A Reunion with my English Teacher from Manchester!

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Ms McGowan, my English teacher from the UK, recently visited Malaysia. We had a wonderful mini-reunion with her, my four other Malaysian high school friends, and my older sister at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.

Ms McGowan was our class teacher at Abraham Moss High School, Manchester, and she taught English Literature. Her passion, kindness, and dedication to her craft made learning poetry, short stories, drama, and Shakespeare truly enjoyable.

I would say that she was one of the teachers who inspired me to pursue my English degree and build my career teaching English and communication to students and adult learners.

As it had been more than 20 years since we last met, I did feel quite nervous.

Questions like, “What should I wear?”, “What should we talk about?”, and “What interesting updates can I share?” crossed my mind.

I was even worried about my English not flowing smoothly!

So I had to get myself prepared for this social event. You can learn how to prepare for social events in the latest episode of our podcast. 

You can also listen to this episode on SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Thank goodness the reunion turned out to be just perfect! Preparing for it certainly paid off.

I managed to ask as many questions as I could about life in Manchester, updates on the school and our favourite teachers, and her life after she left Abraham Moss High School. 

Ms McGowan spoke in her delightful Yorkshire accent, sharing stories about her post-retirement work teaching English to refugees and her activities with her book club. It was truly lovely to hear.

I sneaked in a question about pronouncing “schedule”.

Most online dictionaries say that the British English way is “shehjool” (/ˈʃedjuːl/), while the American English way is “skehjool” (/ˈskedʒuːl/). 

Well, it turns out that Ms McGowan pronounces it the American way!

This shows that native speakers speak in accents that may not conform to the dictionary’s categories. After all, there are around 30 accents in the UK alone, and people in the northern part of England (where Ms McGowan is from) generally speak differently than those in the south.

You see, it’s not always British English vs. American English!

It could be a modern RP (Received Pronunciation) accent versus a Yorkshire accent. But I’ll save that discussion for another post.

So at this reunion, my friends and I got to share about our lives after secondary school.

But what I really wanted Ms McGowan to know was how much she and the other kind teachers helped us enjoy school life and shaped us into who we are now.

This reunion is also the inspiration behind this episode on our podcast: Preparing for Social Events: Tips and Phrases for English Learners.

I go through in detail the following tips that you can apply to any gathering you have in the future, no matter how nervous you are.

Here are the tips:

  1. Know the guest list in advance.
  2. Prepare your conversation game plan.
  3. Practise talking about yourself.
  4. Practise expressing your opinions.
  5. Master the art of listening and asking intriguing questions.

 

I want you to practise listening, so do take down some of the phrases given in this episode. 

Until next time.

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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