A Day in the Life of an English Teacher
HELLO FROM SAMANTHA
Tonight I’m going to follow your example, Juliette, and write a quick entry for my blog. Your comparison between writing and baking a cake is an excellent one! We call this comparison a metaphor, which means that we attribute (or give) the qualities of one thing or activity to another thing. In this case, you compare the time, effort, ingredients and experience needed for baking different types of cakes to different types of writing. Great idea! Your cake sounds delicious! I’ll try it out sometime.
A few bloggers reminded me that my last blog was rather late. I know you want to improve your English, but please do not sleep by the computer! This is a definite case of being a studyholic. I thought I would tell you a little bit about how I write these blogs, and why I always work at night. As you all know, I’m an English teacher. The classes I have taught this week have all gone well so far… yesterday I was teaching a group of would-be interpreters about the language of English law. We looked at some real legal documents: do you know what they all are? (i) a cross-examination with a forensic expert (ii) a witness statement (iii) a ruling from the Court of Appeal (iv) a contract to guarantee sole distribution rights. I think my students found this lesson tough but interesting! In another lesson with (with Erasmus exchange students) we listened to a tape recording of an international student being interviewed. She gave some advice about studying in the UK. Her English was excellent, but the interview itself was a little boring, so I asked my students to interview each other while I filmed them to make a bite-sized documentary. Next time you watch the news, look out for the “noddie shots”. The interviewer asks a question, then when the person (interviewee) replies, the recording cuts to a shot of the interviewer nodding in agreement. Well, I asked my students to nod for me while I filmed them in profile, and they thought it was so hilarious that things got a little out of hand. We are going to edit the recording then use it with new students.
Fortunately, this week I haven’t had to go to any long meetings yet. I hate meetings! I think they are such a waste of time. I once saw a chart in a time management book which showed the cost of a meeting per minute depending on the number of staff attending. It’s astronomical! Most of the time, the information you receive at a meeting could be distributed by email. The purpose of the meeting (the hidden agenda) is to remind you who is in charge, and that a certain hierarchy exists within your organisation. I usually sit looking very serious, as though I am listening very carefully, but actually I am thinking about what I’m going to cook for dinner that evening, and what shopping I need to do. Or sometimes I sit with a large notebook open, and it looks as though I am taking notes, when in fact, I’m correcting student essays.
So, as well as my teaching and meeting-going, you remember I have a family! I’m not saying that I’m the best mother by any means, I wish I could be better, but I have to do lots of things for my two sons… they really keep me busy with all of the clothes that need washing, meals, baths, and we have to fit in some fun as well! And I do have to talk to my husband now and again, otherwise he would probably sack me. (I’m only joking). So finally, when both of my children are asleep and “Match of the Day” (football programme) is keeping my husband occupied, I can have a couple of hours to myself and I write this blog! Tonight’s blog has been very, very easy to write. I haven’t really had to think about it at all. But if I want to teach you something, it’s different. I have to think about a vocabulary or grammar point and try to explain it in a one-way lesson. I want you to understand, but I can’t check if you are following! So I spend a long time wondering about how to include the teaching content in a short little blog. But please don’t stay waiting by the computer! It would make me feel very guilty.
Anyway, that’s all for tonight,
Thank you for all of your comments. It’s great to see comments from so many parts of the world, and wonderful to see you using the vocabulary from the blogs!
USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
this is the use of a literary device whereby the qualities of one thing are given to another.
intending to be, aiming to be.
factual programme on tv or radio.
cut to a shot of (phrase)
(on television / in films) moves to an image of something.
move your head up and down, to say yes.
in profile (phrase)
from the side
out of hand (phrase)
out of control, undisciplined.
hidden agenda (noun)
the real purpose, which is disguised.
structure of power.
sack someone (verb)
to fire someone from a job (used jokingly here).
in this case, it means that the process of communication has no immediate feedback.
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