Mostly True Memoirs
A LOUD SMILE
CHICKEN AND CANDY FOR DINNER
My beginning English student told me that he had eaten chicken and candy for dinner.
I hesitated a moment before I clarified that.
Who am I to judge?
Maybe he DID eat chicken and candy for dinner.
It sounds like great comfort food.
A few shots of whiskey would make an excellent dessert pairing.
I was very disappointed to find out, on questioning him, that he had actually eaten chicken and vegetables for dinner.
I am now rethinking my own dinner plans for tonight.
SIX TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO CONFERENCE
Make sure your camera is at eye level. If it is anywhere else, it is going to give an odd perspective. If your laptop is set up on a low coffee table, it is looking up at you, and your audience sees you distorted. They see huge knees. They see up your nose. They see the underside of your chin. Perhaps they are even getting a crotch shot. A downward view is equally distorting. Raise or lower your camera so that the lens is at eye level.
Position the top of your head to the top and center of the screen and make sure your image covers more than 50% of the screen. Stay there for the entire conference. To keep yourself from skooching down, sit in a secretary chair or a wooden dining room chair. Chairs with arms and upholstered furniture lend themselves to slouching on camera. Check yourself often so that you continue to sit up straight and occupy more than 50% of the screen.
Do not put your back to a window. You will be seen in silhouette.
Keep your background clean and clear. A blank wall is best. If you don’t have a blank wall, then position your camera for a close up shot so that your face takes up most of the screen. This will lessen the distraction of the background.
Sit still. If you use a standing desk, stand still. The camera doesn’t know what to focus on when you are moving about. I have seen many people on video calls this week with their bookcase in focus rather than their face because they are moving around, and the camera doesn’t know where to focus.
Mute yourself when you are not speaking. Small sounds that you don’t notice in person can be heard by everyone else. Keyboarding, finger tapping and dogs yapping are all very loud on the mic, even if they are not loud in person.
Let me know if these six tips to improve your video conference have been helpful.
ONLINE ENGLISH CLASS
Today I had sound problems in my online English class.
The students couldn’t hear me.
I could hear them.
And they could hear each other.
But they couldn’t hear me.
They could read my chats, so I set them up with an exercise, and I contacted the tech guy for help with the sound.
He said that he couldn’t hear me.
That’s my problem, I told him via the chat box.
No one can hear me.
Can you please help me fix my sound?
I can’t hear you, he repeated.
Ah, now I understand the problem.
The tech guy needs English lessons too.
SHE IS A VERY ANGRY WOMAN
In every class, the students seemed to have similar fears.
Except for one man.
He stated that he is afraid of his wife.
She is a very angry woman.
To alleviate his fear, he drinks a lot of beer.
That escalated quickly.
GOING TO THE MOVIES
Today my adult ESL students were discussing going to the movies.
I broke them into pairs to have a conversation.
Student 1: Would you like to meet me at 5:00 in the evening to see a movie?
Student 2: 5:00 o’clock is not evening. 5:00 o’clock is afternoon.
Me: 5:00 can be called afternoon or evening. Both are OK.
2: 5:00 is afternoon.
Me: You can say that 5:00 is too early, and you would prefer to meet later.
2: 5:00 O’CLOCK IS AFTERNOON!
Yeah, I’m guessing this guy doesn’t get too many invitations.
I had three students and a slacker interpreter in my English class.
One of the students was really struggling to understand.
Usually the interpreter will jump right in to help.
This interpreter did nothing.
I asked her to please help the student.
She said, in perfect English, that she couldn’t help him.
Because she didn’t understand.
The students said something to each other, and they all laughed.
I don’t need an interpreter to know that they said, “slacker.”
I’m the teacher in the English conversation class.
I’m the one who is fluent.
But sometimes my students leave me utterly speechless…
Today’s conversation topic was “At the Gym.”
The class started talking about yoga.
But then one man said that he refuses to practice yoga.
“If I practice yoga, I will turn into a woman.”
The rest of the class agreed.
They discussed men they knew who began doing yoga.
And then turned into a woman.
And this is NOT a discussion topic that I intend to moderate.
I redirected the conversation to swimming.
Note to self – NEVER discuss yoga in the conversation class again.