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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Day 12: Reading Time

I’ve decided to utilize every moment I can while commuting to one class or another. I’m taking up reading on the waiting platforms and inside all the trains, trams and buses I take daily. My book is in hand, eyes on the words. Only an ear is left open to listen for my stop (in Czech, I only need to really listen for a few words, so when they come across through the crunch-crunch of syllables in this language, I can hardly miss it: words like Staromestska, Hradcanska, U Kris, Florenc pop out quite well.

Anyhow, I figured that getting home later in the evening, tired from the dusty trail and getting all those spongy minds to soak up English, will make me pretty tired. So today I gave it a go: I’m reading “Posession” by A.S. Byatt, and in just the time I spent riding to and fro, I’ve read nearly 50 pages. That’s a lot of reading even when you do have time to read.

I taught my first student today: Metrostav is a big construction company in the Czech Republic. I teach one of its “VIP” bosses (as was labeled in the comments field from his last teacher). Mr S is a fiftyish gentleman who looks like he’s used to giving directions. Yet as a student, S shows his interest with attentive listening, working on his English usage, accepting correction with ease, and taking the time to really put effort in his learning. He isn’t studying English with a mind towards taking the FCE test (a proficiency exam given through Cambridge that is recognized as the blue ribbon of fluency rating), as most of the other Metrostav emloyees are doing. Instead Mr S wants to improve his speaking skills and especially his listening skills in order to be a better traveler around Europe. He knows that among all the different European languages, English is the common language in the major cities (“Except for France,” Mr S said, fluttering a hand while making a face.). He well knows that Czech is basically not spoken outside his home country, unless of course he runs into a Czech while sunning on a Majorcan beach. Mr S is a fine gentleman whom I know will be a good student, learn a bunch, and I suppose move onto the next teacher when I’m no longer here.

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