Learn English with Me!

As most of you know, I am an online English teacher! And my students are always trying to find more ways to connect and learn from me. So…..I started a Youtube channel just for them! My content is all about learning English, new phrases, vocabulary, experiences, everything! Please support a fellow blogger and subscribe to me on Youtube and follow me on Instagram @englishwithindigo

Follow and Subscribe even if you already speak English! I would really like to transition this into more of a part-time career so I need all the love and support I can get. My content is entertaining for everyone, especially because I act a fool sometimes!

P.S. I totally want idea’s for content, is there anything you want to learn about English??

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Google Might Soon Be In China, and What That Mean’s For You

China pictureGoogle is taking some heat this week from its employee’s. Many aren’t happy to discover that Google is attempting to develop a Chinese friendly search engine. This means that it would be a search engine like Google, but it adhered to the censorship guidelines/laws that the Chinese government have in place for the country. The Google employee’s are mad because they feel that their work is being used for “unethical” things and they Google is no longer the moral compass they expected the company to be for the tech world.

Since when do employee’s get to dictate what a company does? Teacher’s don’t design the school curriculum, the state governments do that. Do teacher’s get up in arms because they have to teach stuff they don’t like? Rarely. As an English teacher, I don’t like that I need to teach students to eliminate their native accent when speaking English, but I do it because that is what I am paid for. I think the Google employee’s have been given more control and rights within their company than most employee’s. Now, they are taking advantage of that.

Honestly, I don’t blame Google for wanting to re-enter China. It has the worlds biggest population, and literally gives Google access to billions of people. All tech companies want to be popular there. So, of course Google is trying to work within the restrictions to get their company more revenue and users. I don’t blame Google, it is a smart business decision. Google isn’t removing more information from the Chinese people, so, why be mad at the company? As the saying goes: Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Meaning don’t be mad at Google for acting like a smart business and playing China’s game.

An article with more details on this issue is here. Furthermore, this article claims that Google is the one that left China. I would argue that Google was unceremoniously blocked by the Chinese government and just “claimed to leave”. I was living in China in 2008 and I can tell you that Google was hard to access due to censorship even then. So, Google may have been heralded as this moral company for refusing to give into censorship, but it was really a clever marketing scheme to spin the fact that China wasn’t allowing Google access anymore.

How and Why You Should Teach Gender To Your Kids/Class

Gender picWhile teaching English this summer, I was fortunate enough to work for a company that had a spectacular text book. It encouraged open discussions in English, and didn’t just talk about the boring topics like shopping, movies, etc. My level 4 book had a section on gender issues. This is a subject I studied quite a bit at university, and follow in the news, but not one I have ever taught. So, I challenged myself to teach gender to students with English as a second language.

Hands down, this was one of the hardest subjects I have ever had to teach. Not because of a lack of knowledge, but because it involves such sensitive issues that society has coached us to not discuss publicly. Well, I did and it was the best class I have ever led.

I began by having the students create a list of issues related to gender, not only for women but men as well. Here are some things we came up with for men; custody rights, mental health stigma, body pressure, lack of support for sexual abuse, paternity leave, inability to cry. For women; pay gap, hormones being used as an excuse for feelings, maternity leave, pressure to find partners, tampon tax. This list is only a small sample of the massive ideas my students developed.

I then did something very controversial, I told my students I was going to make some statements that might be upsetting but I encouraged them to disagree with me. I said: Gay is against nature and wrong. Women are the lesser sex. Transgender/transsexual’s are just a mental disorder. The reactions I got were astounding. All of my students (even the quiet ones) got up in arms. They debated me, fought me. They spoke more in this class than in any other. They were understandably angry at my narrow minded statements, but it was only after we finished our discussion that I admitted that I didn’t agree with a word I said. I showed them how by phrasing things in that method got them to talk more than any other way could have.

Unfortunately, while teaching this subject, my boss overheard me. My company is very clear that they do not require me to give in lesson plans, and they do not censor what I teach. But, my boss did not like what I was saying or how I was saying it. He couldn’t tell me to stop, he had no authority to because our manager had already given me the Ok. So, instead, he pulled me aside and claimed I was “talking too much for an English class” and he refused to hear my explanation. Just because he didn’t like what I said, he literally told me to stop talking in class.

That is what our society does. If people don’t like what one person says, they make them be silent. Especially in regards to issues related to gender like LGBTQ+ rights or equality among the sexes. It makes people so uncomfortable! I felt uncomfortable discussing it, but I am glad I did. Because, I had multiple students write me thank you cards saying that my gender class was their favourite class of the summer. Many even said an adult had never talked to them about these issues, and they were grateful I did. It was wonderful for me to hear that, but also sad to know that 16 year old kids had never had someone discuss gender issues with them. These are vital to encourage a tolerant, accepting world. We need EDUCATION around this, and all issues, to ensure there is a better tomorrow.

 

How To Get The Chic French Fashion Look

20170509_203029As an ESL teacher, I work with all nationalities. I’ve recently begun to teach French students, both male and female. Everything the fashion magazines say about them is true, they are so stylish! Did I mention my students are 14?

They don’t wear a lot of accesories, or even wear a lot of labels. Honestly, they wear jeans and sweatshirts, or jeans and plain t-shirts. But somehow, they add little chic touches that turn an outfit that would look boring on me, into something that looks fashionable. For example, today one student was wearing mom jeans, and a very baggy t-shirt. Her hair was a mess, and her only accessory was a nose piercing. Yet somehow, it looked so cool!

Teaching these kids early in the morning, I can promise they put zero thought into their clothing. They do not think about their outfits, I don’t think the French style the conscious choice we non-French people assume. Rather, I think it is both bred, and SOLD into them. By this I mean, their parents dress in very simple, casual styles. So, they do too. And the stores in France sell more monochrome, structured, casual items. So, they buy them. I know this is true because I’ve shopped in French stores.

The whole nature vs nurture debate has established that who we are as people is molded by our parents and our environment. Applying that psychology to fashion, it means that the French teens wear the clothes sold in their shops and worn by their parents. Therefore, I purpose that French fashion is not a purposeful style. Rather, it is simply a look that is sold, and told to them.

This isn’t exclusive to France. In Washington, people wear a lot of North Face and polar fleece hoodies. Why? Because it is what the stores sell, and what parents tell you to wear to keep warm. In New York, stores sell edgy clothes, and parents tell their kids to dress in the latest NYC style. Breeding and location is what makes an intrinsic local style.

The French teens are chic casual because it is all they can know. So, I envy them a little less…but I also wish my stores sold me less bold prints and more perfect white tee’s.

What are your thoughts???

Crucial Advice If You Are Going to University

auditorium benches chairs class
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I started university earlier than most, I had my first uni class at 14 in China. I officially started studying uni in America at 16, three and a half years later I had my first degree. Now, I have 2 degrees and have attended 4 different universities all over the world.  I’ve lived on and off campus, taken out student loans, paid tuition, and pulled all night study sessions. Suffice it to say, I am an expert at university life. 

In all my experience at universities, I’ve been given massive quantities of advice. Don’t drink on a Sunday, hand write your notes, focus on studies, maintain a side job. The suggestions never end. And NONE of it has helped me in the real world. No one warned me that university is the easy part of life, that studying is for an exam is relaxing compared to job hunting. No one said student loans would make me suicidal. No adult has ever given me worthwhile advice about university. 

So, I’m going to do every student the favor I was never given. There are only 3 things you need to know about university. Live by these rules, and life will be simplistic. 

  1. Unless you are going to Yale, Cambridge, Harvard or some other Ivy League, NO job will ever care where you got your degree from. They WILL NOT care if you went to your local college or a state university. (Honestly, a lot of jobs won’t care if you went to an Ivy League either). So, DON’T take out more $$ and debt to go to a fancy private school across the country. Go to the school that is the cheapest for your chosen major. 
  2. Your grades/marks DO NOT MATTER. At the end of the day, on your resume/cv you will put down that you graduated from X university with Y degree. I’ve had dozens of interviews and an employer has never asked me what GPA was, they don’t care if I got honors. An employer cares if you got the physical diploma and THAT IS IT. Therefore, don’t drive yourself crazy at university to get the perfect scores. Learn what matters for your chosen speciality, enjoy sports, party with friends and experience life outside the lecture hall. I promise that your marks/scores truly will not matter once you walk across the stage at graduation. Literally, NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT GRADES.
  3. The real world and job market all rely on one skill. The ability to sell. If you can creatively interpret your skills and summer jobs on your CV so it matches for each position you apply for, then finding employment will be easy. Every job should have a personalised resume that uniquely sells YOU to that specific employer. This is all a nice way of saying, on your resume/CV and in interviews, YOU JUST GOTTA BULLSHIT. I’ve been hired for dog walking and teaching English, and my degree is in political science. How did I get those jobs? I sold the hell out myself. I am my #1 product. 

There you have it. These 3 things are the most important pieces of advice you will ever get. By following my words of wisdom, university life will be less stressful, you will get interviews, and most importantly, you will survive in the real world. 

(Please excuse my colorful language in this post, my goal is to get the point across as clearly as possible)

 

Do You Say Bum or Fanny Pack?

23666823_10214692736176597_476153992_nThe fanny pack trend was all the rage in the 80’s. Neon leggings, big hair, wrist bands, leotards and fanny packs were the ‘must wear’ items of the early to mid 1980’s. . I will admit that the fanny pack was practical as well as fashionable. I mean how useful is a purse that you can wear around your waist?! Whenever I go shopping, I hate that I’m always hiking my bag back onto my shoulder or that it gives me a weird boob look because the strap sits firmly between my breasts. Worst of all is the big bag conundrum when you smack into people in a crowd because your purse is just that big.
So, I think the fanny pack was one of the more useful things to come out of the fashion industry. And I wasn’t hating it when the fanny pack briefly became a trend again in 2016/2017. I personally never bought one, but my hips don’t need the extra emphasis a fanny pack would add. Keep in mind that while the fanny pack was recently on the runways, it never went out of style with the cautious tourist. A fanny pack is the best travel accessory because it can hold your $$, passport, ID and is basically theft proof. It would take a bold thief to try and steal out of bag that was basically strapped down by  the crotch of the wearer.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned a fanny pack and a fanny can mean 2 different things. I was raised to believe that the fanny pack was basically a butt pack that went around your waist and could rest on your butt or in front of you. Mom’s would say ‘You sit on your fanny right now!’ and they would mean our bottoms. It all makes total sense.
Then I came to the UK. One day during a chat at work, someone mentioned being confused about Americans and their ‘fanny packs’. Why were they called that they asked. Well, it was obvious I thought. Fanny means butt. You wear the purse near your butt. A look of comprehension donned one their faces. They then explained why they were bewildered.
You see in the UK, the ‘fanny‘ does not refer to a bottom. In fact, a fanny is a ladies vagina. It’s slang, not widely used today, but was quite popular ten years ago. Naturally, hearing American refer to a fanny pack in that way would seem confusing. The fanny pack doesn’t go down by the fanny, so the name doesn’t seem appropriate in the UK. When my colleagues told me this I turned bright red. I had been walking around occasionally mentioning fanny packs and people thought I was talking about some sort of vagina bag. Fashion for your lady bits 😉 It the UK they call this style of purse a ‘bum bag’ which sounds just as weird to me as ‘fanny pack’ does to them.
So, now you know that fanny has two different meanings. Don’t misuse them in either country, because you could get some alarming results.

 

Is Your Dorm Room the Best, Worst, Or Average?

My American dorm, there was another
behind mine
Here in the UK, today is the start of ‘Fresher’s Week’. The week when all new freshman are driven to their respective university campus, dropped off with their clothes, taken out for a last meal, and then left by their parents. The rest of the week is packed with learning their course schedule, finding their way around campus, food shopping, and above all, drinking. A lot!
You will find, that there is a major difference between ‘Fresher’s Week’ in America and the UK. Buzzfeed is going into a frenzy over this difference, so I thought I would give an insider’s perspective. In the UK, freshman don’t have to share a room when they live on campus. In fact, most get an en suite with their private bathroom and bedroom. They do however, suffer with sharing a large kitchen, which is cleaned regularly by staff. After one year of this misery living in dorm halls, nearly all students move off campus and live in flats, shared houses etc. But, they still believe that their fresher year in student living was rough.
British dorm kitchen
If only we had it so easy in the US. First, we MUST live on campus for the first two years of university (age 18-20). Secondly, as a freshman students usually share a room that has two sets of bunk beds, four desks, and two large shared wardrobes (that’s four people per room). The bathroom isn’t shared between just these four people, instead it is shared by an entire floor of people. Most universities keep the male and female dorms separate for the first year. There is locked security to keep them separate, and visitors are only allowed to stay in until a certain time at night. Freshman are strictly monitored in America. After completing the year of hell in a freshman dorm, you get slightly more space by sharing a room with just one other person, and sharing a living room and bathroom with four people. That is luxurious compared to freshman living. Most dorms have a floor kitchen, but there is no designated fridge space.
The closet in my room
Why do we have this system? After all, Americans pay large amounts of money to attend university, while British people pay pennies in comparison. Why do they get a better living situation in the UK? Well, I believe it is because from the age of 16, Brits are given more freedom and choice in the UK (people are legally adults at 16 in UK). So, by the time they hit 18 they should be independent enough to live on their own and cook for themselves. In America, at 18, kids are just finishing high school and being thrown into the big world of university. Some have never done a load of laundry before or cooked anything but mac&cheese out of a box. The shared living situation with dorm monitors and rules helps ease the younger university aged students into being away from home. (It also makes parents feel more comfortable writing massive checks to schools if they believe their children are being looked after) Finally, freshman in the US have it so bad because they need to pay their dues. We all did it, we all had a rough freshman year. It’s part of the experience to share a room with strangers, to go to morning classes, eat weird food and study till the early hours of the night. It bonds people together.
British private dorm
What Brits fail to see in the US dorm system is that it is a form of socialization. Most university students travel far and wide to attend school, few of them go to the same place as their high school friends. By having to share a communal space, people are forced to bond and create friendships. I know many freshman roommate friendships that have lasted beyond university for years. Sharing rooms give you a built-in support network, a group to sit with in the dining hall, and someone to help you figure the in’s and outs of new adult life.
 
Dorm joke
I admit to envying the spacious living of the UK freshman. But, the American way has its merits that most British people fail to see. The most random fun things happen when you share rooms with people at university. I’ve gone out for Krispy Kreme donuts at 2 am just because we were bored and hungry. I’ve woken up to lipstick writing on my mirror that made me think my shower was haunted but was just helpful warning from my roomie. Sharing dorms can be fun. My university experience would have been duller and lonelier without it. So, Brits, don’t knock it till you have tried it.
Here is the Buzzfeed article that caught my attention