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Social workers

Part 3

This episode's vocabulary

  • Beforehand (adverb) - earlier (than a particular time).
  • Trait (noun) - a particular characteristic that can produce a particular type of behaviour.
  • Career path (noun) - the way that you progress in your work, either in one job or in a series of jobs.
  • Faint of heart (idiom) - lacking the courage to face something difficult or dangerous.
  • Intrinsic (adj.) - being an extremely important and basic characteristic of a person or thing.
  • Facetious (adj.) - not serious about a serious subject, in an attempt to be funny or to appear clever.
  • To check up on sb (phrasal verb) - try to discover what someone is doing in order to be certain that that person is doing what they should be doing.
  • Reintegration of former offenders - the process of returning those who have served time to society.
  • Setup (noun) - an arrangement of things that allows something to happen, or the process that prepares this arrangement.
  • Patience (noun) - the ability to wait, or to continue doing something despite difficulties, or to suffer without complaining or becoming annoyed.
  • Distressing (adj.) - upsetting or worrying.
  • Workload (noun) - the amount of work to be done, especially by a particular person or machine in a period of time.
  • To mandate (verb) - the authority given to an elected group of people, such as a government, to perform an action or govern a country.
  • Press on (phrasal verb) - to continue traveling or doing something.
  • Understaffed (adj.) - if a shop, business, or organization is understaffed, it does not have enough employees.
  • Overstretched (adj.) - not having enough money, people, equipment, etc.


Questions and Answers

M: Rory, tell me, why do people love being social workers?

R: Well, I mentioned several reasons beforehand. But to summarize, it's probably because they want to give something back, or a trait of their personality that encourages them to go down that career path. It's not for the faint of heart, and the pay isn't, well, particularly more than any other public sector job. So motivation must be intrinsic.

M: What do social workers do?

R: Social work? Sorry, I'm being facetious. They can do all kinds of things from checking up on families with various issues to supporting the reintegration of former offenders back into society to helping out other institutions like health service. When dealing with people who have multiple problems, I suppose it's a very diverse field. And I imagine it will depend on the setup in the countries that you live in.

M: What are social work values?

R: Oh, I suppose that will again, be heavily context-dependent. But generally, you should value human life and want to see things get better for people, or at least not get worse. Being ready for anything and up for a challenge would also be good values to have. And above all else, patience since change and support take a long time to happen and to be effective.

M: What type of person would make an excellent social worker?

R: Well, I suppose anyone who embodies the values I mentioned previously, you have to be able to cope with distressing or stressful situations, a heavy workload and be understanding of people who might not want your support, even though it's mandated by the law, and probably the greater good as well. When I think about it, though, patient, organized people who can press on in most circumstances are what you want in many jobs, aren't they?

M: Should governments create more social work job opportunities?

R: I'm honestly not sure. People always say that they're understaffed and overstretched. So it might be helpful. On the other hand, you have to balance that with the reality of financing these posts. Overall, I think social workers could do with more support, though the extent of, well, the extent of it is up for debate by much more qualified people than me.

M: Really, thank you very much for your answers!



M: Quite a challenging topic - social work. Especially if you have no idea what a social worker is. Again, dear listener, just for your understanding, right. So social workers are professionals who aim to enhance, to improve overall well being. And they help meet basic and complex needs of communities and people. Alright, so they work with people, they help people. So social workers work with different types of people, for example, poor people, vulnerable people, oppressed people, ill people. So things like that.

R: Yeah.

M: Now you do know. And why do people love being social workers? Rory told us that they want to give something back.

R: Well, we already talked about giving something back, didn't we?

M: Yeah. And this encourages them to go down that career path. To go down that career path.

R: So well, if we talk about a career path in particular, that is, well, a career is what you spend your time doing progressing along a certain sequence of jobs. So you start being a low-level social worker and progressed to being a higher one with more experience, etc. It doesn't necessarily mean becoming a manager, it could just mean getting more experience and, well, expand into different fields. And if you go down a career path, it just means that you choose that career path and then follow it.

M: And then we can say that the motivation must be intrinsic. Intrinsic, it's inside you. You can't become a social worker, because of money, for example, because how can you help people and be involved in such work if you don't enjoy it? It's like the same like how can you teach kids if you hate kids? Well, some people do that, but how effective is it? Rory, you mentioned a nice word. Something face...

R: Facetious.

M: Face what?

R: Facetious.

M: Oh gosh, what is it?

R: Yeah, it just means that you're treating serious subjects with deliberately inappropriate humor.

M: What do social workers do? They can do all kinds of things. And then Rory goes from checking up on families. So check up on families, to supporting reintegration of former offenders back into society. So a former offender is a former criminal. Yeah, something like a person who committed a crime.

R: Yes, well, a former offender, someone who committed a crime and then they went to prison, and now they're back in society.

M: And we'll talk about reintegration or integration back into society.

R: Yes. So they were taken out of society, and now they're being reintegrated, which is like they're being reconnected.

M: And then social workers can deal with people who have multiple problems. Again like poor people or people with drugs problems.

R: Yeah, it's probably best not say that they're poor. Sometimes, like, it's just people with issues that require the intervention of social health services. They're not always, well, they're not always poor, like I say.

M: Yeah, okay. We can say like low-income people, for example. Or people with low income. Or like different problems. In terms of values, we can mention patience. So social workers should be patient.

R: Don't know how else to elaborate further on that.

M: No, like any other values, like what are social work values? They value human life, you said?

R: Well, yeah. So patient, valuing human life. That just means you think people are important, or people being alive is important. And then wanting to see things get better, it's just like hoping for a positive outcome.

M: And then a good, an excellent social worker should be able to cope with distressing situations.

R: Yeah, so a distressing situation, well, we already mentioned stressful. Distressing just means it's upsetting or it's not nice, or it's a situation that you don't want to be in.

M: Yeah, distressing or stressful situations. Also, next one, social worker should be able to cope with a heavy workload.

R: That just means you have a lot of things to do, really, doesn't it?

M: So they should be patient and organized people. Yeah? When you talked about job opportunities, you mentioned that they are understaffed and overstretched.

R: Yeah, that just means you don't have enough people. And there's too much work to do.

M: Yeah, yeah. So many organizations are understaffed. Not enough people. Overstretched. Yep, lots of work. Few people, lot's of work. The governments can finance a post. A post like a position?

R: Yeah, it's just like, well, you create a post that's like a role for people to fill. So like a teaching post or social work post.

M: And we can say governments should finance more social work posts, for example, or positions. Do you think that teenagers or young people are now interested in social work? Or are they interested in blogging, in Tik Tok?

R: I don't know. Well, I mean, there's an array of interest isn't there? They're probably interested in helping people.

M: Dear listener, hopefully, we've helped you with the social work topic. It might need more research, especially speaking part two topic. Yeah, describe a person who loves to do social work. Yeah? But hopefully, now you have a general idea what you should say, and what synonyms, vocabulary you should use. Thank you very much for listening! And we'll see you in the next episode! Bye!

R: Bye!


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