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Facing up todeal with a problem, show courage in accepting sth. a challenge
The Secret Diary of Mrs A.

Mrs A, an English teacher and a mother of two teenagers - Julka and Maciek - is a regular feature of our pages. In this issue, Media, she uses in her diary a lot of phrasal verbs and some nouns formed from phrasal verbs. If you need any help understanding them, just place the mouse over the purple ball following an underlined phrase.

19th February, Wednesday

The Head called me into his office during the long break. For a split second I worried he’d want to go overthink about sth. carefully, examine it my class’s notoriously low attendance during the school assembly and trot outgive opinions, reasons, arguments that have been used too often his old arguments about having to keep discipline. I was wrong. He had a new task for class III c - my class, the class with the extended programme in English. As it turned outgive opinions, reasons, arguments that have been used too often our school was going in fortake part in a new competition organized by the Kuratorium. The aim is to launch a school newsletter that will:

·         deal with the problems of young people,

·         come outbecome publicly available regularly every month,

·         be created by students for students,

·         include columns or sections written in English.

The Head is sure it’ll take offbe successful. Even before he finished talking I’d guessed his wish. The English section will be the responsibility of my class and I have to see todeal with sth.; make sure that sth. happens it that the whole thing comes offtake place as planned, succeed.

19th February, Wednesday afternoon

I broke the news to the class and called forask publicly for sth. suggestions and volunteers. The class really took tostart to like the idea. Tomorrow during the long break we’ll meet in the library to discuss the details. I hope some interesting ideas will crop upappear .

19th February, Wednesday evening

Since Spouse had ‘an important business meeting’ at work, and Maciek and Julka had slipped awayleave quietly ‘to learn with their friends’, I decided to make some good use of the ‘home alone’ situation and dig upfind by searching a couple of teenage magazines that my kids read. Maybe they’ll give me an idea what kind of articles are written for the young generation so when I meet my class tomorrow I’ll have at least some notion of ‘the problems of young people’. I started by looking throughlook quickly in or examine sth. Maciek’s treasure chest - that is a couple of old shoeboxes stored awaykeep sth. packed and save for the future under his bed. Huge disappointment. Five old issues of Anglers’ News, one rather dog-eared Playboy, a copy of Auto plus a poster of Jennifer Lopez. Among these - three odd socks in a varied state of smelliness. I tried Julka’s room. A pile of magazines neatly tucked awayput away tidily, store in a safe place looked promising - mostly Filipinka and some Cosmopolitan. At the sight of Cosmopolitan I was slightly taken abackbe very surprised but still in good faith thumbed throughlook quickly (esp. through a book or magazine) some copies: ‘The ten top sexiest bums in Hollywood’, ‘How safe are silicon implants?’, ‘When your best friend tries to pick upbecome friendly with sb. esp. because you find them attractive your boyfriend’, ‘Cellulite? - we can help’, ‘Healthy skin - happy life’. Teenage problems? I only hope my class will pick ondecide to choose sth. different topics and come up withthink of an idea, plan etc. some better suggestions.

20th February, Thursday

Six volunteers turned upcome at our library meeting. They’d already talked things overdiscuss. Darek said they’d been thinking of a special title for their English page, maybe a kind of  acronym in which the letters would form a catchy phrase, like Fantastic, Unbelievable, Creative.... ‘Hold on!wait’, I quickly butted ininterrupt, ‘nothing that starts with an ‘F’, OK? I won’t stand foraccept, tolerate dirty language!’. He nodded his head but I could see a shadow of a smile lingering at the corner of his mouth. They were rather secretive about the rest. Przemek put forwardsuggest sth. a suggestion that they’d prepare a draft copy for Monday and present it for my approval. I went along withagree to a suggestion that.

24th February, Monday

I’m looking at the newsletter now. The title is: Kids’ Universe - Creative, Unbelievable, Fantastic. So they haven’t started with an ‘F’, but if you rearrange the words... Hmm.... There are five parts altogether. Not bad. They really got down tostart doing sth. that needs a lot of energy or work some serious work over the weekend.

 

Our idols

Every generation has their idols. Grown-ups often complain that the youth of today have no heroes, no moral authorities to look up toadmire, no role models to follow. This is simply not true. Below you’ll find the results of a survey carried outorganise and perform in class III c. There was only one question to answer: ‘Who is your favourite hero from all the set texts you had to read for your Polish lessons? Justify your choice.’ Our Top Five Heroes list is based on the answers handed ingive by 35 people.

  1. Janko Muzykant (or Johnny Rock Star) - for proving that without music life has no sense.
  2. Jacek Soplica (or Father Worm) - for promoting the Polish national drink (40% vol.)
  3. Nasza Szkapa (or the Polish Black Beauty) - for bravely exposing the dangers of excessive dieting.
  4. Dr Judym (or Dr. U-Dim) - for his insight into the future of the Polish Health System in the ‘Age of Reform’.
  5. Anielka (or Angela) - for showing that parents are stupid, and ignorance rules the world.

Literary Quiz

Teachers often harp ontalk about sth. continuously about students who don’t read. If students have to study a set text, they try to get outavoid doing sth. of doing it by choosing a film adaptation instead. The quiz below tests your knowledge of some literary sources that have been used by film or television. If you recognize correctly the titles of the books, pass your answers on send (e.g. information) from person to personto Daria from class III c. The winner’s name will be announced in our next newsletter.

  1. When George Orwell published the novel in 1949, little did he know that his nightmare vision of a totalitarian system could be turned intobecome sth. else by changing a popular reality show. With cameras placed in every room, with every swear word of contemporary Newspeak faithfully recorded, Big Brother may take a day offhave a holiday. Spying on others as well as having every inch of your privacy exposed have become national pastimes.
  2. Izabela Scorupco’s make-upcosmetics applied to a face to make it look better would be perhaps more suitable for an Oriflame advertisement but Micha³ ¯ebrowski looked great. Although Hoffman’s movie didn’t make itbe successful in a particular activity to the Oscar nominations, thousands of youngsters don’t have to read Sienkiewicz now. It’s enough to borrow a cassette to see how history was made with the fire and the sword.
  3. When your parents tell you you’re too young to even think about sex, show them this classic by Vladimir Nabokov. Dr Humbert Humbert should perhaps be penned upbe shut in an enclosed area, be restricted in a psychiatric ward of geriatric perverts but his beloved  that he ran afterchase across America could teach you a thing or two. And it’s always a pleasure to watch Jeremy Irons.
  4. Walt Disney’s cartoon characters are a far cry from Ernest H. Shepard’s illustrations, but A. A. Milne’s book has been an all-time favourite of many a generation. And isn’t it somewhat consoling to think that the most loved Bear in history had very little brain? So, cheer up!feel happier Aspiring to the highest levels of intellectual brilliance may not, after all, be a priority in life. Piglet and Eeyore would probably agree. 
  5. Kornel Makuszyñski’s story for children has been filmed twice. Perhaps a better-known version is the one in which the leading roles are played by famous twins - the Brothers ‘K’. When they set outstart a journey or make plans to do sth. to steal the Moon they may not have suspected that it meant embarking on start sth. long and difficult a political career. Today both brothers are leading exponents of the policy of ‘Law and Justice’

Classified Advertisements

Lost:

Our biology teacher’s mind. Last Friday she gave outgive sth. to a number of people the test results. Twenty one people got a ‘1’, ten a ‘2’, and three ‘2=’ She must have lost her mind. If you come acrossfind by chance it’, bring ‘it’ alongtake sth. to a place you’re going to to class III c for some re-programming. Characteristic features: size XS, visible shrinkage in the area responsible for natural human reactions, marked decay in lateral thinking.

Found:

  1. A crib with 130 English irregular verbs. Size: 3 sq. cm. Other characteristics: 39 mistakes in spelling.
  2. A love letter addressed to Mr R. S. our PE teacher and signed ‘Pysia’.

For sale:

  1. Doctor’s certificate stating dyslexia. Price: 500 euro o.n.o
  2. Assortment of last year’s ‘Studniówka’ photographs. (Our teachers in various states of merriment) - individually priced.

Wanted:

  1. Matura topics for the year 2004. 500 z³ offered for each verified topic.
  2. Video cassette documenting the school trip to Warsaw in October 2002. (Of special value is the coverage of our visits to lay-bysa space next to a road where vehicles can stop). Price to be negotiated.

Language Corner

One of the aims of our pages is to give you an opportunity to try outtest your English. In our first issue we suggest an exercise based on direct translation. Read the phrases written below in column A (all are direct word-by-word translations of Polish idiomatic expressions) and think of their proper English equivalents (column B). Match the columns. The key is provided but use it only to check upexamine to see if sth. is correct if you are right.

Column A:

Column B:

1. it’s a  pity of the west

2. a grey member

3. a blue bird

4. to let the peacock outset free

5. peas and cabbage

6. to brew beer

a). to throw upvomit

b). a complete mess

c). rank-and-file

d). it’s not worth the trouble

e). an adventurer

f). to cause trouble

Key: 1d; 2c; 3e; 4a; 5b; 6f

The ‘Still Living’ Poets’ Corner (unlike the one in Westminster Abbey)

Whoever claims that young people have been put offdiscourage from doing sth. reading poetry is a fool. They sometimes even write poems themselves. The authors of the texts presented here would like to remain incognito. But if you’d like an interview or an autograph, we can fix it uparrange. Talk to Sylwia from IIIc.

Pearls of wisdom
imparted to me in 45-minute intervals
I’ll cherish you for a day
to thread you meticulously later
onto a piece of filthy string
carefully piercing each one
so that it cries with pain
and with a final spit for a good-bye
I’ll flush you down the toilet.

 

 

Whatever you say - you’re a fool
Whatever you do - you break a rule
Yet do not panic and keep cool
One more year and no more school!

In bed alone night after night
Fighting the ghost of daily fright.
Answers impossible to know
My school! Why do I hate you so?

 

 

When dates escape my memory
I hate my course in history

If passive voice I can’t get through
Then I detest my English too

Chromosomes X and Y in orgy
I cannot stand biology

Why wasn’t there more of a schism?
I hate to learn the catechism

Essays in Polish? What a laugh!
I wish the teachers weren’t daft

Spheres’ and cubes’ geometry
Makes my heart long to be set free

The clock starts ringing, wish me well,
I’m going to my prison cell!

The final cry of the last stanza made me pause for a second. Is it fake? Do they want to take me incheat sb.?  Is someone deliberately putting onpretend the pose of a tormented soul? And what if there’s a truly unhappy person in my class? How can I know? I couldn’t make it outunderstand. Underneath the final poem I saw the last fragment, as if hastily jotted downwrite hastily:

·         Editorial Board: Daria, Justyna, Sylwia, Przemek, Karol and Darek from IIIc

·         Layout: Przemek

·         Proof-reading: Sylwia

·         Censorship:

Next to ‘censorship’ a big question mark was written in pencil. A defiant, provocative sign, as if they were daring me. I took my red pen and crossed it outdraw a line through a written word/sentence to remove it. No further changes were necessary. No matter what the Head says I’ll stick bybe loyal to sb. my class.


Follow-up Activities

  1. You can try the quiz based on some of the idioms.
  2. For the full list of idioms used in the diary, click here.

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