Language under the influence | TEFL Jobs London

Language under the influence

by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Language under the influence

By Jose L. Marin (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Every Thursday evening at Internexus (where I work) we have Pub Night. This is when two members of staff choose a pub, tell the students a time and from there everyone gets a chance to socialise, relax and utilise language in a much less formalised setting. Last night I did pub night and today, I can tell you, I am very tired but it was, and most often is, worth it.

Last night’s venue was Camden’s Blues Kitchen. Hosting live music and within walking distance of the school gave it many plus points. This was an especially good pub night because we had just received a new intake of students and they had decided to come along and mix with the pub night regulars. I think it’s a good way of easing any nervous students into the school and allowing them to meet other students who they may not have classes with. You can always rely on the regulars to keep up conversation, that’s for sure.

A change in dynamics

It’s always interesting for me to see the change in dynamics after everyone’s had a tipple or two. Many students have told me that it helps ease their anxieties and they feel a little more confident in their language skills at which point I have to say that although it may increase confidence my own language skills start to go down the drain with the addition of alcohol.

On my first pub night a while back I was anxious at the fact that myself and two other teachers were sort of keeping to ourselves at one point and not, what you might call, working the room but I was told and have since understood that after the initial conversations, students often become more talkative and relaxed when left at a table to themselves, i.e. my need to be a hostess with the mostest can be somewhat subdued.

Becoming more normal

Of course, there are always students who want to talk about their grammar or their IELTS or their pronunciation but most often I find that it’s a chance for everyone to become more… normal. We become the mere human beings that we are and we learn about each other in a way that’s not so rigid. It’s a chance for students to socialise in an intrinsically British setting (but in no way shape or form are they obliged to follow in our footsteps with regard to the sauce). Some drink, some don’t, some stay for the duration, some don’t but what matters is that it’s a time to shake off the schooling.

I might be tired but the only bad feeling I’m carrying around today is the fact that I lost so many rounds of rock paper scissors last night.

My favourite quote from last night:

Me: Have you eaten?

Student: If I want to eat, then I will eat……… First conditional.

(We had studied the first and second conditional the week before)


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