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Plenty of good vocabulary for describing your childhood and school days.
Here you will find lots and lots of really natural and common expressions for describing your childhood, school days and plenty of other things too.
Listen to the podcast a few times to get the most benefit.
Transcript – The Section about My Childhood & Schooldays
This is a transcription of the first part of the episode, in which I describe my childhood. There is also a list of vocabulary below.
[1:40 – Childhood / Growing Up / School Days story]
Let’s get started. So, childhood, my childhood.
Well, I was born in 1977 and in fact my mum gave birth to me on a Sunday in 1977. My parents decided to name me Luke. They decided to call me Luke. Now, I wasn’t named after Luke Skywalker even though I was born in 1977. I wasn’t named after Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. Although I am a big Star Wars fan. I’ve always loved Star Wars, but I wasn’t named after him. I wasn’t named after Cool Hand Luke, the Paul Newman movie either. Instead I was actually named after my great-great-grandfather, who was also called Luke. And my mum in particular really looked up to him, because he was like very successful person in our family. So basically my mum really looked up to him. So they decided to kind of… I think they liked the name Luke anyway, but they also partly wanted to name me after my great-great-grandfather.
So I grew up in West London. That’s where we lived in a place called Ealing in West London. So that’s where I grew up initially. In fact, I grew pretty quickly, my parents used to measure me on the wall. So I’d stand on the wall and they’d use a pencil to mark a line on a wall and then every few months or something they’d measure me again and we can see how much I’d grown. I grew pretty quickly like most kids grow pretty fast. I was brought up by my parents, of course. My parents brought me up, I think, to be quite a good lad.
My parents were quite strict sometimes but not too strict. I don’t think I was spoilt as a child either. I mean there were plenty of things we weren’t allowed. For example we weren’t allowed to watch James Bond movies or The A Team. I wasn’t allowed to have a TV in my bedroom for example. I wasn’t allowed to eat too many sweets, things like that, but they weren’t too strict either.
My parents were comfortable with money, but not really well off or rich or wealthy, but they were just comfortable. So I wasn’t really born with a silver spoon in my mouth or anything like that. I’m just from a normal family. My parents and family used to say that I looked.. I took after my Dad. They said that I really took after my Dad because I looked like him and I was quite sporty and good at music, like him.
So, also I could be a bit naughty and badly behaved at times and my parents would sometimes tell me off and send me to my room but it was never that serious. Actually, I went through quite a kind of naughty phase, I was quite stubborn for a few years. I remember like my mum having trouble kind of like… she took me to the shops when we walked back if was kind of like annoyed or something, I’d just stop walking and say: “I’m not moving”. So, I was quite naughty and a bit stubborn, but I grew out of it. Actually I grew out of that phase.
I have an older brother so I would get a lot of his old clothes. So I’d wear his hand-me-down clothes. And we also used to play with toys that had been handed down by my dad and my uncle. So we had all these old toys that we used to play, that had been handed down by my father.
I kind of went through a sort of lying phase for a little while, when I was a kid. I think, that’s quite normal for children and my parents would sort of suspect that I was lying about something. You know, they would know that I was telling fibs or telling tall tales and they’d make me own up to it. But I got over my lying phase. I grew out of it. I was quite a hyperactive as a kid. I always had too much energy, I was always full of beans. My parents would wonder where I’d get my energy from. It turns out, the orange squash that I used to drink, when I was a kid, was just full of e-numbers, so full of chemicals that made me hyperactive. Sometimes by brother and I would stay up late listening to the radio or playing with our Star Wars figures. Obviously we had to be very quiet, because we weren’t allowed to stay up past a certain time.
I used to look up to my older brother quite a lot. He’s only two years older than me, but that’s quite a lot when you are a kid. So you know, I used to look up to him. He had cool friends, I’d sort of enjoy having out with him and kind of watching him do his art work. He used to do lots of artwork and I kind of sit there watching him doing his art work. So, I kind of looked up to him. To be honest, I was probably quite an annoying little brother and sometimes he would just tell me to get lost and things like that.
Birthdays and Christmas were always really great days. I’d look forward to them so much that I’d be literally counting down the days before my birthday and I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before. When you’re a kid, teeth, your teeth are quite important, because really your first set of teeth, your baby teeth or your milk teeth, they kind of would fall out sometimes and that was always quite a big event when a tooth came out. And you’d try to keep the tooth and then put it under your pillow for the tooth fairy who’d come in the night and replace it with a coin. This is like one of those things that you believe when you are a child. The only thing is that I was actually scared of the tooth fairy, I was afraid of it, frightened of the tooth fairy and so I would actually put my pillow outside my room, in the hallway with the tooth under it. And then, that way the tooth fairy didn’t have to come into my bedroom, because I was scared of it. It’s kind of pathetic, I know.
I also found out when I was a child that Father Christmas, Santa Claus wasn’t real. When one night I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited and sometime during the night someone entered the room and started filling my stocking with presents. I thought it was Father Christmas, so I pretended to be asleep but secretly watched him. It was my Dad. He wasn’t even dressed as Santa. So obviously, then I realised that Santa didn’t really exist.
I went to a nursery school, which is a kind of preschool. When you’re about sort of 3 or 4 years old. All I remember doing there was just playing games. Then I went to a normal comprehensive state school. In the UK here, in Britain, the names of our schools can be a bit confusing, because basically, first off all, you have comprehensive schools and those are ones which are paid for by the government. So they are like state schools, free schools let’s say, comprehensive school or states schools. Then you got private schools which are… you have to pay to go to one of those schools, you have to pay. And most of them have a kind of entry level exams. You have to be a certain level of student to get into a private school then your parents have to pay, okay. But then you’ve got level schools and those strangely are called public schools. Now, public schools are actually just private schools. They’re very exclusive, private schools. And what we would call a public school would be a comprehensive school. Right? Actually, in England a public school is like a very very… difficult to get into and very expensive, very high-level. These are schools like Eton and Harrow. Prince William went to Eton, I think. Just kind of give an example of what kind of school that is.
So I just went to comprehensive school. And the first school you go to is your primary school. That’s from age about 5 to 11. And then from primary school you move on to Secondary School. Secondary school would be kind of 11 to 15 or 16 years old. And then if you can… You can leave school then and get a job, if you want but if you choose to you can go on to study more and you would do.. you’d probably go to college like a sixth form college. When you’re 15 or 16 you take exams called GCSEs and most people take about 9 subjects. Things like: English language, English literature, history, geography, physics, biology, chemistry, stuff like you know maths, maybe French, drama, music, things like that. And after that you go on to do A levels which is the next level of qualification. You take your A levels when you’re about 18 years old. And most of people take about three A levels or maybe about 6 As levels. And once you get your A level, you can then sort of apply to go to university and you need a certain number of A levels to get into good universities.
In the universities here, you’ve got basically like… probably like 3 types of university here. The most famous ones are obviously Oxford and Cambridge. They’re very well established, very famous universities. And those two universities together are called “Oxbrigde”. So if you went to an Oxbridge university it means you go to a very good university. Then the next level of university and these are also excellent places, these the next level down, would be the red brick universities. And they are called that, because they’re typically the buildings are made using red brick, because they were built, let’s see, around the turn of the century, maybe a bit earlier than then. So that was typical of architecture at that time though. Buildings would be constructed using red bricks. So those are the red brick universities. They are very good.
Then, the third level of university would be the ex-polytechnic universities or former Polytechnic universities. A polytechnic college actually sort of twenty or thirty years ago would have been a college of further education that specialized in technical qualifications. And they actually gained the rights to be called universities some time ago. And then they offered similar courses to the other universities in the country. And those are called ex-polytechnic universities or ex-polys. I went to an ex-polytechnic university called Liverpool John Moores and actually the department in which I studied was very good, had a very good reputation. So all of those universities are.. sort of 3 types of university.
So I went to primary school when I was a kid, of course. I absolutely hated my first day. I didn’t want to go at all. My mum had to drag me in to the building literally and I cried. It was an absolute nightmare. But, you know, I got used to it slowly. And when I was 9 years old my Dad got a promotion in his job and so we moved out of London.
And we moved to an area, basically, in the countryside just in to the middle of nowhere. So we moved from like the city out into the countryside which was quite a big change. I went to countryside school, which was quite weird, because I was a city lad, you know, I was from the city, a city kid. And all the other kids kind of picked on me because I talked differently. I didn’t really get bullied but I did get picked on. Eventually I learned to stand up for myself and the other kids stop picking on me.
Now, I wasn’t really a swot or a teacher’s pet, but I was quite bright, if a little bit cheeky at times. I was quite cheeky to my teachers, but I got away with it, because basically I was nice. A couple of times I got told off by teachers. I got a couple of detentions and I had to write lines as punishment. In those days there was no physical punishment at school. The cane had been banned some years before. So now I usually did my homework although sometimes I didn’t do it and I’d have to give some kind of bad excuse. Like: I lost it or something like that. Some kids were really badly behaved. They’d kind of bunk off school or bully the other kids and some kids got expelled or suspended. My school was a bit rough but you know that’s quite normal really for comprehensive schools.
Obviously I had to wear a uniform in every school that I went to. I had wear a uniform. In my secondary school my uniform was that I had to wear black trousers, black shoes, a white or gray t-shirt, a black blazer which had a badge on it and a school tie which had a particular color. My school tie was black with red diagonal stripes. And my previous school was blue tie with yellow strips across it. So I had to wear a uniform which I think is quite good, it’s quite a good idea to make kids wear uniforms. Because at least it makes all the children kind of the same. You know, you don’t get that sense that some of the kids are very poor. Some of the kids are kind of very rich or well off. Instead if they all wear the same clothes, means they’re kind of on an equal kind of level which I think is a good thing. You also get the idea that when you’re in a uniform it feels like you’re being prepared for work. You know, like later on when you wear a suit when you go to work, it feels like you’re wearing a school uniform. So, I guess it’s kind of quite clever really as a way of training people to be a little bit formal or something, I don’t know.
So, I started growing up into my teenage years. So I became a teenager. I became an adolescent. You know, I had all those psychical changes. I went through puberty and basically I got through school okay, despite the difficulties that you typically go through when you are a kid. In the UK secondary school can be quite tough because of peer pressure from the other kids. You feel very sensitive at that time. And it’s hard, because you’re really learning who you are. There’s lots of hormones racing round inside your body. And you’re changing a lot psychically. It can be very embarrassing at that time of your life. Now, in the UK you have to just kind of to get by without losing the respect of the other kids. You have to be quite popular in order to avoid embarrassment or avoid being picked on and bullied. You have to try and impress girls, avoid the bullies, be popular, be quite good at sport. If you’re not good at sport, you have to be funny. You shouldn’t be too geeky or swotty. You should basically avoid trouble with the teachers, do you work, get good results and keep your parents happy. That’s basically what you’ve got to achieve at school.
It can be hard, I survived by playing football just all the time. I was completely obsessed with football and every moment would be spent playing football or thinking about football. I also learned to play the piano and that was like my own private thing that I do on my own. Just play the piano. That was very nice experience and I kind of learned that I’d had some kind of skill as a musician. I kind of lived in my own world really. I feel like I was just slightly disconnected, just in my own world. I listened to like lots of good music on my walkman all the time. And I had all these tapes that had been given to me by my uncle and my dad. And they listened to lots of really good music. So I was listening to things like Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and things like that and the Clash and the Sex Pistols and these great bands that I’d been introduced to. And I was 13 years old. I was listening on to this music on my walkman all the time. I think like… none of my friends liked that music until later until they left school and then they decided that they liked that music. So personally I feel I was like ahead of my time in that way.
You know, adolescence gave me a lot of spots. I had lots of like spots on my face, and greasy hair. I was quite self-conscious and awkward. You know, I was really too embarrassed to be cool. So I just used to make lots of really bad jokes all the time and nothing really changed there, I imagine. I was quite kind of awkward, quite uncomfortable with girls. I was, you know, fairly popular with them, but I couldn’t really imagine having a girlfriend. Because I just wasn’t really confident enough. I studied quite well at school. I mean I often would lose concentration but I was quite imaginative, so I did all right. I got above average GSCEs and particularly at drama and music. I left school at 16 and I went to college. And that was really quite a different world and I kind of realized that when I left it was brilliant. I just sort of didn’t have to wear a uniform at college. And I was with lots of other kids at the same age as me from different places that had never met me before. And I really felt like I could sort of become myself. And I actually learned to have a personality, I think, for the first time, when I went to college. And then kind of grew up and became an adult and that’s a separate story, that one, separate podcast.
Here you will see a list of some of the expressions I used. Listen to the episode to get definitions and examples.
1. I was born in 1977
2. My Mum gave birth to me on a Sunday.
3. My parents decided to name me Luke
4. I wasn’t named after Luke Skywalker or Cool Hand Luke
5. I was named after by great-great-grandfather, who my Mum in particular looked up to
6. I grew up in West London
7. I grew pretty quickly. My parents used to measure me
8. I was brought up by my parents
9. My parents brought me up to be a good lad
10. my parents were quite strict but not too strict
11. I don’t think I was spoiled/spoilt as a child
12. There were plenty of things we weren’t allowed to do
13. My parents were comfortable but not really well off, rich or wealthy
14. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth
15. My parents said I took after my Dad because I looked like him and I was good at sport and music, like him
16. I could be a bit naughty and badly behaved at times and my parents would tell me off and send me to my room but it was never that serious
17. Apparently I went through a naughty phase
18. I was quite stubborn but I grew out of it
19. I have an older brother so I would get his old clothes, I’d get his hand-me-down clothes
20. We used to play with toys that had been handed down by my Dad
21. I went through a lying phase, which is quite normal for kids, and my parents would suspect I was lying about something
22. They knew I was telling fibs or telling tall tales and they’d make me own up to it
23. I got over my lying phase. I grew out of it.
24. I was quite a hyperactive kid
25. I was always full of beans
26. Turns out the orange squash used to contain lots of e-numbers, like E102
27. Sometimes by brother and I would stay up late listening to the radio or playing with Star Wars figures
28. I used to look up to my older brother quite a lot
29. I was probably the annoying little brother and sometimes he’d tell me to get lost
30. Birthdays and Christmas were always great days. I’d look forward to them so much that I’d be counting the days before my birthday and then I wouldn’t be able to sleep
31. Teeth were important as a kid too because your first set (milk teeth) would fall out sometimes and that was quite a big event.
32. You’d keep the tooth and put it under your pillow for the tooth fairy who’d come in the night and replace it with a coin
33. I was scared/afraid/frightened of the tooth fairy
34. I’d put my pillow out on the landing
35. I found out that Santa wasn’t real when one night I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited
36. Some time during the night someone entered the room and started filling my stocking with presents. I thought it was Santa so I pretended to be asleep but secretly watched. It was my Dad. He wasn’t even dressed as Santa.
37. I went to nursery school
38. I went to a normal comprehensive state school. Comprehensive schools / private schools / public schools
39. Primary / Secondary (GCSEs) / College (A levels) / University (degree)
40. Oxbridge university (Oxford or Cambridge) / Red brick university / Ex-polytechnic University
41. I hated my first day of primary school but I got used to it
42. When I was 9 my Dad got a promotion
43. We moved to the countryside to the middle of nowhere
44. The other kids picked on me because I had a different accent
45. I didn’t get bullied but I did get picked on
46. I learned to stand up for myself
47. I wasn’t a swot or a teacher’s pet
48. I could be quite cheeky
49. I got told off by teachers
50. I got a couple of detentions and I had to write lines
51. The cane had been banned a few years earlier
52. Some kids were badly behaved and they would bunk off school or bully the other kids
53. My school was a bit rough but that’s normal for comprehensive schools
54. I used to wear a uniform
55. I became a teenager and an adolescent
56. I went through puberty
57. Secondary school can be tough because of peer pressure
58. You feel sensitive and you’re learning about your identity
59. There are a lot of hormones
60. You have to get by without losing the respect of the other kids
61. You have to be quite popular to avoid embarrassment
62. You have to try to impress girls, avoid bullies, be popular, be good at sport – if not be funny, don’t be too geeky or swotty, avoid trouble with teachers, do you work, get good results and try to keep your parents happy
63. I was ahead of my time because of the music I listened to
64. I was uncomfortable with girls. I felt awkward and embarrassed a lot.
65. I studied quite well. I lost concentration but I was imaginative.
66. I got above average GSCE results and went to college.
67. The rest is history!
Here’s a funny sketch from a TV show. Kevin becomes a teenager.