ステップアップ-STEP UP・アメリカ人講師 Jonathan ジョナサン
Greetings, everyone! I`m Jonathan (or Jon) from Washington, D.C. in America. Before I moved to Japan, I was a high school teacher. I taught courses in Literature and Composition and really enjoyed it. Now I enjoy teaching various aspects of English, including TOEIC and TOEFL. In my spare time I enjoy mountain sports like snowboarding, rock climbing and mountain biking. I also like cooking, reading and practicing my Japanese when I have time. I look forward to another great year in Sapporo!
Using your words well
Words are tools. If we use them effectively, we can accomplish great things. Even the simplest of expressions – “Thank you,” for example – can have a tremendous impact on people. This may seem obvious, but I think it’s good to be reminded of it from time to time. Words are tools – and the way we use them affects the future we build for ourselves. Think about a first date, or meeting, or job interview that didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Did you find yourself wondering if you’d said the wrong thing? Regardless of how sharp we look or how much we smile and nod, the words that come out of our mouths are ultimately the most influential elements of such encounters.
The same is true with writing. Think about those books or movies that had really good ideas, but bad dialog. Disappointing, right? Or a song that has great music, but terrible lyrics. Not worth a second listen. I think we all tend to forget how powerful language is. Even in the most casual of situations, saying the wrong thing – or not exactly the right thing – can cause unforeseen problems. So when using your native language or one you’re studying, remember to make sure the words you’re using are those that effectively express your thoughts. Easier said than done, I know. Here’s a mantra you can remember that should be helpful.
Short sentences, strong verbs.
But not just verbs – every word in a sentence is important. The better we use our words, the more effectively we’ll be able to communicate with one another. Trite, but true.
The dog days
We’re entering the “dog days” of summer. These are the hot, sultry days of summer’s peak temperatures – usually the hottest and most uncomfortable period of the year. But why “dog days”?
The ancient Greek and Romans noticed that during these hot months, the rising star Sirius (the Dog Star) could be seen in the night sky next to the constellation Orion. It is the brightest star in the sky during this time, so these people associated the Dog Star with the terrible heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy and even bad luck. This tradition of referring to hot summer days as The Dog Days of Summer has continued for centuries, and permeates contemporary culture now.
So remember to drink a lot of water during these oppressively hot days, and not to get angry at any dogs you may see as well ; )
Drawing a blank
There are plenty of times in life when we have something important to say, or to remember, or to do. And then, for some reason, when it comes time to say or remember or do those things, we suddenly can’t remember what they were. This is called drawing a blank. Imagine a jar full of little pieces of paper. On most of those pieces something interesting or inspiring is written. But when you reach into said jar to pull a piece of paper, yours has nothing written on it. You’ve literally drawn a blank.
We often draw a blank during important moments in our lives. It’s one of the things that make us human. Our brains simply fail to produce the necessary action we want. Whether on a test, during an interview, or just in regular conversation, even the smartest among us draws a blank from time to time. Don’t worry too much about it. None of us is perfect.
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