On today’s episode of Thinking in English, I’m going to answer some of your questions!!
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Last week on Instagram I put out a story asking for some of your questions! Quite a few responses were just really nice messages saying thank you for making these episodes – which I really really appreciate and it makes me even more motivated to continue with the podcast. As well as all of the lovely messages, I received a whole bunch of questions! I’ll answer the first 8 or so today, and I’ll record another episode in a few weeks or months including the questions i didn’t have time to answer!
Make sure you are following the Instagram page – thinkinginenglishpodcast – because that is were I asked for questions. I also post regularly – both about English and about my life in general! I’ve also recently started to experiment with making some Instagram reels (a little bit like Tiktok style videos) – you might enjoy some of them! And if you listen on Spotify, you’ve probably noticed a few changes with the platform over the past few months. I can now ask questions, receive your answers, and set polls on Spotify. Actually one or two of the questions I’ll answer in this episode came from Spotify!
Spotify also just allowed you to rate podcasts. So, please, please, please leave me a 5 star rating on Spotify! I’d love you all forever – it helps to attract new listeners and might improve my chances of entering the Spotify charts! And, of course, if you use Apple podcasts please rate me and leave me a review over there!
Ok, so that’s enough of me begging you all to like, rate, and follow me! Now I’ll answer your questions!
How long have you been living in the UK? – svetao_0
The first question comes from Instagram user svetao_0 – “How long have you been living in the UK?” Well, the interesting thing is – I don’t live in the UK!! However, as you follow my Instagram page and listen to the episodes I’m sure you know that already – I guess you mistyped! So, let me explain the places I’ve lived!
For the first 21 years of my life I lived in England. I grew up in a small village in the centre of the country, surrounded by beautiful fields, lots of sheep, and many boring old people. Then, I moved to the city of Nottingham for university. In 2016, I left England to take up a job as an English teacher on the island of Shikoku in southwest Japan.
I didn’t know anything about Japan, Japanese culture, or the Japanese language. I was looking for a job, and Japan offered a good salary and high job security! After two years in Japan, I returned to the UK for further study! I enrolled in a masters program in London, and completed it in the summer of 2019.
I was then offered a scholarship to study Chinese in Taiwan, which of course I accepted and spent 6 months in the amazing city that is Taipei. If you’ve never been to Taiwan, or never even thought about it as a travel destination, I wholeheartedly encourage you all to visit. Due to the pandemic, I returned to the UK in the middle of 2020, and finally moved back to Japan as a research student in June 2021! So to answer svetao_0’s question, I’ve lived in the UK for about 23 years in total, as well as Japan for 2 ½ years and Taiwan for 6 months!
Have you ever thought about making a podcast in Japanese? I think you can speak the language, right? – rogdobee
The next question comes from Instagram user rogdobee – Have you ever thought about making a podcast in Japanese? I think you can speak the language, right? So, I guess there are two questions here. Can I speak Japanese? Yes, I can! I’m not completely fluent, I have a lot of things I need to improve on and practice, but I can get by with most daily task in Japan! I also speak a little Chinese, but definitely don’t test me on that.
Would I ever consider doing a podcast in Japanese? Well, not on Thinking in English. This is for all English learners, and I will just use English in my episodes. Would I be a guest on a Japanese language podcast? Maybe! I’ve actually already appeared on a popular Japanese podcast run by two friends of mine, and I’d consider it again in the future.
Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough as a teacher? Asked by a rookie teacher! – Selene Chang
Next we have a question from Selene Chang – Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough as a teacher? Asked by a rookie teacher! Of course I’ve felt like I’m not good enough. There is a thing called ‘imposter syndrome.’ Imposter syndrome is when you doubt your abilities and feel like a fraud – you question your ability in your ability and whether you really belong. I’ve definitely felt this before!
I would say that I’m probably not the best English teacher. In fact, I’ve not worked as a full time English teacher since 2018 – right now I make this podcast and tutor part time online. I have decided to focus on what I am best at – teaching upper-intermediate and advanced discussions, conversation practice, and challenging students to reach the best of their abilities. I spent years teaching elementary school children and beginners classes, but I found that I’m best with more advanced students.
I guess the best demonstration that you’re not a bad teacher or tutor is if people keep coming back to your classes, and tell you that they enjoy your lessons. I’ve been teaching many of the same students multiple times a week for over a year now – I must be doing something right. I do still have the feelings I’m not good enough, but you have to think about the evidence – do your students like your classes, do they come back for more, are you focusing on what you are best at!
Can you tell us about words like bloke, mate, guy, folks etc – zombienov
Instagram user zombienov asked if I could explain to you all words like bloke, mate, guy, folks, etc. There are loads more as well – lad, chap, dude, boys, buddy. They are all terms to refer to people, especially males and friends. All of these terms are informal slang. “Who is that bloke over there?” means “who is that man over there?” “Hey guys” is the same as “hey everyone!”
An important thing to note is regional and dialect differences. Mate, lad, chap, bloke are commonly used in British English, while dude is much more common in American English. There are also differences depending on the age of people speaking, the gender, the social class, and the region they come from.
History of the UK! You mentioned something in the episode creating new countries – passenger815
Next we have a few requests for future episodes! Passenger815 asked episodes on the history of the UK. This is definitely something I could do! I love history and I would really like to record more historical episodes. In fact, my undergraduate major at University was in History – I wrote my dissertation on medicine, drugs, and mental health in colonial India. The history of the UK is long and complicated – ranging from ancient Celtic societies, to the Roman period, Anglo Saxons, the Viking and Norman invasions, through to Tudors and Elizabethans, and then the colonial period, Victorians, and the wars of the 20th century.
Which parts of UK history would you like to learn about? Are there any other countries’ histories you’d like me to record episodes about?
Can you record a podcast episode about banning cigarettes for the new generations in New Zealand? – simonedemeo_
Simonedemeo_ also requested an episode – they asked Can you record a podcast episode about banning cigarettes for the new generations in New Zealand? Well, here is some good news – yes! Look out for an episode on New Zealand’s cigarette ban and the more general debate around this topic in early January!
Could you tell us about the case of Patrick Zaki and why the Egyptian government implements such restrictive policies? – Paolo Federico Venzia
This next request came from Paolo Federico Venzia. Could you tell us about the case of Patrick Zaki and why the Egyptian government implements such restrictive policies? This is why I love getting suggestions from all of you – I would never have thought about creating an episode on this kind of topic. But now I’ll definitely take a look at the topic and see if I can understand it well enough to write an episode! If anyone ever has a topic or issue they are interested in, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram and give me your suggestions.
What are your future plans for the podcast?
Today’s final question is actually from Spotify so it is anonymous – What are your future plans for the podcast? I actually have had a few different people ask me similar questions. I have a lot of different plans for the podcast – but they really all depend on you as the listener. In the next few months, my plans are just to keep growing and keep getting new listeners.
The more you all share my content, the easier this is! I hope to get to 10,000 average listeners next year, which would make me one of the top language podcasts in the world. I think I’m going to start reviewing books exclusively on thinkinginenglish.blog and rating them on how difficult they are for English learners. I’m also interested in making more Instagram content – maybe even branching out on to YouTube or other media.
I would also love to make this my job in the future, but right now I don’t make any money from doing this. I’m planning on maybe introducing a subscription model in the new year – perhaps I will release two episodes a week for free, and the third episode will only be available to people who subscribe to my blog (but I’m still undecided). It would be great to earn a little money from the podcast as I could afford to buy a new microphone and pay for a better blog website! If you’d be interested in subscribing for an extra episode a week – would you do it? I’ll ask this as the Spotify question for today’s episode.
However, ultimately I want to make the content that you want to listen to! So what do you, as listeners and English learners, want the future of this podcast to be? What type of episodes do you like? What could I improve on? Let me know!!
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