Speaking (Jobs, School, Weddings & Festivals)


Idioms & Expressions:


rat race (a noun that refers to the competitive workplace environment)

For my sanity, I had to leave the rat race and quit my job.


corporate grind (a term used to describe the effect that working very hard has on a person)

The corporate grind was starting to take a toll on his health.


9-5 (noun, refers to a traditional job where one is expected to work from 9 in the morning until 5 in the evening)

I hated my 9-5, so I quit and moved to a new city.


home is where the heart is (an expression that means that the things you care about tend to be at home/in your hometown)


bridesmaid/groomsmen (the friends of the bride and groom)

How many groomsmen are in the wedding party?


tie the knot, get hitched (both verbs that mean to get married)

My best friend is tying the knot next weekend.


a match made in heaven (a phrase that describes a couple who are perfect for each other)

I got hitched last year to my best friend. We’re a match made in heaven.


shotgun wedding (noun, a wedding in which the bride and groom hurry to get married to obscure the fact that the bride is pregnant)

Don’t tell anyone, but I hear it was a shotgun wedding.


toast (both a noun and a verb – a verbal salute to someone, specifically used at a wedding)

I’d like to propose a toast to the happy couple.


Part I: Group Discussion


  1. What is your name? What should I call you?

My full name is Benjamin, but you can call me Ben. That’s the most common nickname for Benjamin.


  1. What is the meaning of your name? Does your name affect your personality?

“Benjamin” is a Hebrew name that means “Son of God’s Right Hand.” Most people don’t know that, though – even if they’re named Ben. I don’t think names really affect personality.


  1. Are you a student or are you working now?

Right now, I work as a teacher. I also make YouTube videos and write books. I’m glad to not be in school anymore – I really thought it was a waste of time.


  1. What do you like about your job/study?

I like doing several different things for work because it keeps me busy. I used to work a 9-5 job, but I hated it and drove me crazy. Now I have less stability, but I enjoy it more.


  1. What don’t you like about your job/study?

There’s not much I don’t like. I’m fortunate enough to be able to do a little work doing what I enjoy, which makes me happy most days.


  1. If you could change something about your job/study/life, what would you change?

I would to be able to write and make videos full time, but those jobs don’t pay too much. Hopefully that will change in the future.


  1. Tell me something about your hometown.

I’m from a beach town called Hampton, in the state of New Hampshire, in the USA. It was a small town of 20,000 people, but I was only an hour’s drive away from Boston, the closest major city. My town is well-known for its beach. Hampton Beach draws thousands of tourists every summer, and there’s a venue called the Casino Ballroom where famous musical acts will perform concerts. I personally don’t like the beach much, though – it’s too crowded.


Part II: Individual Presentations


Describe a wedding that you attended recently. Please say:

  Whose wedding it was
Who attended the wedding
What you did to make it special

I haven’t been to a wedding for about four years. I think the last wedding I was at was a friend of my ex-girlfriend’s. I didn’t really know many people there, but I could hang out with the few people I knew. It was cool because there was a little dancing after the ceremony, and then we all went to get fast food at a late night spot afterward. But since then, I haven’t been a wedding guest. My best friend just got engaged, however, so I’m looking forward to going to his wedding next year.


Part III: Class Discussion

  1. Tell me about a traditional wedding ceremony in Vietnam.

I have not yet been to a Vietnamese wedding, but I hope to be invited at some point so I can answer this question.

  1. How do Vietnamese usually celebrate birthdays?

This is another good question for the class to answer!

  1. Are there any traditions concerning the birth of a baby?

In the West, we have baby showers before the birth of the baby. This is when you “shower” the mother-to-be with gifts for the newborn baby. After the birth of the baby, the mother usually takes some time off work, and family and friends drop by the home to see the new baby.


  1. Which is the most important birthday of the Vietnamese?

Another good question for the class. I think that the 18th birthday is probably important, because that is when you can start driving a motorbike, correct?