Dispatch from Poland – Good times, bad times

Published on 8th June, 2010 in Author Blog by Lindsay Clandfield

football‘The Poles are wonderful when united in adversity.’ remarked my Polish colleague Grzegorz Spiewak from Macmillan Polska, ‘But the minute everything goes well we start quarrelling and bickering terribly.’

I wouldn’t be surprised if Polish people were quite wonderfully united recently, with all the adversity they have been facing over the past couple of months. After all, on one Saturday afternoon in April they lost pretty much half of the government including their president in a tragic air crash. And the last two weeks before my visit had seen some terrible flooding throughout the country.

But there is also a great sense of hope and expectation here, and that’s all because the arrival of a great sporting event that, it is hoped, will unite the country as never before… no, I’m not talking about Poland’s prospects for this summer’s World Cup (I actually don’t think they qualified this time). I’m talking about the next European UEFA Championship football tournament in 2012, which will be jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

It was hard not to notice this fact when travelling around the country. Everywhere there seemed to be some kind of poster or construction or project going up relating to it. In the main square in Poznan there was already a giant countdown clock with days, hours and seconds until kickoff. A huge stadium was in the process of being built in Warsaw, I saw the work from the train as we rolled past. Someone told me that the lights are on all night as workers move in and out around the clock. It was also wryly pointed out that all of Poland’s development programmes lead up to 2012 and don’t have much after that. I suppose similar charges could be laid against London too now with the 2012 Olympics (gosh what a summer this is going to be!).

So, what does this have to do with teaching English? During a brief conversation with some teachers here three things emerged: first, Polish teachers now have no shortage of good demo sentences to teach the future perfect (By 2012 we will have…). There’s also bound to be several controversial decisions made about building projects, and the constant worry will we be ready for the big event? which makes for good conversation even in classes that don’t like football (in fact, especially in anti-football classes). Finally, if you have some football lessons that you are preparing for this summer’s World Cup then they certainly won’t go to waste.

For those actually looking for football resources, I came across the following neat page of links. http://www.teacherplanet.com/resource/worldcup.php To know more about Euro 2012 in Poland see here http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro2012/index.html, or better yet the country page here http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro2012/hostcountries/index.html.

Photo credit: Olaf Nordwich. Creative Commons Licence


  • Polish Football team was deafeted by Spanish last week in a friendly match 0:6 – Polish coach told his players after the match “Folks, No shouting at you – just hugging” – so with this attitiude… 🙂
    I live in a town in Poland where Chinese are building a Gate to Europe – the biggest Logistic Centre for entire continent So this gives me broader picture – the chance for Poland to be a middle man between East and West – and maybe for the first time Poland will benefit from it. When I opened your book „Global” the first time – I was jumping with joy – that is exacly what I was looking for – It really makes difference – I would be glad to discuss it in more details with you – because of flood I couldn’t see you in Poland – I really miss that opportunity.
    Adherent admire of your work
    Daniel from Poland

    that Poland for the first

    Daniel on 15 June, 2010
  • Sorry I missed you Daniel! Wow, that sounds very interesting – the gate to Europe. Thanks for the nice words about Global: I will be at IATEFL Poland this September so maybe see you then?

    Lindsay Clandfield on 15 June, 2010