Maya’s tips: normal

normal (adj):  conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
normal: обычный, стандартный, обыкновенный

“Normal” в английском - одно из тех странных слов, которое вроде и похоже по значению на русский эквивалент (в данном случае - “нормальный”), а вроде и нет.

В частности, надо быть осторожным в такой ситуации:

НЕПРАВИЛЬНЙ ОТВЕТ: “I’m normal, thanks.” 

ПРАВИЛЬНЫЙ ОТВЕТ: “I’m fine, thanks.”

Все потому, что в английском слово “normal” не используется для описания эмоций или настроений. “Normal” указывает именно на обычность, обыкновенность. Так что будьте осторожны: если вы скажете “I’m normal”, это могут истолковать как “Я нормальный, я не сумашедший человек”! 

А для выражения настроения можно использовать следующие слова: 

  • fine
  • alright
  • okay 

Фух! Хорошо, что разобрались! ^_^

Advanced English Vocabulary

jubilant (adj.) - extremely joyful, happy (The crowd was jubilant when the firefighter carried the woman from the flaming building.)

knell (n.) - the solemn sound of a bell, often indicating a death (Echoing throughout our village, the funeral knell made the grey day even more grim.)

lithe (adj.) - graceful, flexible, supple (Although the dancers were all outstanding, Joanna’s control of her lithe body was particularly impressive.)

lurid (adj.) - ghastly, sensational (Barry’s story, in which he described a character torturing his neighbour’s tortoise, was judged too lurid to be published on the English Library’s website.)

maverick (n.) - an independent, nonconformist person (John is a real maverick and always does things his own way.)

maxim (n.) - a common saying expressing a principle of conduct (Ms. Stone’s etiquette maxims are both entertaining and instructional.)

meticulous (adj.) - extremely careful with details (The ornate needlework in the bride’s gown was a product of meticulous handiwork.)

modicum (n.) - a small amount of something (Refusing to display even a modicum of sensitivity, Magda announced her boss’s affair to the entire office.)

morose (adj.) - gloomy or sullen (David’s morose nature made him very unpleasant to talk to.)

myriad (adj.) - consisting of a very great number (It was difficult to decide what to do on Saturday night because the city presented us with myriad possibilities for fun.)

nadir (n.) - the lowest point of something (My day was boring, but the nadir came when my new car was stolen.)

nominal (adj.) - trifling, insignificant (Because he was moving the following week and needed to get rid of his furniture more than he needed money, Kim sold everything for anominal price.)

novice (n.) - a beginner, someone without training or experience (Because we were allnovices at archery, our instructor decided to begin with the basics

nuance (n.) - a slight variation in meaning, tone, expression (The nuances of the poem were not obvious to the casual reader, but the teacher was able to point them out.)

oblivious (adj.) - lacking consciousness or awareness of something (Oblivious to the burning smell emanating from the kitchen, my father did not notice that the rolls in the oven were burned until much too late.)

obsequious (adj.) - excessively compliant or submissive (Donald acted like Susan’s servant, obeying her every request in an obsequious manner.)

obtuse (adj.) - lacking quickness of sensibility or intellect (Political opponents warned that the prime minister’s obtuse approach to foreign policy would embroil the nation in mindless war.)

panacea (n.) - a remedy for all ills or difficulties (Doctors wish there was a single panacea for every disease, but sadly there is not.)

parody (n.) - a satirical imitation (A hush fell over the classroom when the teacher returned to find Magdalena acting out a parody of his teaching style.)

penchant (n.) - a tendency, partiality, preference (Fiona’s dinner parties quickly became monotonous on account of her penchant for Indian dishes.)

perusal (n.) - a careful examination, review (The actor agreed to accept the role after a three-month perusal of the movie script.)

plethora (n.) - an abundance, excess (The wedding banquet included a plethora of oysters piled almost three feet high.)

predilection  (n.) - a preference or inclination for something (James has a predilection for eating toad in the whole with tomato ketchup.)

quaint (adj.) - charmingly old-fashioned (Mary was delighted by the quaint bonnets she saw in Romania.)

rash (adj.) - hasty, incautious (It’s best to think things over calmly and thoroughly, rather than make rash decisions.)

refurbish (v.) - to restore, clean up (After being refurbished the old Triumph motorcycle commanded the handsome price of $6000.)

repudiate (v.) - to reject, refuse to accept (Tom made a strong case for an extension of his curfew, but his mother repudiated it with a few biting words.)

rife (adj.) - abundant (Surprisingly, the teacher’s writing was rife with spelling errors.)

salient (adj.) - significant, conspicuous (One of the salient differences between Alison and Helen is that Alison is a couple of kilos heavier.)

serendipity (n.) - luck, finding good things without looking for them (In an amazing bit of serendipity, penniless Mark found a $50 bill on the back seat of the bus.)

staid (adj.) - sedate, serious, self-restrained (The staid butler never changed his expression no matter what happened.)

superfluous (adj.) - exceeding what is necessary (Samantha had already won the campaign so her constant flattery of others was superfluous.)

sycophant (n.) - one who flatters for self-gain (Some see the people in the cabinet as the Prime Minister’s closest advisors, but others see them as sycophants.)

taciturn (adj.) - not inclined to talk (Though Magda never seems to stop talking, her brother is quite taciturn.)

truculent (adj.) - ready to fight, cruel (This club doesn’t really attract the dangerous types, so why was that bouncer being so truculent?)

umbrage (n.) - resentment, offence (He called me a lily-livered coward, and I took umbrage at the insult.)

venerable (adj.) - deserving of respect because of age or achievement (The venerable High Court judge had made several key rulings in landmark cases throughout the years.)

vex (v.) - to confuse or annoy (My boyfriend vexes me by pinching my bottom for hours on end.)

vociferous (adj.) - loud, boisterous (I’m tired of his vociferous whining so I’m breaking up with him.)

wanton (adj.) - undisciplined, lewd, lustful (Joanna’s wanton demeanor often made the frat guys next door very excited.)

zenith (n.) - the highest point, culminating point (I was too nice to tell Emily that she had reached the absolute zenith of her career with that one top 10 hit of hers.)

How to Become an ALT in Japan

Basic Requirements

1. A university bachelors degree
-Any degree is ok, Latin American Studies, German, Linguistics, Astro-Physics, Sociology, doesn’t matter as long as it’s at least a bachelors 

 2. A clean criminal background check
-Have you been convicted of a murder? Are you a pedo? Do you have outstanding warrants in 3 states? Did you go to jail for a hit and run? Japan doesn’t want you. 

 3. Appropriately healthy and able bodied
-If you have a something that will prevent you from doing your job well, you will most likely not be hired. For example; you can’t use stairs, you can’t stand for 45 minutes at a time, you have a severe speech impediment (I know people here with lisps), things like this prevent you from teaching at full capacity and most places don’t have the time or resources to make special accommodations for you. 

What other skills might recruiters be looking for?

1. Japanese language ability
-NOT required for most positions, but helpful for communication both in and out of the workplace. Unless you live in a metropolitan area, the average Japanese person’s English is VERY limited. I know many people who came here with zero Japanese, but nowadays there are many with at least rudimentary Japanese. People rarely come here fluent, but many people study Japanese while living here to take the JLPT and their level improves by leaps and bounds. I am not one of those people, so don’t ask me for more details lol

 2. TESL/TEFL certification
-NOT required for most positions, but some private companies are starting to lean more towards certified individuals. And honestly, those give you a lot of skills you will absolutely need when teaching English. 

3. Teaching degree
 -NOPE, not required in 99.9% of the cases. I know a few people with them who are ALTs, I’ve heard mixed opinions on how well it helps them as an ALT. Some find it demeaning to work subordinate and be given limited control/responsibilities, other find it freeing because they can spend more time teaching and less time with test related paper pushing and discipline management.

4. Good attitude, flexibility, people skills
-You need to be able to present yourself as someone trustworthy and amiable to recruiters. The environments ALTs work in are often high-paced, prone to sudden last second changes, and being able to make friends in the office and keep a happy face with students is incredibly important. 

5. Prior experience
-Have you worked in a daycare before? Have you volunteered in tutoring centers? Have you led discussion groups as a major requirement?  Have you ever studied abroad? Have you ever volunteered in foreign classrooms? Have you taken charge of a club and organized events? Did you dorm with international students in university? Have you worked for an international program before? Have you given private language lessons before? These are the kinds of things that show you have experience in things that ALTs frequently encounter.

Can I mention my love of [INSERT JAPANESE CULTURE HERE]?

Yes, but keep is professional, relevant, and brief. 

“I became interested in Japan after watching Spirited Away, the cultural aspects of the movie fascinated me and made me want to learn more about Japan.” OK
“I have a collection of anime pillow cases, my favorite is Miku Hatsune in this pose.” NO 

“I started listening to Japanese music in high school. I eventually started learning Japanese to better understand the lyrics.” OK
 "When Pierrot broke up, I was shattered that the fanfic community would move on to other ships.“ NO 

“My school offered a short course on Japanese tea ceremony, and I thought the way that it formed historically was extremely interesting.” OK
“I want to learn the way of the samurai.” NO 

“I’m very interested in Japanese video game production companies. I went to college and majored in game design and I want to further study it by living in Japan and experiencing the community in person.” OK
“I want to play Resident Evil on fiber optic LAN with Japanese players so I can pwn more n00bs when I get back to America.” NO

What kind of ALT positions are available?

First and foremost: READ AND RESEARCH

If you do not do your own intensive research, you can get taken advantage of. You hear horror stories from people here all the time, and those mostly come from people didn’t research what they were getting themselves into. I cannot make a comprehensive guide to the THOUSANDS OF KINDS OF ALT positions across the country, this is only an overview. Look at that link, and always do extensive research of the companies/programs you’re interested in working for.

1. Government
 AKA JET Program
-The JET Program is the only government ALT program. It makes the Japanese government the middleman in your arrangements, which takes less money from your paycheck and gives you a more trustworthy means of income. It’s very competitive and the application process takes about 6 months. They only hire once a year. It’s arguably the best program, as it pays well, you have a lot of guaranteed vacation time, and they pay for your flights to and from the country. On the downside, you don’t really have a lot of say in where you are placed. Also, you cannot get a transfer unless VERY specific requirements are met. Also some prefectures/localities are nicer to their ALTs than others, but if they try to fuck you over you know you have the Japanese government backing you and they will keep you from being taken advantage of.

 2. Private Dispatch
examples: Interac, AEON, Borderlink, JIEC and MANY others
 -These are private companies that workplaces hire to provide them with ALTs. Workplaces do this because some of the intricacies in hiring an ALT and getting them a VISA and housing are really complicated, and they’d rather pay a middleman than deal with it. Upsides, you get a little more wiggle-room with being transferred. Downside by far is the pay. It depends on the company, but that middleman definitely takes a big chunk of your pay. If you work for a place like this, you need to VERY carefully read your contract. Research dispatch companies carefully, check their ratings online, see what former employees have to say about them. 

 3. Private Hire
 AKA working directly under the local government office, a private company, or even one-on-one’s in wealthy households
-These are places that will directly hire you without a middleman. Obviously, you need to look carefully at the details of your contract before working privately. Most local government places won’t hire you without prior ALT experience in Japan. Private English Conversation Schools (Eikaiwa) have non-9 to 5 working hours to provide for business workers and students. They sometimes require you to already have a VISA prior to being hired. Private Hire really is outside of my experience, but from what I understand they can pay as well as JET, but don’t usually have as many perks.

Where do I look for open positions?

GaijinPot is the website I’ve heard of the most. Check there and research research research. There are scammers, be careful. 

JET hires once a year starting around September or October. It’s available online on their official webpage.

There are a bajillion different dispatch companies. I couldn’t possibly name them all, I don’t really have a lot of experience with them, and don’t know which are particularly good or not. Check Google-sensei for their applications, websites, and reputations.

Other than that, please be wary of Craigslist. Although legit job openings do show up, there are scammers. If it’s someone looking for a “private female in-home English tutor from ages 19~25” or something like that, don’t be dumb. Many will require you to have a VISA with a minimum of 1 year on it already. Many will require you to already live in the area of the position. Research everything carefully.

Words of warning

If you think mental health issues are stigmatized in your home country, oh honey you ain’t seen nothin` yet.

If you have mental health issues, Japan may not be the place for you. You may think going to Japan, being surrounded by your hobbies and interests, and just “getting away” will make things better… IT WON’T.

Please be aware that you most likely will not be able to get your meds over the counter in Japan. And it’s not uncommon for your meds to be banned entirely even with a prescription. Bi-polar, anxiety, OCD, depression? Your meds might not be available here. Oh and having people send them over from home by mail can get you detained and deported if you’re caught.

You’ll also be leaving the support of friends and family by coming to Japan. The ALT community is pretty cool, but people come and go so quickly, it’s hard to find groups of people that will stick together through really tough spots.

Supervisors and coworkers aren’t much help either. In Japan, people don’t talk about mental health issues at all. If you take meds for anything other than a physical illness, you do it in private where people can’t see you. If you see a psychiatrist, you do it in a different prefecture, where no one can see you. It’s not uncommon for Japanese people to be asked to leave their jobs because their boss or coworkers have suspicions.

If you self medicate with something like marijuana, be aware that recreational drug use here is VERY VERY VERY illegal. Marijuana use is treated with the same seriousness as crack cocaine. You WILL be caught, you WILL be detained, you WILL be tried without a lawyer present, you WILL be held in solitary, you WILL be convicted of drug possession, and you WILL be deported.

Some ALTs will replace their marijuana use with alcohol. That goes about as well as it sounds :|

For LGBT, if you’re used to a very supportive queer community, it’s not the same here. Japanese people are extremely closeted and unless you live near a large metropolitan area, getting into the gay scene is nearly impossible. I’m fine because I was never in the gay scene back home, but for some people it’s very hard.

If you’re trans and want to come here to transition, please reconsider. I would suggest not coming to Japan as an ALT if you intend to transition in the immediate future. If your gender dysphoria is pretty bad, you’re gonna have a bad time. Gender segregation and enforcement of gender roles will probably seriously affect your mental health. The paperwork for transitioning is even harder from overseas and lot of things need to be done in person so you’ll have to fly back and forth from your home country a lot (which is damn expensive and needs vacation leave). Even if you do get everything done, there’s no telling how your work will respond. They won’t outright say they’re firing you for your gender identity, that’s illegal, they’ll come up with some other reason.

People who come here with a goal like paying off college loans or wanting to experience another culture usually have a better time that people who come here because OMG I JUST LOVE JAPAN. Please keep that in mind.

8 Tips to Start Learning a Language

I’m sure someone has already written something on Tumblr (or anywhere else, for that matter) about this topic, but I also wanted to contribute my opinion to the discussion.

Here’s something I hear often: I want to learn [insert name of language], but I don’t know where to start!

That’s actually a good question: how do you even begin learning a language? There is so much to consider: vocabulary, grammar, special expressions, tone, culture, not to mention the four skills—speaking, reading, writing and listening. 

Yes, learning a language isn’t easy. However, it doesn’t mean that it should be boring or downright impossible. Plus, learning a language is one of the most rewarding cultural experiences: once you can understand and communicate in a language, you immediately become part of the people who use that language. They are no longer strangers to you, and you are no longer a stranger to them. How cool is that?

So here is my philosophy of language learning and some tips for those who wish to pursue a new language. Enjoy!

Tip #1: Understand Why You Are Learning This Language

Determine your goals first. Do you want to make new friends who speak that language? Do you need to pass a test to work/study/live in a particular country? Do you just want to impress your friends when reading phrases in that language? Are you about to travel somewhere on your vacation? 
Once you know what your goal is, you will know your priorities, too. If you just want to be able to order from a menu, you don’t need to buy a 400-page grammar guide. On the other hand, if you want to live somewhere longer than 3 months, you probably need more than just a grammar guide. So before you do anything, ask first: what is my goal? Why am I learning this language?

The rest of the tips are for serious learners whose goal is proficiency or fluency in a language.

Tip #2: Determine Your Strength

Are you naturally good at imitating accents? Then start by getting used to the sound of language through listening and repeating. Do you love reading? Then start with the alphabet and reading patterns. Are you a grammar nazi? Grab that grammar guide and dig right in! Are you good at memorizing? Find an app for learning new vocabulary and begin memorizing.
Whatever you’re good at, don’t be afraid to start there. Exploit your strengths!

Tip #3: Do Everything at the Same Time

Okay, this may sound weird at first, so let me explain. In language learning, the four main skills are interconnected: reading, writing, listening and speaking do NOT function separately. So, it’s important to start developing all of these skills as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve perfected reading before moving on to speaking, and so on. That being said, you have to determine your own schedule for when to practice what. For example, Monday can be your grammar learning and practice day; Tuesday can be your speaking and listening day; Wednesday can be your writing practice day, etc. It’s up to you to choose when to do what. My tip for you: DON’T do more than two skills at a time. More than two at once is too confusing, even if you’re good at multi-tasking. Take your time: consistency and diligence will pay off.

Tip #4: But Start with Reading

Yes, you should write, listen, read and speak at the same time as early as possible, but in my opinion, reading should come first. Here is why I think so: if you know nothing about a language, the fastest and the most effective way to immerse yourself in that language is to learn the alphabet and the reading system. Reading allows you to: 
a) explore written and printed content at all levels
b) make native-speaking friends online and communicate with them via texting
c) practice reading aloud, developing speaking skills and proper pronunciation
d) start copying words and phrases, developing writing skills
e) learn new vocabulary words

Tip #5: Make a Native-Speaking Friend ASAP

Nothing motivates you in language learning like a good, funny, crazy friend! Finding a native-speaking (and I emphasize native-speaking, not a more advanced learner) friend is much easier than you might think. If there is a community of native speakers in your area, get out of your comfort zone and join them at community events or language classes, if they’re available. But I honestly like online language learning partners better because you can make friends more easily and start learning faster. I’d suggest these platforms/websites:

  • HelloTalk
  • Lang-8.com
  • Interpals.net

Of course, always be careful with meeting people online; but otherwise, this is a great way to make native-speaking friends. Oh, here’s another tip: try to find friends whose level of your own native language is very low—that way, you’ll be forced to use the language you’re learning, which is definitely a plus. Finally, be ready for lots of mistakes and corrections. Pride isn’t a thing in language learning, so forget it. The more willing you are to accept correction and learn from your mistakes, the faster you’ll get to that level when you won’t need too much correction.

Tip #6: Accept the Fact that This Will Take Time

Language learning takes time. Building a foundation will take anywhere between 2-6 months. Mastering a language can take years. So don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’re too slow: in a few months, you’ll look back and realize how far you’ve come. Again, consistency and diligence are key to language learning success!!

Tip #7: Don’t Spend Too Much Money

Here’s the beauty—and reality—of contemporary language learning: you can find everything you need without spending much at all. Why? Because most tools—grammar guides, listening exercises, sample readings by levels, language partnering platforms, etc.—are available online for free. So before you cash out, explore the web. 
This doesn’t mean that you should completely ditch the textbook. Some publishers offer printed resources that are extremely helpful: things like dictionaries, workbooks, flashcards, illustrated guides, etc. can be lifesavers. Just my advice would be to explore free online options before heading over to the bookstore or Amazon for more costly options.

Tip #8: Always Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing This

When you’re on the 200th page of a workbook, or when your native-speaking friend can’t explain a grammar rule, or when you’ve written out a word too many times to count but still can’t remember it in conversation… it’s easy to get discouraged. You’ll want to give up. You’ll think, “Why did I even get myself into this mess?” At those times, remind yourself of the reason why you began learning this language in the first place. Why are you doing this? What’s your goal? Has this experience been changing you? If yes, how? Those questions will help rekindle that fire and keep you going. And seriously, this applies to everything in life, not just language learning. So don’t give up just because you’ve reached a slump! We’ve all been there, and it’s about how you get out of it!

And of course, remember that no experience is a waste. The fact that you’ve started, that you tried, that you did your best, that you met new people (whether they stayed or not)—all this now makes up part of who you are and what you’ve been through. It’s worth it.

Advanced English Vocab: Part 1

aberration (n.) Something that differs from the norm

“In 1974 Poland won the World Cup, but the success turned out to be an aberration and Poland has not won a World Cup since.”

abhor (v.) to hate, detest

“Because he always got hit in the head when he tried to play cricket, Martin began to abhor the sport.”

  • abhorrent (adj.) vile, detestable

acquiesce (v.) to agree without protesting

“Though Mr. Pospieszny wanted to stay outside and work, when his wife told him to come inside for dinner he acquiesced to her demands.”

  • acquiescence (n.) peaceful agreement, compliance

alacrity (n.) eagerness, speed

“Simon loved to help his boyfriend whenever he could, so when his boyfriend asked him to set the table he did so with alacrity.”

amiable (adj.) friendly

“An amiable fellow, Neil got along with just about everyone.”

appease (v.) to calm, to satisfy

“When the baby cries, his mother gives him a pacifier to appease him.”

arcane (adj.) obscure, secret, known only by a few

“The professor is an expert in arcane Kashubian literature.”

avarice (n.) excessive greed

“The banker’s avarice led him to amass an enormous personal fortune.”

brazen (adj.) excessively bold, brash, clear and obvious 

“Critics condemned the writer’s brazen attempt to plagiarise Frankow-Czerwonko’s work.”

brusque (adj.) short, abrupt, dismissive

“Simon’s brusque manner sometimes offends his colleagues.”

  • brusqueness (n.) the quality of being brusque, abrupt or dismissive

cajole (v.) to urge, coax, convince

“Magda’s friends cajoled her into drinking too much.”

  • cajoling (adj.) describes one who cajoles or tries to convince

callous (adj.) harsh, cold, unfeeling

“The murderer’s callous lack of remorse shocked the jury.”

  • callousness (n.) the quality of being callous or harsh

candor (n.) honesty, frankness

“We were surprised by the candor of the politician’s speech because she is usually rather evasive.”

chide (v.) to voice disapproval, to scold

“Hania chided Gregory for his vulgar habits and sloppy appearance.”

clandestine (adj.) secret

“Announcing to her boyfriend that she was going to the library, Maria actually went to meet George for a clandestine liaison.”

coerce (v.) to make somebody do something by force or threat

“The court decided that David Beckham did not have to honor the contract because he had been coerced into signing it.”

  • coercion (n.) act of coercing or forcing someone to do something

coherent (adj.) logical, consistent, intelligible, understandable

“William could not figure out what Harold had seen because he was too  distraught to say a coherent sentence.”

  • coherence (n.) the quality of being coherent, clear or logical

complacency (n.) self-satisfied ignorance of danger (or indifference to danger)

“Lucas tried to shock his friends out of their complacency by painting a frightening picture of what might happen to them.”

  • complacent (adj.) describes a person who is ignorant of danger, one who behaves with indifference

Some words on the list have multiple forms (adjective and noun, etc.) but only one version of each word was included on the original list, so I added some of the other forms.  Let me know if anything is confusing! 

Back to school tips!

Originally posted by omoizakkashop

it’s finally back to school time for most of us, and it’s also time to start good habits (привычки), crack down (сломить) on the bad ones, and just begin to prepare for the year ahead (впереди). i’ve compiled (собрать) some simple tips that help me in day to day life (повседневная жизнь) that i would love to share. so let’s get cracking (принимаемся за дело):

  1. prepare and eat a breakfast. if it’s easier for you, think about preparing your food the night before and packing it in bags or tupperware (пластиковй контейнер).
  2. have a bedtime routine. it can help you stay organized and, two, it helps put you to sleep. the more your brain associates doing certain tasks with sleep, the faster you’ll be able to drift off (заснуть)
  3. make a study group. find friends and people in your classes that you would like to study with and meet up (встретиться)! it’ll be more fun than holing yourself up in your room (запираться в комнате). also, explaining concepts to others will help you better understand them and answer those questions on your tests.
  4. make a weekly to-do list. it’s important to make to-do lists of goals and tasks (задачи) you need to complete. 
  5. have a ‘school survival kit’ ( “набор для выживания”) i like to have a little bag with me that has things i may need that i could have forgotten. this includes a pen, pencil, highlighter, a few pads (прокладки), some mints, pain medicine, allergy medicine, tissues, band-aids (лейкопластырь), hand sanitizer (антисептик для рук), stain remover (пятновыводитель), and other such items.

(adapted from this post by @the-sapphic-desk! Thank you so much for letting us use your post)

habit привычка
to crack down сломить
ahead впереди
to compile собрать
day to day life повседневная жизнь
get cracking приняться за дело
tupperware пластиковые контейнеры
to drift off заснуть
to meet up встретиться
to hole up запираться, спрятаться
survival kit набор для выживания
pads прокладки
band-aid лейкопластырь
hand sanitiser антисептик для рук
stain remover пятновыводитель

PART OF OUR STUDY MONTH

One of the most rewarding jobs I ever had was as an English as a Second Language tutor, and I’d love to share a story.

One day one of my students was reading a book and asked what a particular word was. It was gorgeous. She said “Doesn’t that mean ugly or disgusting?”

Confused, I explained what it actually meant, that its synonyms were beautiful or very pretty. Her face got all red and she started stammering.

She explained that a few weeks ago a guy had said “Your eyes are gorgeous” She had some sort of condition where one of here eyes was pale blue and cloudy, while the other was brown, so she assumed that he was insulting her.

She got really embarassed and upset and, not wanting to make a scene, just shuffled away with their head down.

She was so embarrassed that she made that misake, but to me I was just happy that I was able to tell her that that guy wasn’t insulting her and was instead giving her a really nice compliment. It was one of those moments that really made me love my job.

Advanced English Vocab 2

confidant (n.) a person entrusted with secrets (Not the same as confident!)

“Shortly after we met, he became my confidant.”

connive (v.) to plot, scheme

“She connived to get me to give up my plan of starting a new business.” 

  • conniving (adj.) describes one who connives or schemes

cumulative (adj.) increasing, building upon itself

“His vast improvement in English was the cumulative effect of hours spent using the World English website.”

debase (v.) to lower the quality or esteem of something

“The large paycheck that he gave himself debased his motives for running the charity.”

decry (v.) to openly criticise 

“Andrzej Lepper, the leader of the Polish Self Defense party, decried the appalling state of Polish roads.”

deferential (adj.) showing respect for another’s authority

“Donata is always excessively deferential to any kind of authority figure.” 

demure (adj.) quiet, modest, reserved

“Though everyone else at the party was dancing and going crazy, Alicia remained demure.”

deride (v.) to laugh at mockingly, to scorn

“The native speaker often derided the other teacher’s accent.”

  • derisive (adj.) mocking, scornful, describes one who derides or scorns

despot (n.) one who has total power and rules brutally

“The despot issued a death sentence for anyone who disobeyed his laws.”

  • despotic (adj.) describes one who behaves like a despot

diligent (adj.) showing care in doing one’s work

“The diligent researcher made sure to double check her measurements.”

  • diligence (n.) the demonstration of care in one’s work

elated (adj.) overjoyed, thrilled

“When he found out he had won the lottery, the postman was elated.”

  • elation (n.) extreme happiness, the feeling of being elated

eloquent (adj.) expressive, articulate, moving

“The best man gave such an eloquent speech that most guests were crying.”

  • eloquence (n.) expressiveness, the quality of being eloquent, the ability to be articulate

embezzle (v.) to steal money by falsifying records

“The accountant was fired for embezzling $20,000 of the company’s funds.”

empathy (n.) sensitivity to another’s feelings as if they were one’s own

“I feel so much empathy for my sister that when she’s upset, so am I.”

  • empathetic (adj.) sensitive, describes one who has empathy

enmity (n.) mutual hatred, hostility 

“John and Scott have clearly not forgiven each other, because the enmity between them is obvious to everyone around them.”

erudite (adj.) learned, knowledgeable 

“My English teacher is such an erudite scholar that he has translated some of the most difficult Old English poetry.” 

extol (v.) to praise, revere

“Kamila extolled the virtues of a vegetarian diet to her meat-loving boyfriend.”

fabricate (v.) to make up, invent

“When I arrived an hour late to class, I fabricated some excuse about my car breaking down on the way to work.”

facet (n.) one of several sides

“I never realized that Maria liked art so much.  I guess it’s a more hidden facet of her personality.” 

(This can also refer to physical sides, usually in the context of a cut jewel.)

A major investigation by The Houston Chronicle recently revealed that districts in Texas were pressured by the state to provide fewer students with special education services, which can be expensive. In 2004, the Texas Education Agency told districts to restrict special education enrollment to 8.5 percent of all students. At the time, Texas’ average was close to the national rate of 13 percent.

After that, the state’s rate plummeted to the lowest in the country.

An analysis of the numbers shows that children who are learning English have been shut out even further. The rate for English language learners enrolled in special education was just 7.6 percent in 2016.

English Learners Were Hurt The Most When Texas Limited Special Education

Illustration: Sara Ariel Wong for NPR

I wanted to make a quick post about some issues with E2 visas in Korea that I feel like no one really talks about on Tumblr. If you’re coming to Korea on an E2 teaching visa, I would really recommend you join the LOFT group on Facebook (Legal Office for Foreign Teachers). Any question or document that you need to help you verify what your recruiter and/or school is telling you can be found there.

Recently, immigration has been cracking down on after schools that hire E2 visa holders. These jobs offer similar pay to regular hagwon jobs for a fraction of the hours, so they’re pretty coveted positions when you’re an E2. After school companies cannot hire and sponsor English teachers on an E2 visa. This is why most people who have after school gigs are under an F visa. To get around this, the after school company gets the school you’re actually working at to sponsor your visa; however, your employer is not the school, it is the after school company. This is illegal. Your visa sponsor, your actual employer, and the location where you are employed must all be the same. After school companies have routinely taken advantage of this loophole in the law and for some reason, immigration has taken notice and decided to crack down on people on E2s that are working at after schools. This is the case even when immigration was aware of the inconsistency in documentation when your visa was approved. So even if you didn’t know that this was illegal, even if your employer thought that this was legal (they’ve been doing this for years), you are still liable.

One of my new coworkers almost got fined and deported when she went to immigration to transfer her E2 to our school. They realized the issue with her previous documentation and it took some serious begging from our supervisor for them to let it go. My other coworker knows a couple who are now in the process of being deported and banned for a year from Korea for working at an after school with an E2 visa. Your situation will further be complicated if your after school company has listed you as an IC (independent contractor) because they are also evading paying taxes, which in turn means you’re not paying taxes (also E2 visa holders CANNOT be ICs at all by definition). If you’re getting one of these after school jobs, please call immigration in Korea or ask about your specific situation in the LOFT group. Be wary and don’t easily believe what your recruiter or employer are telling you. Immigration does not care that you didn’t know something was illegal or improper. They will hold you responsible regardless.

The other issue has to do with E2 visas teaching anything other than conversational English. Recently, there was a big scandal with international schools filing the wrong licenses and getting their teachers on E2’s when they were supposed to put them on E7 visas. These teachers were teaching actual school subjects as you would at any public school. Those teachers were deported and their passports permanently stamped. It’s been a big deal in Korea. However, I thought that since this applied to international schools, it wouldn’t really affect hagwons but my new coworker went to immigration to do her visa transfer two weeks ago and the immigration officer told her that while immigration had not decided what to do about E2s teaching subjects like math, reading, writing, science, etc., at hagwons, E2s are technically not supposed to teach any other subject other than conversational English and that there might be new developments in the coming months.  Our school is a homeroom style hagwon so we teach everything in English to our kindy classes. I’ve also never heard of a teacher at a hagwon only teaching “conversational English.” We all pretty much have specific classes we teach like reading, writing, debate, etc. I’m not entire sure how much immigration is going to be able to do about this (it would entail changing the entire English hagwon system and how most schools are run) but it’s still something to be aware of especially as immigration takes it’s time deciding what to do.

A good thing to keep in mind is that not knowing means nothing to Korean immigration. As a foreigner, we rely on our recruiters and school a lot to know and follow the pertinent laws. However, immigration does not care about this and will punish you first and then the school. After school companies have received warning letters (there’s been quite a few people being laid off suddenly because of these letters) from the Department of Education about E2s and after school positions, so at least some companies/schools are trying to do the right thing before people get in trouble.

If you’re unsure and you have additional questions about your specific situation, send me a message or join the Facebook group to get more detailed info. I would also call immigration.

Types of people in English

Busybody someone very nosy
Dare-devil somone who often takes risk
Lone wolf a loner, somebody who prefers to do things on their own
Sponger a parasite, someone who avoids work and lives off other people
Day-dreamer/Space cadet somebody who is often pensive and has their head in the clouds
Killjoy a person who always spoils the fun of others
Chatterbox somebody very talkative
Gate-crasher someone who often comes to parties uninvited
Fare-dodger someone who uses public transport not having a ticket
Litter-lout a person who drops litter in public
Tear-away someone reckless and causing trouble
Social climber somebody trying to gain higher social status by meeting with upper-class people
Name-dropper someone who likes to show off their acquaintances
Rolling stone somebody who can’t just settle down and often changes place or job
Layabout a loafer, someone very lazy

Wet blanket a person who often complains and with a very pesimistic outlook on life