Speaking (Writing / Work / Motorbikes)


Idioms & Expressions:

 work/life balance (or school/life balance) (nouns that refer to the parts of your life taken up by work and life)

My job keeps me too busy to maintain a work/life balance.


burn the midnight oil (verb phrase; to stay up late working on something)

I have an exam tomorrow morning so I’m going to be burning the midnight oil tonight.


up to your eyeballs in _____ (an expression that means someone is dealing with a lot of something; generally a negative connotation)

I am up to my eyeballs in homework tonight.


a way with words (an expression that refers to a person who is very skilled at writing)

I like reading his articles. He really has a way with words.


chicken scratch (noun; this is very bad handwriting)

I can’t read his notes. His chicken scratch is illegible.


grease monkey (noun; this is a person who is very good at fixing and repairing vehicles)

My uncle is a grease monkey who opened his own mechanic shop.


hit and run (noun; this is when someone gets into a traffic accident and then drives away to avoid getting in trouble)

I got hit by a car but the driver didn’t stop to see if I was OK. It was a hit and run.


speed demon (noun; this is someone who drives much faster than is safe)

He is a speed demon. I don’t like driving with him!

Part I: Class Discussion


  1. Do you work or study?

Right now, I work as a teacher. I also work part-time making videos for a Vietnamese company. I’m pretty busy, but that’s how I like it.

  1. Why did you choose this job?

Teaching is fun and active and I think it’s a good skill to have. I like helping people learn and improve as well.

  1. Do you like to write?

Yes, it’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s how I relax and express myself.

  1. What sorts of things do you write?

I like to keep a journal. Sometimes it helps me organize my thoughts, and when I’m an old man I’ll go back and read what I wrote at this point in my life.

  1. Do you prefer to write by hand or to type?

I have bad handwriting, so I just type on a computer. I would write letters more often but people can’t read what I write.

  1. Did you write a lot as a child?

Yes, I wrote a lot because there was a library on my street, so I read a lot. Reading a lot inspired me to write.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe a bicycle, motorbike or car trip that you are planning for the future. Please say:

Where and when do you want to go?
With whom would you go there?
And explain why do you want to do it?

I think a lot of foreigners would like to do this (or have done it) but I’d like to drive my motorbike from Hanoi down to Saigon. I’ve heard it’s an awesome experience that takes you all the way through the most impressive vistas Vietnam has to offer. It takes about two weeks or so, and you might encounter rain or some other difficulties while you’re driving (such as flat tires) but I think before I leave Vietnam, I’ll do that trip. I’ll probably go alone, because I like to have quiet time to think. If I go with a friend, that’s still cool as well, because we can hang out with each other when we stop at night.

Part III: Class Discussion


  1. Do you think that a motorbike can be helpful to each and every person? Why?

Well, I think in a country with an urban infrastructure like Vietnam’s, motorbikes make the most sense for people to use. They’re small and cheap and easy to use. They’re not safe though!

  1. Do people like to complain about the narrow roads in your country?

Yes, especially foreigners, because they are not used to having to deal with the narrow roads in Vietnam.

  1. How can village people travel?

They need to get a motorbike or take a bus. I think those are the most feasible ways for people to get around.

  1. Do you think nowadays people are more attracted to cars than to other types of vehicles? Why?

I think if people have money, then they want to have a car. It’s easier to use for long distances and it’s safer. It’s also a status symbol.

  1. Can transportation affect the environment?

Of course. Private transportation causes a lot of pollution. The only solution to this is to use more public transportation.