General Notes about my English lessons and life in Viet Nam.
Author: Thay Paul's notes
London-born English teacher, now living and working in Sai Gon / HCM City, Viet Nam.
I want to use this site to post lesson notes, extra work, helpful links as well as general notes about my time in SE Asia and Viet Nam. I also want to give real classroom experiences and how to deal with real classes of noisy, unmotivated and resistant students.
once in a blue moon / not as much as I use to / not as much as I’d like to / from time to time / now and then / occasionally / only in my dreams !
How often do you:
Watch foreign films ?
See your boss smile ?
Play badminton ?
Hang out with friends ?
Go to the movies ?
Get a pay rise ?
and / as well as / and also / along with
These link positives or negatives:
I like tea as well as coffee He plays football and also badminton
Big C is quite cheap and also has a great choice
but / however / having said that / on the other hand
These link positives to negatives / negatives to positives:
Jet Mart is convenient. Having said that, it is (it’s) extremely expensive.
Czech beer is not easy to find in Sai Gon, however it’s fantastic quality.
‘therefore’ is a conclusion word:
King BBQ is outstanding and has a magnificent salad bar. Mr Park is reasonable (so-so) quality, but more expensive. Therefore, we will eat at King BBQ in future.
Theme: coffee in Sai Gon
There are so many choices in Sai Gon. Tran Nguyen has the best quality but is very expensive. On the other hand, Milano is incredibly cheap and very convenient however, many people smoke there. Highlands is really popular. Having said that, it is not cheap. Street coffee is extremely cheap but terrible quality !
Last Friday, I went out for dinner with Claire and Helen. Helen’s got a new job so we went out to celebrate. Claire booked a table for 7.30pm at her favourite Italian restaurant in town. When we arrived, the waiter showed us to our table, gave us some menus and took our drinks order. We were really hungry so we decided to have a starter and a main. We placed our order and chatted for a while. Our garlic bread soon arrived. We were hungry, so it disappeared very quickly! Next, the waiter brought our mains. He said, “Buon Appetito!”, which is Italian for ‘Enjoy your meal!’. Claire and Helen chose pasta and I had pizza. The food was delicious, but I couldn’t manage a dessert! Claire and Helen had some ice cream, but I just had a coffee. I can’t wait to go again!
You are standing outside the Palace, at the corner of Birdcage Walk. You want to get to (go to) Victoria Station.
Excuse me, how do I get to Victoria Station ?
Walk straight down Buckingham Palace Road. Walk across the street and you can’t miss it (you will see it easily).
You are outside the front door of Harrods and want to visit the Royal Albert Hall
WELCOME TO LEYTONSTONE
Leytonstone is an area in east London, and was the birthplace of the film director Alfred Hitchcock, footballer David Beckham and singer Damon Albarn of the band Blur.
Next, asking for local directions:
Sorry to bother (disturb) you, but I’m looking for a pub. Is there one near here ?
Yes, there is one quite close, ‘The Birkbeck Tavern’, maybe five or ten minutes’ walk away. Turn left until you come to Bridge Street. Turn left again, and keep walking, past the park, until you reach the bridge. Cross over, and Bob’s your uncle (there you are). It’s on the corner, you can’t miss it.
NOW: A local map
You are in LISTER ROAD (at the bottom) and want to get to GROVE ROAD.
Take turns asking each other questions.
The red circle with a blue band is the symbol for an underground station, which we call ‘The Tube.’ Here is Leytonstone Tube:
Plan a day
What would you like to do, where would you like to visit ?
Things to consider:
Time / lunch / travelling around / a variety of activities
In the early 1990s, I inherited an 8mm Bell & Howell cine camera and, with my flatmate Martin O’Shea as actor, began making short films in the East End of London.
We had a two-bedroom flat near Mile End Tube Station (which we could somehow afford on a student grant), walking distance to Bethnal Green, Brick Lane and Limehouse, areas synonymous with names such as Hawksmoore (the architect), The Kray Twins (local crime lords) and Jack the Ripper (local ripper).
The area is incredibly historic, and well worth a walk for local historians, psychogeographists, or anyone with a passing interest in this less salubrious quarter of London.
Walk is what we did, one Saturday night, up to Victoria Park, down to the street markets of Brick Lane and back home via the city farm at Stepney and a visit to St Dunstan and All Saints Church, where we had a lovely chat with the vicar. He was in his working outfit, white, pressed and clean … us, none of the above.
This was where we decided to film what was, I believe, our first film together, ‘A Day Well Spent’, and I think this would be Spring 1992.
Now the technical side. 8mm film lasted four minutes in total. The film had to be thread, in a figure 8 shape, in the camera, then reversed after 2 minutes. This meant keeping careful time, and not shooting anything vital in the dying seconds before the film ran out.
The film was silent and the camera, I believe, had no zoom and no auto-aperture; the light had to be set manually. Basically, it was a ‘point and shoot’ affair. Close-ups had to be physically close, long-shots, far away.
So, we had four minutes to tell a story, beginning, middle and end. Martin plays a tramp, a happy-go-lucky, Chaplinesque character. He awakes, on a rubbish heap, scratches himself, looks around and gets up. He wanders through the City farm at Stepney
Naturally, he’s hungry and seeing the chickens gives him an idea; he has to ‘procure’ an egg for breakfast, without being detected or suffering an avian assault. With his cunning and agility, he is successful, and celebrates his victory by holding his prize aloft as he runs past St Dunstan’s.
However, when he searches his pockets, he only has a fork with twisted prongs … not a suitable implement to eat his breakfast. Disappointed, he throws the egg away, and decides to go back to sleep.
We also had a recurring event, namely a visit from the rozzers (London slang for police). One burly boy in blue was curious what we ne’re-do-wells were up to in his manor. To see a young guy, in trenchcoat, asleep on a rubbish tip alerted his instincts. And we had a recurring escape, namely I showed my camera and all became clear … “Oh, they’re making art,” heavy irony on the pronunciation of ‘art’, and that sarcasm has repeated through the years.
Or maybe, like most people of my generation, he would have seen some short compilation films on BBC1 after 5.30 pm and before the 6.00 pm News. This was how so many of my friends were introduced to the world of Harold Lloyd.
Everyone knew Chaplin, most people had heard of Buster Keaton, but Mr Harold Lloyd was totally unknown. That all changed with a series of 20-minute programs featuring scenes from his silent films … and all my school-friends were knocked out by them. You would even hear people shout out as they left school, “Don’t forget to watch Harold Lloyd.”
Harold Lloyd, referred to as ‘The Third Genius’ was, and remains, a major influence, especially in how to tell a story by images alone and how comedy works. This photo from ‘Safety Last’ (1924) is iconic … and even more amazing when you know that Lloyd lost a thumb and finger in an accident on a film set.
His films and many clips are available on YouTube. I used to show them during break time to my Kindergarten class, and they loved him … I was able to silence 15 hyper-active kids with a silent movie star.
Meanwhile, Mr O’Shea is busy in Berlin with a massive project: to put all our 8mm and Super 8 films onto computer, add commentaries and upload them on social media. Wish him luck, and take some time to watch Harold Lloyd … you won’t be disappointed
Today, I was very successful at work because I got my salary as well as a bonus (extra money).
When do you get your salary ? When do you get paid ?
Salary = career, professional job – usually once a month
Paid – for a job, can be daily, weekly, monthly – low-income job
Building longer sentences:
I teach at public school which can be extremely tiring because there are many students who, I feel, do not want to learn. Having said that, there are also many wonderfully gifted students who make me feel happy.
Relative pronouns– who (person), which (thing), where (place).
Adverbs– add information – extremely, wonderfully
Opinions– I feel, I believe, in my opinion, from my point of view.
Turn and link – although, despite, however …
gifted – talented, skilled- natural talent
You have a gift for …. music, laughter (laugh – larf), accounting, singing
Noun there was laughter NOT there was laugh
For example – we had karaoke – there were many people singing; some were extraordinarily gifted while others were … not so talented ! There was a laugh of smiling and laughter.
Extraordinarily – very special
Now … Your Turn
Tell your neighbour or the class about your job
Where you work
The good things
How do you feel
I went to the office where I work and I had a very busy day. However I think it’s good because I can finish my task. I was really excited and happy because today is the last day of the month so I got my salary and holiday bonus. I want to spend my salary for traveling or on clothes.
I can finish subject + modal verb (can, could, might) + main verb
I got my salary I was paid so we use past tense ‘got’.
I want to spent subject + helping verb (want, like, need) + infinite (to + verb)
Today, I went to my company where I met everyone in the office. After, I worked with my customer, who is very pleasant, and we spoke about payment. Later, I went to the bank where I withdrew a little money from the company account. It was an ordinary day but interesting because today is payday !
Hello, my name is Paul and I’m from London. I’m an English teacher, and I have been in Vietnam for about 2 years. My hobbies are reading books, watching films and listening to music. In Vietnam, I have been to Ha Noi and Hue and I really want to visit Hoi An and Halong Bay.
about: with time. I have been studying English for about 6 months.
really: adverbs I am happy / I am really happy – stronger and more interesting
continuous verbs: I like to read / I like reading / She likes to read
She likes reading
They like watching movies
She likes listening to music
Introduce yourself, and answer the questions:
What is your hometown ?
How long have you lived in your town or city ?
What are your hobbies ?
Where do you want to visit ?
sub + have/has + verb 3 (past participle)
I have visited Ha Noi
She has eaten Thai food
We have seen Barcelona play football
Look out for plurals and 3rdperson verb endings
I like sports / he loves cooking /
I don’t like smoking / She doesn’t like smoking
I like playing computer games/ reading books/ watching films.
He likes playing football / going to the park / studying English