C1 · C2 · Idioms

Idiom Between the devil and the deep blue sea

I was wanting to start creating videos that cover English idioms so much, that I’m thrilled to announce that here’s the first of, hopefully quite a few. If you have been learning English for some time, you will already know what an idiom is, but if this is not your case, an idiom is an expression or rather, a group of words whose meaning is not related to what the sentence seems to communicate. In this video, you’ll find the idiom “Between the devil and the deep blue sea”, which means to find yourself in a difficult situation where the alternatives that can allow you to escape from this situation, are not very good. In my second language, which is Spanish, this idiom would be something like ‘estar entre la espada y la pared’. Do you know a similar expression in your language? If you do, I’d really love to hear about it.

PS. I need to improve the audios as it sounds as if I were speaking on the phone.

undaunted · undeterred

A teacher will always be a teacher

A teacher will always be a teacher, despite all the odds against her. This is true for me as on August 6, the very same day that teachers were to be assigned a teaching post in the Balearic Islands, I was denied the possibility to continue my teaching career in Spain. This came in the form of a law that was aimed to make it impossible for British teachers to continue getting posts in public schools in the Balearic Islands and I ignore if this has been the case in all the autonomies of Spain.

This ban is a direct consequence of Brexit, and I must admit that it came as a shock, as not only have I been living in Spain for nearly three decades, but all my qualifications are from Spanish universities. Apparently, there is nothing I can do about it, as teacher labour unions go along with the policy in a tone within the lines of ‘like it or lump it mate!’

I could rant and rave at the government for passing such an unfair law, for using teachers as a scapegoat and applying a mean blackmail strategy to improve the relationship between the United Kingdom and Spain, but I can’t be bothered, and prefer to focus all my energy in another direction, reinventing myself. I’m not saying that I have been stopped in my tracks, what I’m actually saying is that this situation will come as an opportunity to better myself, as the saying goes ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you strong.’

So here I am. The government of Spain has taken away classrooms, students and salary. The government has wiped away, in the blink of an eye, the years I have devoted to my career. However, what the government cannot take away, is my passion for teaching. The government of Spain said, ‘You’re no longer a language teacher at the EOI.’ (Official Language School), which is basically true, but the government doesn’t seem to be aware that a teacher who loves her job, will teach anyway, be this at the EOI, at secondary or in a virtual environment. What the government also fails to acknowledge is, that there is no such thing as placing boundaries to teaching and learning in the Digital Era, and that people like me have the tendency to grab opportunities with both hands, and continue with their life, despite having all the odds stacked against them.

This blog, will continue and will even improve in due time, so you can bet your last dollar, that you’ll be seeing me around with some very good stuff. Just let me take a breath and get back on my feet, and I’ll be back.

A big hug to all the people that throughout these years, have visited my blog, over 60 thousand visitors, can’t be wrong!

Serena

Sin categoría

C1-C2 Bad habit vocabulary crossword

Scene from the Body Snatchers (1978)

The picture is from the final scene of the 70s version of The Body Snatchers and one of those really disturbing movies that sort of scares me out of my wits. I couldn’t help using the picture for this post because I somehow feel that many smokers must feel this way as they see themselves gradually cornered into kicking the habit. It’s a wonder that smokers still exist as many are almost made to feel that they are commiting a crime against humanity everytime they put a butt between their lips. Obviously, we all know how bad tobacco is and that public health expenditure could be used in other ways, but I also feel that some non-smokers go a wee bit beyond the limit when they expect, for instance, a host to stub out a cigarette in their own home or when a neighbour asks somebody stop smoking in their OWN patio because somehow some naughty, mischevious smoke floated up two floors and then made an agressive dip back to ground level invading somebody’s kitchen. Amazing what some tobacco brands can do!

In this activity, you’ll find a crossword for some words related to ‘bad’ habits.

C1 · C2 · Vocabulary

C1-C2 Selling and buying vocabulary crossword

Happy dosh

We’ve just finished the unit on consumerism, and then ooops! I start panicking. Does my group know all the words they need to know? Just in case, here’s one of those crosswords they seem to absolutely hate, along with some coins that insisted on saying hello (just to cheer them up a bit). You’ll also find the keys to the crossword below.

undaunted

Thank you EVER SO much!

One of our lovely FFP2 masks

Thank you ever so much educational authorities of Spain for your consideration towards the safety of EOI teachers of Majorca in times of COVID-19. As I can see that you have considered that teachers that remain in classes for four hours a day, (plus extra time within the premises), with a maximum of 19 students, are not at risk, and therefore, are not in the need of vaccination against COVID-19. Thank you ever so much, for finally reaching the decision of providing us with a batch of FFP2 masks. That was such a kind gesture on your behalf! Some of us now feel much safer doing those things that teachers usually do such as: communicate with students, move around the classroom hither and thither, pick up assignments, hand out assignments, correct assignments, and stuff of the kind that form the multiple everyday activities of a teacher (not to mention that we now clean all the furniture and make sure the classroom is well ventilated).

I personally think it would have been a wiser decision to have allowed teachers to decide for themselves on the issue of whether they want to be vaccinated or not, depending on their own particular situation, but I suppose you reached your decision after a very hard and difficult debate, bearing in mind all the facts. By the way, a 90 per cent of us share a secondary school with secondary students and teachers and therefore, do NOT work in an isolated building as one of your spokespersons mistakenly claimed during an interview. It goes without saying, that it would be really nice if you could check this info.

B2 · Listening · Multiple choice cloze

B2 Listening 15 Wierd Food Recipes in the World

Image from Mentalfloss

I found this video quite funny and entertaining and couldn’t help laughing at the speaker’s reactions to some of the dishes he describes. I’m aware that there is a lot of prejudice concerning eating habits, but what would our great-grandmothers have thought if they had seen us ordering a hamburger and chips at a fast-food restaurant? They would have been horrified and not only that, but they would have lectured us! What would you do if you were offered barbecued scorpions or fried tarantulas for dinner? I think my first reaction would be to puke. What about you?

This week my B2 groups have been talking about eating habits, so I’ve prepared this listening for them that I’m sharing with anybody that would like to learn a little about this topic. By the way, hitting the subscribe button and leaving a like would be totally awesome.

Waiter! Waiter! There’s a wasp in my cookie!

C2 · Proficiency C2 listening · Reading · vocabulary activity

How Urbane Farming Saved a Dallas Community

I’m so grateful to have found this video by Freethink, that will not only provide my students with the opportunity to speak about community problems, but it is also witnesses an inspiring approach to dealing with poverty, famine and the feeling of hopelessness. It also proves that WE as CITIZENS CAN rethink how our system is harming people and set out to make great changes, above all, now in times of the pandemic, where many people, who were already living with hand to mouth, are desperately in need of solutions.

Lead-in

Before watching the video below, let’s do a couple of pre-listening activities.

  • What types of problems are common in your community? Here’s a quiz to help you remember some vocabulary. Click on the button below, read and flip the cards.
  • How many of the words on the cards address problems that affect your community and in what degree?

video from Freethink