Updates from the Corner!
The best advice, ideas, and language from student classes are found here. Many posts contain a quiz to test your knowledge of the language used.
May 29 2023
May 14 2023
April 30 2023
The end of April is upon us! That means there are more birds, more flowers, and more chances of me making a mistake on invoices. This month, I introduced new class types and times. Thanks to everyone who gave their feedback and who have taken advantage of the options! Having said that, please pay attention to your invoice for this month as I am a sad human who sometimes makes mistakes — especially with numbers. Don’t hesitate to contact me right away if you think that I made a mistake with your invoice.
April 23 2023
March 12 2023
February 19 2023
February 5 2023
January 29 2023
One of the many joys of being a teacher comes from hearing a question to which I have no idea of the answer. Really! Students are as different in assumptions, culture, and experience as you are motivated to improve your English. Those differences sometimes give rise to questions that I don't expect. Such moments are exciting -- like finding $20 in my pants pocket. Here's the moment that took place this week:
A student asked me how Americans thought about their income and their bills. My response was that we usually thought of our income (salary / wage) in terms of weeks and years, but!, we thought about our expenses ( bills / debts) in terms of months. But... why? The student wanted to know why we wouldn't think about both things within the same terms of time. Her question stumped me for a few minutes. Nobody had ever asked me that question and so I had never thought about it! After our class, I asked a few of my friends if they knew their monthly income... and nobody did! Well, not immediately. Everyone had to do the math to arrive at the answer-- either multiplying their weekly income by 4 or their bi-monthly income by 2. Conversely, everyone knew right away their monthly expenses. :)
Here are the best language examples that came out from this week's classes:
January 22 2023
Happy Lunar New Year to everyone who celebrates it. We have said goodbye to the Year of the Tiger and welcomed in the Year of Rabbit. I hope that all of the rabbits living in our neighborhood feel a little bit of pride as they keep warm against the snow that finally started to fall this weekend.
Here is the best language example that came out from this week's classes:
January 15 2023
The weather continues to be unusual here in Chicago. The sun has come out while temperatures rose to 8°C. I couldn't complain but did feel pretty sad for people wanting to do anything related to winter: ice hockey, ice skating, sledding, snowball fights, etc... February is usually the coldest, least pleasant month for our area. I fully expect to be complaining about it as is custom.
My first recommendation! My goal with Donald's English Corner is to offer the highest quality English lessons at the lowest possible price. One can almost hear sound of my husband's eyes rolling when I say the price part. To that end, I have avoided making any recommendation to students that involved spending money. Until now -- and for very good reasons. I began using these books back in December at the recommendation of a student. Not only have we been using them to great success, but I have found myself impressed by the book's ability to explain difficult concepts. In addition to the text, the books also provide lots of listening comprehension practice. Each book links to free audio on the publisher's website. The conversations include accents from throughout the English-speaking world, so listeners get experience on hearing many different sounds.
I've provided links to three of the books. They're available in traditional paperback and as an ebook. Whichever ones you choose to get -- OR NONE -- let me know so that I can prepare our lessons based on that material.
January 6 2023
It has been a joy this week to hear everyone's stories about their holidays. The situations were as diverse as the people: from celebrations with family, to quiet evenings without electricity, and video calls with friends all over the world. Many times while listening to you all, I found myself not being a teacher. What I mean by that is the conversations were so good that I enjoyed them on their own terms rather than trying to teach new grammar or vocabulary. Sometimes, the best lesson teacher is a person paying attention to -- and having fun with -- what their student is sharing.
Having said that, I look forward to hearing the stories that come out of Orthodox Christmas happening tomorrow and Lunar New Year which begins in two weeks.
Speaking of New Year 2023, I did make a few resolutions. The most important one is to have more patience with myself. Like many people, I sometimes fall into a philosophical trap: to judge my present self against the person I was in the past -- instead of being honest with who I am in the present and then working towards a better future. My current self is -- in many, many ways -- better than my past self who started Donald's English Corner back in 2021. I got married, bought a house, adopted two dogs, and have continued to grow as a teacher thanks to wonderful students all over the world. My resolution is then to be at peace with the limitations of the present tense while also reaching towards greater happiness in the future tense.
The other resolution is to share some of the best language from this week's classes!
February 19 2023