I DIG ENGLISH - just a cool blog about English

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Monday, September 3, 2012

English in Pics: Back to School

Hi guys!

It's that time of the year again when cities get packed with university students, schedules get tighter and days get shorter. It's BACK TO SCHOOL time!!!

The inspiration for this post comes from all the supermarket brochures that have been recently delivered to my home. If you don't find yourself browsing through them and thinking how you could use a new pen or an agenda, well you must be from a different planet :P I have such thoughts every time a new school year arrives.

schedules get tighter – grafiki stają się bardziej napięte (you have more things planned for the day)
to browse through (brochures) – przeglądać (to to look through a book or magazine without reading everything)
I could use – przydałby mi się (It might be good to have ...)
an agenda – terminarz (a planner)

Of course not everyone is going  back to school this autumn and thank god for that ;) After completing a postgraduate course, I made a promise to myself that I would think twice before I enrol into a new course. It's draining to juggle work in the week and school on weekends. It's exhausting to explain to everyone why you can't attend a party Friday night and it's plain depressing when instead of having a marathon of your favourite TV series you need to do your homework (and you're over 24 in age) :D. But hey, I learnt a lot and I by no means regret the decision to go back to school. What I'm trying to say is: think really hard about the postgraduate course you want to do and make sure that completing it will help you pursue a career in the field of your choice. Studying and working is hard. Especially if you have classes weekly like I did.

a postgraduate course – studia podyplomowe (studies for people who already have a university degree)
to enrol into a (course) – zapisać się (to have your name listed as a participant)
draining – wyczerpujące (extremely tiring)
to juggle work and school– pogodzić pracę i naukę (to succeed in arranging your life so that you have time to involve yourself in two or more different activities)
plain (depressing) – completely (depressing)
24 in age – 24 years old
by no means – w żadnym wypadku (not at all)
to pursue a career in – dążyć do pracy w danej dziedzinie (to try to work in) 


When in school, I never wanted to be a class president. It just seemed to me to involve too much responsibility, public speaking and being serious. If I had been a class president, I would probably have not taken it seriously and tried to crack a joke every time I needed to work something out with my classmates :)

It's important to remember that in the English-speaking world, a class president (US) or a class captain (UK) represents all students from a single grade (US) or a single year (UK) (e.g. 400 students as opposed to 25)

to crack a joke – to tell a joke
to work something out – rozwiązać jakiś problem (to solve a problem)
a grade (US)/ a year (UK) – klasa, jeden cały rocznik (a stage of someone's education)
 as opposed to – w przeciwieńswie do (in contrast to)



In primary school I was of the opinion that cool kids got lunch money and uncool ones got a packed lunch instead. You know me and my sense of humour well enough now to know which group I was in. For me a packed lunch consisted of a sandwich, an apple and a juice box. Back then, I felt that I was missing out on something. Now I think that I was just following a healthy lifestyle :)

The English face of healthy meals in school canteens (cafeterias) is definitely the famous chef Jamie Oliver, who campaigns against schools serving junk food and for schools offering nutritious, cost-effective and delicious options. In America it's the first lady, Michelle Obama, who is a strong advocate of eating healthy.

to miss out on something – coś nas omija (to lose an opportunity to experience something)
nutritious – pożywny (containing many of the substances needed for life and growth)
cost-effective– opłacalne (good value for money)
an advocate – orędowniczka (a supporter)



A picture day is when students have their photos taken. In some schools, it happens once a year, in the autumn (fall), whereas in other schools there is another picture opportunity in the spring. Autumn pictures are more formal head-and-shoulders portraits and they go into the yearbook and spring pictures are more on the casual side with students posing against colourful backgrounds. I was particularly interested in what the American yearbook was. It seems that in some schools it is an annual photo album of a single grade/year or the whole school, but the name can also refer to the album of the graduating class/year like our Polish 'tablo'. Yearbooks may have a student life section with special superlatives such as Most Talkative, Class Clown, Biggest Klutz, Class Mooch, Best Laugh, Most likely to Google their own name and blank pages for students to sign one another's yearbooks.

more on the casual side – bardziej luźne, nieformalne (more casual, informal)
graduating – kończących naukę (finishing school)
a superlative – tytuł (the most...., the biggest …)
Class Clown – klasowy błazen :)
a klutz – oferma, niezdara (a clumsy person)
a mooch – sęp (a freeloader)
Best Laugh – the funniest person
blank – puste (empty)


School detention is a form of punishment where students are required to spend a given amount of time at a specific place. From American TV series you might remember that all students with detention might be asked to come to one classroom after the last school period and either sit silently or do their homework. Harry Potter lovers will know that students with detention might have to do some work inside or outside school grounds. Harry, for example, is asked to look for a wounded unicorn in the Forbidden Forest, help professor Gilderoy Lockhart respond to his fan mail and do lines for professor Umbridge.

detention – zatrzymanie po lekcjach
be required to – być zobowiązanym do (to be under the obligation to)
a school period – godzina lekcyjna (a division of time in the day when a subject is taught)
school grounds – teren szkoły
wounded – zraniony (injured, hurt)
do lines – przepisywać za karę (when you write something many times as punishment)


Letterman jackets (or varsity jackets) are worn by American high school or college sportsmen. A letterman is a student who plays for a varsity, which is a team of the most skilled level. Letterman jackets are worn to represent school and team pride and to showcase the sportsman’s achievements. For a given number of steals or tackles or a given amount of time in the game, an athlete is awarded a varsity letter – a special distinction but also a letter patch (usually the school's initials), which is placed on the left breast of the jacket. Varsity jackets are also the symbol of 'jocks' – muscular guys who could never take part in the Spelling Bee or a Maths contest.

to showcase – demonstrować, przedstawiać (to present, to show off)
a steal – zdobycie bazy, przechwyt (in baseball – stolen base; in
basketball – an act of gaining possession of the ball from an opponent)
a tackle – blok ( taking hold of the player on the opposing team and causing them to fall in order to take the ball)
a distinction – wyróżnienie (a mark given to students who produce work of an excellent standard)
a patch – łatka (a piece of fabric)
the Spelling Bee – konkurs ortograficzny/ literowania (a competition in which the winner is the person or group who is able to form correctly the highest number of the words they are asked to form)


What's a better place to look at school uniforms than England? Let's have a bit of fun with it and look at a fictitious school. Smeltings Academy is a Muggle public school attended by Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter books.

fictitious – fikcyjna (made up)
a public school – szkoła prywatna (an expensive type of private school)

That evening, Dudley paraded around the living room for the family in his brand-new uniform. Smeltings boys wore maroon tailcoats, orange knickerbockers and flat straw hats called boaters.

a tailcoat – (frak) an old-fashioned type of man's coat, waist-length at the front and with the lower half of the back divided into two pieces, now only worn on very formal occasions
knickerbockers – (pludry) short loose trousers that fit tightly below the knee worn especially in the past or for ceremonies
a boater(kanotier) a stiff hat made of straw with a flat top.
maroon – kasztanowy (ciemny kolor wiśniowy zmieszany z brązowym) (a dark red colour)

At Harrow, a London boarding school for boys, students wear to classes:
  • a white shirt
  • a black silk tie
  • light grey trousers
  • black shoes
  • an optional blue jumper
  • a dark blue woollen uniform jacket (a 'bluer')
  • on cold days: the school blue and white scarf and a dark blue woolen overcoat
  • the Harrow Hat.

In the Priory Academy LSST, a comprehensive school in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, students wear :
  • a a sky blue shirt with the Academy tie
  • a navy blazer with the Academy badge
  • an optional navy blue v-necked jumper 
  • grey trousers (an optional grey skirt for girls with grey cotton or charcoal opaque tights)  
    black shoes.
a boarding school – szkoła z internatem (a school where students live and study)
a comprehensive school – szkoła rejonowa, która przyjmuje uczniów bez względu na wyniki w nauce (a school for children of all abilities)
a school badge – tarcza szkolna
a v-necked jumper – sweter z dekoltem w szpic
charcoal – grafitowy (the dark gray color of burnt wood)
opaque – nieprzeźroczyste, kryjące (not transparent)

Hope you enjoyed :) It wasn't much, I guess, but I hope I got you into the back to school spirit :)

Today's Facebook random word of the day is: SCHOOL SUPPLIES – przybory szkolne (things you need for school such as notebooks, pens, pencils, post-it notes, highlighters, etc.) (1) I want animal print and Hello Kitty school supplies this year!!! (2) After a quick breakfast, Harry and Hagrid head off to Diagon Alley in London to buy Harry's school supplies. (3) Many Vermont families have tight /limited/ budgets with no room for school supplies, but there's a program that can help.

For more random words of the day visit:

To learn about my work visit:

See you in my next post!


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