Tere! This means “hello” in my native Estonian. I have taught this word countless times to the students in my Estonian language classes and spoken it in all the following classes during these past six years that I have been teaching Estonian. My name is Riina Roasto, I am a lecturer of the Estonian language and culture at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, a translator, and a PhD student in Finno-Ugristics at the University of Vienna.
I commenced my teaching career more than ten years ago by teaching Spanish, Portuguese and French in various Estonian language schools and at the University of Tartu in Estonia. As my passion for Romance languages evolved, it also sparked a renewed interest in my own native tongue. In 2013, I was very fortunate to have an opportunity to teach the Estonian language and culture at Lviv university in Ukraine, where I also continue working today.
It is sometimes believed that Estonian is a difficult language. If I were to ask my students in Lviv, they would answer that Estonian is easy. It is important for me to introduce a language as a simple logical system that is easy to understand and use. Students then feel motivated, want to keep on learning, and quickly advance. As a teacher, I structure my classes and deliver knowledge in a clear and engaging way, combining theory with practice. By teaching students from a wide range of learning techniques, I always try to provide a personal approach to each student and adapt to their needs, so that they are able to continuously improve their grammar and vocabulary. I take great pride in seeing how in Lviv there are numerous students whom only a year or two ago, I taught this very first word tere in our first language class, and now they speak fluent Estonian.
Besides my endeavours to make my classes useful, I aspire to make them entertaining and fun. Estonian is not the most popular language in the world, it is therefore important to me that my students have a great time in the lesson. Through fun, interactive classes and amusing language games, students develop their love for Estonian and want to keep on learning. When I started working in Ukraine, I had three students. Today, the number of Estonian language students has grown to 35. I am delighted to see that my work has been beneficial, that every year there are more students interested in Estonia and in Estonian, have fun learning the language and always want to return.
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