89. A Day In The Life (The vocabulary of everyday routines)

A vocabulary episode in which I explain all the actions in a normal day.

Right-click here to download this episode.

I got an email today from a woman in Russia. She said it can be easy to talk about big topics like politics but what’s hard is explaining simple actions in detail. So I’m going to describe a typical day in my life, in great detail.

There will be lots of vocabulary, but this episode is not planned. Vocabulary will come up and the context should make it clear what I’m talking about. I will also write many things I say on this page, below. That’s just an example of how much work goes into an episode of Luke’s English Podcast. I have to have the idea, record it, edit it, upload it, listen again and note down vocab, post it, promote it. It might take the whole evening. Bear in mind I’ve got to eat, speak to my girlfriend, do the laundry.

It’s hard to please everybody. I get messages all the time with comments and requests. Some typical comments are generally positive. People seem to love the podcast. Some people still have comments though, and say episodes are too long. That’s normally teachers who want to use parts of the podcast in class. I’d recommend you check out my mini podcasts on Audioboo. You can click the link on the top right hand corner of my homepage http://teacherluke.podomatic.com .

Some people say the podcasts are not long enough and they want more! Some like it when I don’t plan and just let it happen naturally. Others prefer structure and focus. Some don’t like it if I repeat explanations too much because it’s unnecessary and sometimes the explanations are more complex than the words I’m explaining! I think you have to explain vocabulary sometimes. Others really appreciate my descriptions and definitions. Some people really need a transcript and others don’t seem to even look at the page.

Some people love the range of different accents you can hear in the interviews that I’ve used, and some people prefer to just listen to my voice because they like the accent I have. Some people like me to interrupt the recordings with explanations, and others prefer to just listen to it uninterrupted. Some people like it when I’m joined by my brother or cousin and other people just like to hear me on my own.

Basically, I’m going to do it my way! It might not always be perfect, but true perfection is almost impossible. So, IT’S MY WAY OR THE HIGH WAY!

Trust me, I do know what I’m doing – more than anyone else – I know what I’m doing and I’m in charge! So, that’s that.

The podcast used to be a little hobby on the side for me but now it’s a genuinely fruitful way to teach. There are limitations, like I can’t see you or hear you, there are no pictures and no whiteboard for me to write on but I always dreamed of having my own radio show and now I’m doing it.

I got over 4,000 downloads in just one day recently. I keep meeting students who already know me through the podcast. This is fun.

So now, let me take you through a typical day. The following passages are just NOTES which I’ve written which cover many of the new expressions and vocabulary I use. It’s not a complete transcript. I recommend that you use a dictionary such as the Cambridge Online Advanced Learners Dictionary http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ or the Macmillan Dictionary http://www.macmillandictionary.com/ to check new words.

I will wake up and I get woken up by my alarm clock. It comes on at 6.30 in the morning. I’d lean over and put it on sleep. I put it on sleep again and I go back to sleep. I’ve had enough I’m going to get up. I pull back the duvet and get out of bed and I’m usually like a zombie, I’m yawning, staggering through the living room to get to the toilet.

Open the door by turning the handle. Grip the handle and turn it. Pull the door. I turn on the tap and I drink loads of water directly from the tap. I pull the curtain across and I let the shower run for a few minutes to let the water heat up. I give myself a wash. Get some soap to create a lather. I clean behind my ears. Squeezing out some shampoo and then rubbing that in my hair. Rinse my hair. Use a towel to dry myself off. I normally have to iron a shirt first. It’s one of my pet hates. Lay the shirt across the ironing board. Move it forwards and backwards and that irons out all the creases. Iron the sleeves and the collars and you can look a bit RESPECTABLE. Sometimes I tuck my shirt in.

I do like cereal. My favourite thing is to make a cereal cocktail. Let the cereal absorb some of the milk. One thing that always surprises me is that at the bottom of the bowl there’s always more milk than there is cereal at the end. I put my shoes on. Tying up the laces with a loop or a double loop. I press the button to call the lift. It can be a little bit awkward. You don’t really want to make conversation because it’s really awkward. Moving one foot first and then putting your body weight onto it and you keep going forwards in that kind of motion until you get to your destination. We’ve got some kind of balance perception in your ear.

While I’m walking I love to listen to music. I put it on random. I put the audio jack into the mp3 player. I lean against a lamp post while I wait for the bus to arrive. I might go on twitter or something. First I have to unlock the phone. Press the button in the top left hand corner. Move the control pad to move the cursor around until you get to the application you want to launch. Click the button to launch the application. Scroll through all the messages.

I get my oyster card. I beep the oyster card onto a sensor and that automatically deducts about £1 from my account. Make sure I keep my hand on the hand rail. Sit there and daydream. I have to go onto my teaching mode. I’m in a bit of a rush and the stress starts. Looking in my material bank. Lots of lesson materials, I must have hundreds of different lessons in there. Photocopying double sided with a staple in the top left corner and punching holes on the document with a hole punch.

I write down a list of things I’m going to do step by step. The first item on the list is ‘hello’. I like to test the students a little bit by engaging them in some natural conversation. If Sungin is on the ball he’ll say “i’m doing fine”. Then I get the ball rolling. That will bring up different things like error correction. Then you go through it and that helps you to deal with bits of grammar. You then have a whole white board full of lexis and you then start rubbing out little words. Can they come up with some examples?

I queue up and get my lunch. I sit down with my colleagues. You kind of spike a potato with a fork and hold it in place and use a knife to cut the potato in half. You start to chew. YOu really mash up the food. I wolf my food down. I need food because I’ve got a high metabolism and I digest food really quickly.

Get home, get into my apartment, slide the key into the lock and turn it. One of the first things I might do is make myslelf a cup of tea. I probably surf youtube or something. Check out all the different pages I’m on. I probably cook something. Probably some pasta. Spaghetti bolognese. I’d have to have some minced beef in the fridge. I’d get the pan out and chop up some garlic, chop it up fine with a knife. Dice the onion. Slice it up and chop up all the slices into cubes. Fry the onions and the garlic until the onions go green and transparent. Simmer the onions on the hotplate. Allow it to cook a bit until it’s clear or see-through. Cook it until the meat is just about going brown or grey, so you’ve seared most of the meat. Then you can add tomatoes and you mash them up. Tomato puree. Squeeze it into the beef, and you let that simmer, you can add a dash of red wine, let it simmer and reduce. Stick it on the hotplate and allow it to boil. Maybe add a pinch of salt. Get your spaghetti, put it into the pan and push it into the water. Leave that until it’s boiled. Fish out a length of spaghetti with a fork. You don’t want to burn your mouth. Pull the spaghetti out. If it sticks to the wall, it’s edible. You fish it out and you drain all the water out. Stick your fork in and start turning the fork with a spoon and that allows you to wrap all the spaghetti on the fork.

Sometimes I’ll lie in bed and I’ll read a book. I drift off into a dream. I like to daydream. I completely fall asleep and drift off into deep sleep.