Speaking (Cities / Education)


Idioms & Expressions:

hustle and bustle (noun; describes the energy and movement in a city)

I’m glad I moved to the countryside – I don’t really miss the hustle and bustle of the city.


county girl / city girl (nouns; used to describe someone from the country or the city. For example, if you are from the countryside or rural area, you are a “country girl.” We say “country boy” and “city boy” as well).

I was born and raised in Boston. I’m a city boy.


pass with flying colors (verb; to get a very high mark or score on a test)

He passed the physics test with flying colors.


draw a blank (verb; to be unable to remember a piece of information)

I drew a blank during the history test.


dropout (noun; someone who left school before graduation)

Mark Zuckerberg is a college dropout who founded Facebook.


teacher’s pet (noun; an overly-enthusiastic student who annoys the others in the class)

She’s the teacher’s pet and frequently annoys the other students.


class clown (noun; that refers to a students who is always trying to make everyone in the class laugh)

The class clown might be a little noisy, but we all think he’s funny.


you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (an expression that means it’s very hard to change other people’s habits)

They don’t understand how to write code for this program. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.


tricks of the trade (noun; refers to the knowledge required to do a certain job)

My uncle is an experienced teacher and he taught me the tricks of the trade.


if you don’t use it, you lose it (this expression refers to not using a muscle or skill for a long time, and then losing competency with it)

Part I: Class Discussion


  1. What kind of place is your town/city?

I come from a small American town by the beach called Hampton, New Hampshire. It’s a small town of about 10,000 people.

  1. What is the most interesting part of your city/town?

Hampton is a tourist town that has a popular music venue called the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. A lot of musical acts and comedians come through there and perform.

  1. Has your town/city changed in any way in your life time? [How]

Not really. The beach area has been gentrified a bit, but that’s it.

  1. Would you say your town/city is a good place for young people to live? [Why/ Why not]

It’s quiet and peaceful, but it’s also pretty boring. So I wouldn’t recommend that young people looking for an exciting time live there.

  1. What kind of things do you prefer shopping for?

I like to get new clothes made for my by a tailor. This is exciting for me because I’m really tall, and can’t find things that fit me anywhere.

  1. In what kind of places do you like to go shopping?

I only really go to electronics shops, whenever I want to buy new headphones or I need a new smartphone.

  1. What effect has online shopping had in your country?

It’s slowly destroying the retail industry, as more and more people choose to shop online.

  1. What would you recommend tourists to buy from your country? [why?]

Nothing. They should save their money. Souvenirs are too expensive!

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe a popular teacher that you know. You should say:

What this teacher looks like

What sort of person this teacher is

What this teacher helped you to learn

And explain why this teacher is popular

My sophomore year of high school, I had an English teacher named Mr. Ford. He was an older guy who was pretty funny and always had a twinkle in his eye. We liked him because his lectures were pretty much like standup comedy sets. During his lessons, he’d always have us write in our journals for about 12 minutes on a certain topic, and then he’d pick one of us to share what we wrote with the class. He made writing a fun activity for us. I admire him because he seemed like an eternally optimistic person and a good role model. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2010. His funeral was overflowing with former students. I attended, and found it to be pretty emotional. To this day, he’s truly missed in our community.

Part III: Group Discussion

  1. What can schools do to help children prepare for the next stage of their lives?

Well, the function of a school is to give people the necessary skills to be a productive member of society and work a job that contributes in some way to the community.

  1. What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t like school?

If you don’t have any remarkable talents, then you need to stay in school! Otherwise, you won’t be able to make any money.

  1. What can schools teach children that they can’t learn from their parents?

Almost everything. Schools teach students about history, math, science, and a great number or other subjects that parents are not necessarily experts in.

  1. In general, what opportunities are available to students after they leave school?

Anything they want to do is an option. If you have a BA, then you can get almost any job.

  1. How do you think school life differs from university life?

University life is probably easier because there is less homework and fewer classes.

  1. How important do you think it is for individuals to carry on learning after they have finished school and university?

It’s essential. You should always try to learn and experiment with new things. It’s good for your brain.