Listening my way out of trouble

So I’ve been listening to short podcasts with a tapescript to help. This hasn’t had the magical affects I’d been hoping for. However, it has highlighted a weakness in my Polish that I had ignored for too long, so that’s a positive. I see how much I miss on the first listen and then when I follow it the second time with the tapescript catch a lot more, even stuff I know which is frustrating frankly.

Resisting the temptation

I’m referring to the temptation to tune out whenever I hear a sentence or some words I don’t know. The initial instinct is to say “Sh*t what did they say there?” But I see now that the key is to just keep listening till the end and that is a key insight because all to often I just bugger off and lose motivation to continue listen. That’s important I feel because it’s proof that listening does require your full attention, whether it is a new language or your own.

Hard to know

This is in reference to my progress. I simply can’t tell if my listening is getting better. Am I wasting my damn time or what? I can’t be sure but I hope it’s not for nought. I will have to continue with this strategy for a while to see if it pans out. The upside is that I can choose the level I want which is quite amusing actually because when I hear an A2 conversation I think ” Yea, I got all that, I’m the man!” Then, I play a B1 or B2 conversation and…..well…..I get a good ol’ ass-kicking just to remind me that I got plenty of work still, how lovely!

Plans and strategy


  • Keep listening and don’t get distracted retard!
  • Make sure to review new words, writing them down is nice but don’t skip the hard part – learning the words.
  • Have faith in the process no matter how frustrating it gets.
  • Slap yourself if you have a thought of not doing the 30min of practice and work on a given day
  • I have to embrace any opportunity to practice and not switch to English whenever it’s convenient, loser!

To be continued……

Polish is trying to knock me out

I can confirm, that I am still standing even after some quite big hits to the ears, and ego.

Learning Polish.

Each day, beginning again, and again and AGAIN.

Sharp redirect

The grammar method and focus on exercises almost took me out (or knocked me out). I closed the cases without finishing them all, got an exercise book and switched to listening practice. A total sift in approach was needed to get me refocused. The beginning was refreshing but I hit a wall after a couple of weeks of podcasting in Polish.


I spent about two months on episodes from A1 to B2 level online. I listened to talks/conversations on

  • blog posting
  • going to a party
  • moving to Poland
  • studying in Poland
  • watching sports
  • cleaning 🙂
  • Going on vacation to Greece 🙂
  • family occasions
  • Polish weddings
  • New year’s eve plans
  • After the party
  • Quitting school
  • Money – saving, spending, investing
  • Going to university/Leaving university

Shall I keep going? There’s so many more. I think what I got from this experience was wow, some topics I know better than others and that means that from some I get a confidence boost that a lot is understood while with other topics I didn’t have a clue. So huge spectrum shift. This daily exercise was very repetitive as I tried to get used to the speed at which Polish people speak, and hear the words that put together a thought, a sentence, an idea.

Tough to stay focused when you hear people conversing and get lost COMPLETELY! After over two months of this, I learned a large number of new words on a variety of topics. So that’s positive, BUT….it’s completely scrambled.

You don’t know unless you try

I went to the bookstore and bought the exercise book not the coursebook for the next level of Polish. Mistake? I wouldn’t know unless I tried. That’s my motto in this. It has about 20 units and I’m methodically working through it. This is much better than the grammar book, as it has reading and listening as well as vocabulary! Oh god I LOVE VOCABULARY!

But I hate liczba mnoga (pluralin Polish) I just can’t stand learning all these different versions of a word. Now I know the frustration students have when doing word formation in my classes! Love doing the reading and vocabulary though. So much great language in the context of the subjects. Did, a reading on animals and NAILED IT! Did a reading on relationships and didn’t know A GOD DAMN THING!

As I think you have surmised it’s a love/hate endeavor that’s growing steadily into a long-term, steady relationship! How lovely.

I can confirm that for the summer months I have decided to lower the load with just index cards. I have already started this new adventure and wow is it fun! A great memory game has commenced and I will updated you all in the next post about the progress but I am ROCKING this task with a daily count and the “learned” stack is getting taller and taller! wooooo hooooo

Stay tuned for more on that front. I’m on a mission to learn this language. Here we go!

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Language for resolving conflict

This episode(90) is related to soft skills in the office but can also relate to personal conflicts with relatives, friends, neighbors etc.The language here is for how to approach conflict diplomatically to allow for a return to normalcy and productivity. How we say something, and the language we use can have an enormous impact on how quickly or effectively we resolve issues, difficulties and ultimately conflicts in the office. How do you resolve conflict?

Anything I miss? Check out part 2 on this topic: Neutralize the situation(91) Where I discuss even more language for approaching this situation.

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Painful learning lessons in Polish

I’ve tried to stay consistent but now with March under way I am finding it harder and harder as winter slowly reaches the finish line. My daily 40min efforts have lost their charm and now I am satisfied if I can get 30min in about 4-5 days a week. The dative case was boring – this is the case that focuses on the indirect object in a sentence, basically a lot of practice with the verbs ‘help,give, prevent, lend, introduce, to be against sth’ as you can imagine it’s as interesting as Polish politics. I finished it licking my wounds and have been now stuck on the Accusative case(Biernik) for over a month. It’s pretty bland and tasteless without any smiles to be had. I am crushed!

Listening my way out of boredom

It was during one of my conversation lessons I do with a friend where I expressed my frustration at all the exercises and how I was running out of patience and momentum with the diligent studying. He then mentioned that I should shift to more listening. Instantly I realized that it was a brilliant idea. My listening is absolute garbage, considering how long I’ve lived in this frozen tundra. So I inquired about some resources and BOOM there are some podcasts online that are available with a tape script too. Time to get my listening up to par.

Pushing through the A2 boundaries

I’m really hoping that this listening combined with my continued efforts on the exercise book will produce some damn fruit. A2 has kept me in lockdown and it’s been a struggle to reach B1 but I am going to keep fighting. I have a couple of advantages working here:

  1. I am a stubborn bastard
  2. I have left the easier cases for last 🙂
  3. I generally consider myself a good listener
  4. I am a stubborn shit

SO, as you can tell I have all the necessary tools and weapons to produce the desired results. Destiny awaits and I will be there to welcome it and give a fist pump in return. In the meantime, I have to figure out all these pronouns, plural endings, prepositions, as well as the perfect and imperfect aspect. Load of shit! but great fun! Sort of….

I own you Mianownik! – learning the Polish nominative case

So much damn fun

Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. It’s the nominative case so it’s meant to be the most straightforward. Most of the exercises for A1,A2 and B1 in Polish are becoming familiar with male,female and neutral gender nouns and then of course how all the endings of nouns, adjectives and verbs change based on the gender and of course if it is singular or plural. Doesn’t that just sound like so much damn fun? It isn’t. Ok just a little when you realize how many changes are taking place it’s hard to fathom what is really happening.

Smooth sailing at the start

Because of the A1 start the nouns are very easy at first as you can probably image, they are covering the very basics and having lived in Poland for so long it was easy but that didn’t mean I knew how the endings changed or what gender all the nouns were so that was the eye-opener. However, the authors of my grammar book are easing you into the language so it was nothing too mind-bending. That is, until I got to ‘podoba sie’ ouch!

It pleases me

That is podoba sie, but it has many variations and is used in sentences in a way that doesn’t translate to English easily. It’s actually fucking important too because it’s what Polish people use to express likes and dislikes so I kind of have to know it and be able to use it. I got pissed off initially with this, and though I did the exercises more than once I can firmly state that I don’t really know how to manipulate this saying properly yet, pathetic honestly!

Moving on

I am moving on to my fourth case now – Celownik! It’s komu? czemu? which to you means the dative case. It’s meant to help identify the object in the sentence, it’s crap basically but I am extremely motivated and determined. As a language teacher myself I am acutely aware of the high stakes language learning entails and so I am not shying away from komu czemu, Let’s do it!

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Culture Lesson: Greetings

This week’s episode focuses on culture and specifically ‘Greetings’. These are my favorite kind of episodes because culture is such an integral part of learning a language and most language courses don’t cover it properly. There is not much language in this episode and that is on purpose. With culture it’s about raising awareness with certain communication made in the language that culture speaks. The most important factor is not only how English speakers greet but also how it can vary from country to country and even regions within those countries. I have provided the examples I have come across in my time traveling and working as a teacher of English. The essence here is that ‘How are you?’ in English is not a real question like it may be in other languages and cultures. In Poland for example, this is a real question that requires coffee and a sit down chat to answer. While in English this question simply means ‘Hi’. The same applies to other greetings. What’s up? How are ya? You alright?(Br) How ya going? (Australia) Yo, Hey, How ya doing? Etc. This awareness is important because my students have expressed frustration with this when initiating a conversation with someone or just simply acknowledging them. So I thought it would be important to cover it. I hope you find it valuable and share your thought on other cultural differences you have encountered in the comments section.

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Teaching quality in English – ESL lesson idea

This episode covers language and lesson tips for ESL teachers to adapt in their classroom. Versatile, flexible and for many different levels this topic is easy to discuss and teach and also incredibly fast to prepare. If you need additional info on this lesson idea you can find a written step by step description of the lesson and more here. Also, here is a spidergram with all the relevant vocabulary on this topic.


superior/inferior, outstanding, top, durable, reliable, unique, long-lasting, poor, genuine, handmade, brand, well-designed,

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Speaking about the future: ESL lesson ideas and language

Living in the information age, makes this lesson idea a no-brainer. It means that every ESL teacher should be doing it and just adapting it for their class accordingly. All students will want to contribute and have something to say about this and teachers can cover numerous areas regarding technology, discoveries, inventions and what might be possible in the not-too-distant future. The idea here is speaking and vocabulary of which there is plenty!

This episode covers topics, language and activities an ESL teacher can use in a lesson about the future. No materials needed and extremely effective for students to extensively practice expressing the future correctly. Any of the ideas can be used on their own and the lesson idea provides a further outline. Enjoy and hope it’s helpful.

Language covered: Future tenses, future expressions, words for planning

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