Test your equipment early and often.
I’d used my headset many times in Vietnam while skyping as well as to record on Rhinospike. I continued skyping when I returned home but little did I know, the headset had been damaged a little in my trip back to the UK and now features a heavy dose of static. It wasn’t until I attempted a trial run the day before I hoped to start the challenge that I found this static.
I tried to remove the buzzing noise with Audacity but it didn’t turn out right. I bought a new cheap headset when I had a day off and the chance to go to town, but I was already more than a week behind and had nothing but several static-filled recordings of the same text to show for it. I never caught up.
2. Get into a language routine before other big changes in your life.
If you know you’re going to have a busy month – an important project at work, moving house, a friend staying over – get your routine down before the busy period starts. It was a huge error to have the first day of the challenge coincide with the day that real work began at my summer gig. I wish I’d started a few days earlier, sorted out any problems before I got busy and built some momentum with the project, making it easier to stay committed.
3. Find it hard to stick to goals? Read this.
Last month I read an article which blew me away – finding it difficult to stick to rules or goals is a personality thing, which may have contributed to my lack of consistency with recordings. I don’t think this was the whole problem but given limited time and equipment problems as mentioned above, a so-called upholder or obliger probably would have made more effort to find a solution so they could keep up with the goal. Perhaps next time I should blackmail myself or just keep it a secret until it’s finished.
The summer isn’t over, I kept up with skyping every day so Vietnamese is still fresh in my mind. I have a new mic and some free time so I’m still going to try and complete the project, starting on Wednesday. It will be later than planned, but at least I learnt some valuable lessons along the way!
Over to you: How’s your summer language learning going?