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Jul 28, 2016

I look through my emails each day to see if anyone who listens to my podcasts has written to me. I was doing that last week when I came across an email that took me by surprise(1). It was an invitation to be a guest speaker on an educational podcast called Scalar Learning. I immediately looked up the website, and found a very professional, mathematics focused site that offers both tutoring and regular podcasts. Well, how could I say "no"? I was intrigued and flattered(2). I sent an email back to say that I would love to be interviewed. We went back and forth(3) until we agreed upon a day and time. I told all of my children, "Now, this is very important, so I need you all to be quiet for half an hour.  Is that possible?" They nodded. "I'll be up in the bedroom, so it will be nice and quiet. You can play or watch television, but please, I don't want banging or crashing or dogs barking, ok?" I think they got the message(4).

The time for the interview came, and I was quite nervous. Huzefa, the gentleman who created and runs Scalar Learning, is a young man who used to be a lawyer, but who has a passion for education. He was very personable, so I immediately felt relaxed. We talked for about thirty minutes, and he asked me all kinds of pertinent questions about: my background, my podcasts, culture, and how to be an effective teacher. Huzefa is on a mission to enable students to be successful with mathematics, and to have the right approach to exams. His insights about teaching obviously come from experience and study. The time flew. The next day, he released the podcast, so I listened to it. I'm happy to say that it is very informative and clear, and if you click here  you can hear it too

1. 'It took me by surprise,' is the same as saying 'it surprised me'. This expression is simply longer and more descriptive because of the verb 'to take'.

a. His decision to go and live in Australia took us all by surprise.

b. We were completely taken by surprise when she walked out of the wedding.

2. 'Intrigued' means very interested and curious. 'Flattered' means that I felt complimented.

a. I was intrigued by his political ideas; I had never heard anything like them.

b. The young lady felt flattered by all the attention she was getting.

3. 'Back and forth' really means 'one way and then the other way' or 'from side to side', but we use this phrase a lot when talking about discussions and verbal agreements.

a. The politicians went back and forth until they finally agreed.

b. We talked all night, and went back and forth, but we still don't understand each other.

4. 'I think they got the message' is a casual and slightly joking way of saying that 'they understood'.

a. My mother put up two posters saying 'please remove your shoes'. She put one on the front door and another in the entryway. We got the message!

b. If you travel on the underground, or 'Tube', in London, you will hear "Mind the gap" all the time. You will eventually get the message.

italki for practice with native English teachers!