Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dear Students,

The last post contained a professional photo of the Vienna "rathaus" - city hall, and here is my own homemade version, fresh from my new digital camera.

Last week my groups were quite sharp! My lessons were about listening - first main ideas, then details and new words. I also explained that people don't need to understand 100% of what they hear. We don't do it in our native languages, and we don't need it in English, either. Just imagine the radio news or the weather forecast. You want to know how many degrees it will be, and if there will be rain or snow - no more.

I also taught grammar: countable-uncountable nouns with much, many, any, and some; and present perfect compared to past simple verbs, plus linking words (despite, although, even though, etc.). Otherwise, in one group we practiced making pie charts about our daily lives, and one student told me she travels 2 1/2 hours to work and 2 1/2 hours back home every day! I wonder how she uses the travel time.

How far do you travel to and from school or work, and what do you do while you are traveling? Please write a post!

I'll go first. I use public transport all the time. I check the bus schedule and go to the bus stop just on time so I don't have to wait a lot. Most of my travel time -- standing OR sitting -- I close my eyes and relax. About 20% of the time I read teaching materials or make notes about the lesson I have just finished (oh-oh, a present perfect verb has appeared!) Sometimes I look at the young women, because their clothes and accessories are interesting! By the way, if you are thinking ahead to spring 2010 fashions, here is a forecast.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back in the thick of things

Dear Students,

The title you see here is an English idiom. Here's the story, see if you can get the idiom's meaning from context.

It all started in Vienna.
Had a lovely time - saw things like the Rathaus at right, at night, in its Christmas beauty.

When I got home, I got the flu. Oh, was I sick! But I slept and drank juice, herb tea, and Unicum -- and now I am ready to teach again. Teaching is like most jobs: a combination of stress, interesting people, and things to do all the time -- it is "thick" like pudding! So, now I am back in the thick of things.