English Blog

Tara’s ESL Blog: Job Interviews in English – Be Prepared!

When you prepare for an interview (with me, or on your own) you should start out with the following steps, in order to focus on what you should say, and get rid of the extra details that aren’t important or beneficial to you being hired.

  1. General “You” Review: You need to know what you want and whether you have what it takes to get it!
  • What position am I trying to get?
  • Do I fit the qualifications for the position?
  • Does my resume/C.V. highlight my qualifications, and match the position I am applying for?


Tara’s ESL BLOG: Job Interviews in English – An Introduction

Picture6Job Interviews: Oh, how we hate them!

But they are a necessary evil as we say. Luckily, I know how to make it as easy and pain-free as possible – even if English is your second language!  The number one thing to remember is that in a job interview you are technically “marketing” yourself to the employer. So make sure to present yourself – and your English skills – in the most effective way by preparing for the interview with an experienced coach. When preparing for a job interview with me, we go through each step of the process, giving you the tools you need to truly market yourself during the interview instead of just reciting memorized information about yourself. The key is to look good, sound good, and most importantly feel good about what you are saying to the interviewer. So how do we do it?

Prepare, practice, present!


Tara’s Travel Tales: “Sushi On A Plane” – an ESL story


“Sushi On A Plane”

Lesson Level: Advanced

I should start off by saying that my love for sushi, and Japanese food in general, is almost as great as my love for travel. One day last year, while I was backpacking in South East Asia with my mother and best friend, I got the opportunity to enjoy BOTH at the same time. Having not had breakfast at the hostel in Bangkok, Thailand we rushed to the airport with more than enough time to check in for our flight to Myanmar, and also check out the facilities for some grub.

To our great delight, we found a sushi restaurant that we had already fallen in love with a few weeks prior – and it was open at 8 am! My best friend Kellie and I looked at each other and without words we just knew: Sushi. On. A. Plane. Best idea ever! We sat down quickly, and ordered our favorite items with gusto – our mouths watering as we waited for our beautifully-wrapped to-go bags. There would be no airplane food for us lady bosses! No sir! We would have Sushi at 30,000 feet!


Tara’s ESL Blog: Best Fictional Novels for ESL Students

Here is a list of my favorite short novels in English! You can read these on your own, or with me! 

All of these books are considered “easy-reading” with short chapters and useful vocabulary. To learn more about each book, just click the links below where you will be taken to the Spark Notes Plot Overview – try to read the first paragraph. Then to check your understanding, do the multiple choice questions at the bottom! Have fun, choose a story and read on!

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (*approx. 176 pages)

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (*approx. 163 pages)

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (*approx. 384 pages)

4. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (*approx. 359 pages)

5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (*approx. 128 pages)


Tara’s ESL Blog: How to make English a Priority in your Free Time

How’s it going everybody! So, today I want to talk to you about your free time and learning English. Many students ask if it is necessary to study English outside of class. I respond with a question, “If you want to do something really well, must you put in the time and effort to become good at it?” The answer is always the same – YES. Even if you are a natural (born with the abilities) you still have to practice, a lot! As a student and teacher of foreign language it is my personal and professional opinion that the level of effort invested equals the level of language fluency achieved. Simply put:



Tara’s ESL VLOG: Using Advanced Future Forms


Here we will discuss some of the more advanced future forms that you will hear a native speaker use quite often, especially when talking about the immediate future. Let’s take a look at them and a few examples for each:

To be due to: to speak about something that is scheduled

  • I am due to visit my Grandmother this weekend.
  • You are due to be in the office early on Monday.
  • She is due to get a promotion in late September.


Tara’s ESL Blog: Is it “Fun or Funny”?

Using Fun and Funny in English: 2 little words that cause BIG confusion!

How’s it going everybody! Today we are going to talk about a common vocabulary mistake that many students of English make, that is easily remedied with a little explanation. If you go to a party and you have a good time, which word should you use? If you watch a movie that makes you laugh a lot, which word should you use? These questions and more will be answered today.

First of all, these two little words can be unclear because even though they LOOK very similar, in reality they are very DIFFERENT. But, no worries! By the time you finish this lesson, it will much easier to distinguish WHEN to use WHICH word. So, what do these words mean and how should you use them? What are their parts of speech? How many meanings do they have? Let’s take a look!!!


Tara’s ESL Blog: Successful Listening in English


What’s up everybody! Today we are going to talk about how to improve your listening skills in English. Many of my students have come to me in the past asking for tips on how to understand more when they are listening to a native speaker of English in a song, movie or real-life. Listening and UNDERSTANDING can be a very challenging task, but with a few tricks you can begin to comprehend MUCH MORE than before. So, what can you do TODAY to start listening effectively?


Tara’s ESL VLOG: American Pronunciation – Part 3 – Consonant Sounds


Today’s video is the third installment of a series of videos about pronunciation that I am making for my students and YouTube viewers. In the first video we went over the Alphabet and the names of the letters that you are familiar with. The second video discussed the vowels and the use of the Color Vowel Chart. This video will focus on the Consonants, and the sounds they make. The most important part of today’s’ lesson is to remember that the “names” of the letters, ARE NOT the sounds they make. Today, we will practice the sounds. If you study the sounds of English then you will be able to improve your fluency by mastering STRESS and LINKING – 2 important components to sounding like a native speaker, and being understood by native speakers. So, let’s get started, and take a look at how to produce the consonant sounds of the English language.


Tara’s ESL Blog: Speaking English With Confidence


Today’s blog is about CONFIDENCE, which is such an important topic when it comes to learning a foreign language. I would say that almost all of my students came to me looking for help with confidence in speaking English. They want to be able to speak without pauses, express themselves clearly, and be able to talk about a variety of topics. In my classes, we work on all of these areas — learning new vocabulary, discussing important issues and daily activities, practicing pronunciation — but how do you LEARN to be more confident? Well, after having studied three languages, I discovered that even though many people think that vocabulary and grammar are the essentials to confident speaking, there are other changes you must make in order to BUILD the confidence you need and want to have. So, what should you do?

To start, STOP being scared of making mistakes. Mistakes while speaking in English are the best way to learn new things because they help you REMEMBER key vocabulary in the future. The mistake leaves an IMPRESSION on your mind and for that reason is easier to retrieve from your memory in the future. As a student of foreign languages, it is impossible to avoid making mistakes here and there, so the sooner you become COMFORTABLE with it, the better you will feel and communicate.


Tara’s ESL Blog: Learning English with Books – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Chapter 1

Tara’s Lessons for ESL Students: Learning English with Books


Many of my students and I enjoy using different types of fictional and non-fictional texts during our classes. One of my favorites (and one of my students’ favorites as well) is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by the beloved British author Roald Dahl.  Although considered a children’s book, it is a story that is fun for young and old readers and appeals to people from all over the world.

There are so many reasons why this novel is great for students of English! First of all, the vocabulary used in this book is interesting and very useful in everyday life. The new words and idiomatic phrases you learn are repeated throughout the story, and will STAY in your mind because you are reminded of them from start to finish. Also, there is lots of SPOKEN English used in this book, so you get an idea for how native speakers really talk to each other, and then hopefully go out and use it! Finally, this novel allows ESL students to have fun while accomplishing the goal of reading a complete book in English!

In today’s blog we will take a look at a typical lesson for this novel. I hope you enjoy it!


Tara’s ESL Blog: Using the BASIC tenses


“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present.”

― Bill Keane

One of my favorite quotes by Bill Keane talks about the concept of time, or tense as we say in English grammar. The quote tells us that the past cannot be changed, the future is uncontrollable, and that the present moment is all that we have. I personally find a lot of truth is this statement, but does that mean that you only need to learn how to use the PRESENT tense? Of course not! If that were true then you would not be able to tell me about your trip to Europe last year, or your plans to visit China next year. Plain and simple: The BASIC tenses in English (or any language you are learning) are necessary in order to be able to properly communicate and be understood by native speakers.

Many of my students have trouble organizing the different tenses in English. In order to help ESL students understand the tenses better, I created this blog to explain them as simply as I could. Below, you will find the BASIC tenses in BOLD (dark black). These are the most common tenses and should be mastered if you want to be able to communicate in English. You should keep in mind that the “simple” tenses are just that! SIMPLE! They are clear, concrete ideas. They have specific forms. The more complex tenses are listed below the BASIC tenses so that you can get an idea for their uses as well.

Now, let’s take a look at the tenses in use:

Present Simple: This moment. = what is happening/occurring NOW.

“I teach. I work. I sleep. I eat.”

  • Present continuous: an ongoing action in this moment. “I am teaching/working/sleeping/eating.”
  • Present perfect: something that happened in the recent past, which continues still or ended (yet, already), with an emphasis on RESULTS (what / how much / how often). “I have taught/worked/slept/eaten.”
  • Present perfect continuous: an ongoing action that happened in the recent past, with an emphasis on DURATION of time (how long). “I have been teaching/working/sleeping/eating (since, for + time).”


Tara’s ESL VLOG: The Future Part 2 – Simple Rules


What’s up everybody! My name is Tara Musich and I am a certified and experienced teacher of American English. Today I am presenting you with a video that’s part of a series that I am making on the Future Tense. Today’s video is about some special rules for using the future tense. These are some rules that I have shared with several of my students while working on using this tense and I thought it would be nice to share with you – my YouTube viewers and subscribers. So, we’re going to go over four rules together. We’ll go over the rule and then take a look at the example. You can look in the text below to follow along, if you like!


Tara’s ESL VLOG: How to Choose the Right Teacher for YOU!

Hello again, Tara Musich here, teacher of American English. Today, we are going to talk about how to choose the right teacher for you, whether it be an online teacher or a live teacher, like face to face, a live face to face teacher. Most of us educators will sit here and try to tell you why you should choose me or this other person to teach you. So today I am going to give you a few tips on how to choose a teacher that is suitable to you and your personality.

So, there are three, three tips, three things that I think that are important when choosing a teacher, and the first one may sound a little funny, but I really think that it’s important. The first one is the person’s voice, the teacher’s voice. When you are learning a foreign language your teacher’s voice is very important. It is the voice that you are imitating. It is the voice that you should want to sound like. So that’s why I think that this is very important. It needs to be appealing to your ears, you should like it! It should be something you want to try to sound like. So, first and foremost the voice of your teacher I think is very important when you’re trying to work on speaking skills and pronunciation skills. Sounding good is always great, you know, in any language that we are learning.


Tara’s ESL VLOG: Why Listening is NOT Enough!

Hello everybody! my name is Tara Musich and I am a teacher of American English, currently teaching online while living abroad. Today I am going to talk to you about a topic that many of my students and I discuss together. The topic that we often discuss is “Why listening is not enough.” Now, when I say that to you, you might think “Hey wait teacher what do you mean listening is not enough? Everybody tells me I should listen like a baby and I should just be listening all the time and then this will help me speak”…and in many ways listening does help you, but let me give you an example of why it is not the best way to start speaking.

So, imagine you want to learn to swim, swim, right? In the pool or in the ocean. You know you start reading books and watching documentaries about swimming. Maybe you watch some sporting events about swimming. Maybe you decide to talk to someone about swimming. Someone who is a good swimmer, for example …And they can give you some advice about how to swim correctly and how not to make mistakes and things like that. Maybe you join a special group guided by an experienced swimmer and you know, you can discuss all of your worries and difficulties in regard to swimming. After you’ve done all of these activities, have you learned to swim? …Well the same is true for speaking, truly. You can read about it, and you can watch movies and you can think about it, do all of these things, but unless you truly use it and practice with it, you’ll never really be able to speak in a foreign language, any foreign language, if you don’t really start speaking.


Three Good Ideas about Learning Language

1. Reading allows you to connect with the language, and it builds your vocabulary within a specific context – which makes your speaking stronger.

Many people “moan and groan” when presented with the prospect of having to read something – anything! As a lover of language, written or spoken, this was never a problem for me as I love to read literature of all types. However, as a teacher of English, I realize that not all my students feel the same way that I do, and so I asked myself how I could help my students to enjoy reading more. It seemed like the best answer was: only read what you are interested in!

You should put extra effort into finding a form of literature that is appealing to you – don’t read anything that seems boring to you! I have found in my experience that there is something for everyone, whether it is a paragraph of text or dialogue, a comic strip, a news article, a famous poem, a short book or even a series of novels! If your teacher has presented you with a text that you are not interested in, SPEAK UP, and tell them! The most important thing for you and your English language learning is to choose a subject that is not only useful in daily life, but also very interesting to you.





Tara’s ESL VLOG: The Future Part 1 – Will, Going To & Gunna

There are 2 forms that native speakers use to speak about the future. Many teachers and textbooks will tell you that there are rules for how to use each of them, but you should focus on using them interchangeably. Native speakers of English do this, so you can too! Once you can USE them easily, and switch between the two forms, then you can focus on the grammar rules. Let’s take a look at the following “language equations”:


Read more, Learn more, Speak more

When I was attending university, working towards my degree in Spanish and Italian, I had to read a lot of books. Stories such as Don Quixote by Cervantes and Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, filled my head with new phrases, exquisite vocabulary and a strong sense for Latin culture. What I did not realize while I was reading – and writing! Oh, the multitude of essays that I had to write! – was that my speaking was going to improve as well.


World Traveler and Perpetual Dreamer

I was bitten by the “travel bug” at age 2 and I never found a cure. My biggest passion in life is to TRAVEL – see new places, meet new people, marvel in cultural similarities and gain new perspectives on the differences. For me, “variety is the spice of life.”

Learning a Language Opens Doors

I believe that learning, especially a language, should be a lifetime commitment. Foreign languages are my passion and the opportunities that being bilingual has given me have been priceless.