How to bear the unbearable? Wendesday, 9th August 2017

 

The kind of weather we are having in Oxford right now should be definitely put in a book with a notice
AVOID THE PLACE IF THIS is true. I am beginning to find it unbearable.
My humble soul which absolutely adores everything that is truly English is beginning to protest. I woke up at about 6.30 this morning and it had already
been raining. A pleasantly steady drizzle which can atuallly drive you up the wall – as the English say.
I always wear a sort of raincoat – I’ve got one with flowers and flemingos which Paula seems to like a lot and I have never used my umbrella so often as I have  here.
Sian, our teacher, keeps apologising for the weather. This summer has been very gloomy and dark and unpleasant.
OXFORD’S SECRETS
Thurday, 10th August 2017
Staying in Oxford has been an eye-opening experience and I have been able to unveil a few secrets:
Secret no 1 - there is no such institution as an Oxford University. There are 38 independent colleges – Christ Church College, St Magdalen College, Worcester College, Trinity College. They have got their own premies, different presidents and follow individual curricula. Paula said she thinks they do cooperate, but they are all independent. Students in Oxford study only for 24 weeks – three terms whereas in other places 30 weeks and the fee is 9000 pounds a year just as anywhere else in the country.
Secret no 2 - they are 5 minutes behind Greenwich Meantime. Well, that is actually only true about Christ Church College – all the services happen five minutes later as they kept the old time before they had agreed on Greenwhich Verion.
Secret no 3 - Lewis Carrol didn’t actually exist. If you come to Oxford there are Alice in Wonderland souvenirs all over the place and the book was written about a real girl who was Dean’s daughter at the most famous Christ Church College, but the writer was Charles Dodgeson who was a mathematician and he didn’t like to be associated with silly stories he came up with at a picnic :) so he use a penname.
Secret no 4 - There have been more films shot here than anywhere else in the UK and I think toursim and film industry bring the place most of its money. Just a gew examples: Harry Potter, Mummy with Tom Cruise, Belle, The Riot Youth
Secret no 5 - accommodation is quite pricey here so people live on boats.
This is partly true, but there are boats for rent and our German teacher are staying one week longer in Oxford renting a moored boat on the river Thames.
Secret no 6 - residents of Oxford call the river Thames :”Isis” as if Oxford had a different language or simply lived a legend.
Secret no 6 - Our teacher Sian has got a few secrets, too. She comes from Wales and she is an artist painter. You can discover it using the link  
http://www.siantezel.co.uk/Sian_Tezel/Home_page.html
That’s all folks. Hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing this blog entries :)

CULTURE SHOCK = CULTURE FACTS

Fact one: Driving on the left hand side is the first culture shock you experience.
Ok you don’t drive yourself or even ride a bike but believe me it takes
a while to get used to and you especially struggle at tricky roundabouts
to cross the road. And the drivers stop reluctantly to let you cross.
Fact  two:  You queue everywhere you can. What strikes you is that everybody
politely queues at bus stops.
It is considered rude or in the old times it was illegal to jump the queue. As our
teacher says: If in doubt, queue.
Fact three: there are two taps in the bathroom so you get a choice of cold or
boiling hot water. I thought they wanted to save water expenses this way. No, this
goes back to the times when there was no valve to join two pipes carrying water.
The English introduced the running water quite early.
Fact four: They eat their dinner at 6.30 or even later and lunch at 1 is a small meal
consisting of a sandwich or a salad. How they live through the day I don’t have a clue.
Fact five: English power sockets are three pins. Your guess is as good as mine but I think they simply want to cut the power off for the foreigners :)
Fact six:  If they invite you to dinner at 6 say, you should arrve some time between 6.10 – 6.15. The best timing is 6.13. You mustnt take your shoes off and it is nice if you take a bottle of wine or some flowers to give to the lady.
Fact seven: Some of their ideas are really useful like free charging stations in buildings and McDonald’s and the latter are green not red buildings :)
That’s all for today. Cheers. ( it means both thank you and bye)

Our Memory is visual

We had a great session reading activities in the morning – running races, putting the story together, reading a google generated newspaper article. This is all so immensely creative.

But the most laugh we got out of activities with pictures. Scientists from Oxford
carried out an experiment on their students and found out that our memory is visual.
In other words we see and remember in pictures. Try remembering something from
your childhood. Doesn’t it appear in pictures?
So using pictures or photos in the process of teaching is essential. I will certainly use some of the activities we have done and would like to pass them on to my colleagues
as I’m sure they will love them, too.
Sian is an unbelievable source of great websites, as well.
I have the list and we all can use it.
That’s all folks.

What’s HANKY PANKY?

„- What’s HANKY PANKY?” Renata
- How should I know?  Kasia
Sian, our teacher, thinks this is an intensive course and she makes us work, work and work. I was sitting today next to an attractive Ewa from the Check Republic and I found out many interesting things about her. She has a 25 year old son, a husband and a dog and only the dog misses her and she has always wanted to work as a secretary. And she looks at most 32. Would you believe it :)
We did some grammar activities first walking around the classrom and in pairs discussing grammar sentences which Sian had stuck to the wall.
Later she taught us idiomatic rhyming expressions such as hanky panky, willy nilly, hurly burly. It was easy to match them as they rhyme, but we had more trouble with
coming up with their meanings. I knew some – hooray.
The next activity was about  how to say „I don’t know.” without actually saying it.
And there are lots of ways: How should I know? Good question, Don’t ask me! Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine.
Finally, we did some gambling which was a fantastic activity and I will definitely use the concept at school with our students. I won 240 pounds, but Weronika won a bit more. It was great fun !!!
After the lunch break we watched short films and discussed ways of using them in an English language classrom. Yet again Sian introduced us to some new teaching ideas.
The weather in Oxford has been changeable since I arrived on Sunday – rain, sun, rain, sun again on one afternoon. The temperature changes a lot, too. So you put on your fleece and five minutes later you take it off. Then it gets colder and you put it on again and then – and the game continues, but as Sian says there is no such thing as bad weather, it’s the wrong clothes :)
We spent the afternoon 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. visiting bookshops, but that;s another story.
Most of us were exhausted today and we skipped homework. We’ll see what Sian says to that.
hope to write more tomorrow if I survive the punting Ana has been insisting on …
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A new arrival … Emily Rose

Life in Oxford is exciting.
Kasia has asked me to write something about my teachers.
Well, they fall into two groups: the younger ones who  are very ambitious, the older
ones who seem more easy going , but we all get on really well. WE do a lot of
pairwork and groupwork activities so we get to know one another better and better.
The Spanish teacher Ana comes from Barcelona area and she is great fun. She
refuses to speak Spanish and she is lucky to live in the neighbourhood of the school.
She is keen on trips and talks about going punting – going on the river Thames in a
boat all the time. She hasnt done it yet.
In the class we studied collocations and intensifiers and Sian was delighted to find
out that we some of them proved challenging for us :)
We had a race which my group won and a funny banana exercise and we also
came up with a story about disastrous Dave who slept rough in Oxford and all this
happened after he got depressed when his beloved cat died in the kitchen …
It was all very weird , but it ended well as a filthy rich lady took him in to be her
dirt cheap gardener.
The highlight of the day, however, was the arrival of a new baby in my landlady’s
family – her granddaughter  Emily Rose.
What an exciting day!
Hope you also had some fun…

Back to the golden days…

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I found it fun to be back in the classroom as a student. And, to my surprise, I proved to be an easy-going and even disruptive pupil. I take after our students I guess.

Our teacher Sian calls me „naughty Renata”. I didn’t have a folder to start with because I got to the wrong place and almost started the wrong course :)
Then I arrived late after the coffee break and finally got told off for using a mobile in the classroom.
There are altogether13 students in the class with 3 Polish girls,3 German girls, 4 Czech girls, one Italian, two Spanish teachers. The course is quite serious and we do work all the time. We started at 9 and finished at 3 pm with a short coffee break.
At 4 we had a guided tour of Oxford and I got back for a delicious dinner with Paula
at 6.15.
Sian has set us homework so I had to set off at 8 pm to get to the pub :) and have a pint of cider. What a busy life!
The class was on ice-breakers and phrasal verbs. Sian said that phrasal verbs are an important part of an English language and if you want to sound natural you have to use them.
Some examples: to look up, to find out, to get on/off a plane, look for, get up
We learned more ambitious ones: to bottle up, to bottle out of sthg, to club together.
If you wanted to, I can teach you..
That’s all for today,
Take care and I hope somebody bothers to read it and doesn’t get discouraged by English :)

First Impressions

England has never been closer to us – Poland. At Luton a crowd of Polish people both travelling and working :)

I get on a National Express bus to Oxford and no surprise our driver Adam is Polish.

I reach my accommodation and my landlady tells me there has been a Polish lady staying with her recently.

I haven’t been to this country for about 16 years and that has made an impression on me. Poles, Poles everywhere.

I am conveniently accommodated at a homestay place living with Paula – a retired lady currently waiting impatiently for the birth of her first grandson.

And believe it or not I feel as if I was a ten year old girl with plaits missing a few teeth. A wonderful feeling to be young and careless again :)

Renata you need to be up at 7.30. We will have breakfast at 8, no better 7.50 and you have to be at the bus stop at 8.15. Do you remember where the bus stop is ?
You go to school and you finish …
And she goes on and on and on ….

I love that – no one has cared for me more recently.

Hope I will have time to write more tomorrow.

In the meantime bye bye .