Sunday, March 30, 2014

Remember Four Things

Here are four things to remember when you are learning English. Or any new skill or task.

1. You are not alone. Ask for help.

2. Practice it every day.

3. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.

4. If you fall down, get back up and try again.

You can do it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Get The Heel Out Of Here!

My sharp eyed readers will notice the pun I used in the blog post title. Yes, normally, the phrase is, "Get the hell out of here!" but in my case, I am talking to high heels. And thus, the pun.

I'm done with high heels. I. will. not. wear. them. any. more. They hurt my back, they hurt my knees and they keep me hobbled. I don't care that they elongate my legs, I don't care that they make me look statuesque. I'm done. D-O-N-E done.

I need to be able to "run" from teaching one English class to another (this term I only have 10 minutes). I want to be able to walk around Spain for more than just 20 minutes without shooting pains up my feet. And I want to feel light, springy and airy. And thus ... no high heels.

But what can I wear instead? What will fit the bill? Introducing an oldy but goody ... Clarks.

I now have the Clarks Hare Sport Flat in Grey (because I'm crazy bold) and the Clark Propose Pixie in Pewter (still crazy).

So the only question that remains is, which pair gets to go to Spain with me?

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye

Wednesday was my last night teaching English at the Cascade Park Public Library in Vancouver, Washington. I had been teaching an evening class each week for the past 9 months. But I had to stop because driving home so late at night was wearing me down. (Don't worry, I just picked up two more day classes at Clark College, so I'll still be busy!)

My time there was priceless. The supervisor at the site, Milton, was eager to share his decades of experience with me, and he let me completely take over. I taught 3/4 of all the classes.

But the biggest surprise during the past 9 months, the thing no one warned me about, was the sadness I would feel when students left. Since I come from a elementary school background, I am used to having students all year long. At Cascade Park, many of the students were just visiting the US. Some were here for a few weeks, and some were here for a few years. It never occurred to me that my students, whom I had bonded with (some for weeks, some for months) would leave me. And because I was so focused on creating interesting and informative lesson plans, I completely forgot to give them my email address so that could keep in touch. So now I just have to wonder how Lucy (Czech Republic) and Ji-Hu (S. Korea) are doing.

So that I don't make this mistake again, I have now added my email address to the bottom of every worksheet I make. This way, if they do want to contact me, they can. But I still get a little sad when their time is up. I'm not sure if that feeling will ever stop.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Be Yourself, No Matter What

I know what people will say when I tell them I am trying to find more clients (students) for my American English Tutoring business. "Oh, you should write a blog just about American English." Right. But I can't do that. I can't show just one part of me (even if it is a subject I talk about all the time) it makes me feel incomplete.

And so, while some of the posts on this blog will be about American English, I will also continue to post about other facets of my life: things that annoy me, books, exercise, Type 1 diabetes, and things that I like.

Perhaps I won't get the hits or page views that I would get if I made a separate blog for American English. Perhaps this is a huge mistake. But I don't care because it just isn't how I work.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Correct Yourself

If you are an advanced American English learner, I highly suggest the book Correct Your English Errors, by Tim Collins. It's a small book, but Mr. Collins has packed a lot of great information into it.

You may need to consult with an English teacher or tutor or an online program to really understand the pronunciation section, but the rest of the book should be easily understood.

I have found it extremely useful, and I think you will too!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Be Shocked

I have been a big fan of the Culture Shock book series, ever since my husband introduced me to it. I've already read the ones about Spain, Germany, and the UAE. But the most interesting one has been the one about the USA. The author, Esther Warning, does a fabulous job of explaining the way that the US and Americans work.

Here are some of the things she wrote:

It does seem that Americans often lack the capacity to enjoy their achievements. We find more satisfaction in acquiring the trappings of the leisure life than in leisure itself. Activity-rather than family or community-gives us our identities, and very few people are able to rest on their laurels.

Our sense of self does not come from being a sister, a brother, or part of the community, but from being a long distance runner or the Vice President of Sales at the office. Thus we must have the latest and best running shoes or a fancy watch to show how important we are. When we meet someone for the first time, after we learn their name, we ask "What do you do?" This isn't true for ever American, but it is for most.

Loneliness is very common. Many people live by themselves and a great many spend nearly every evening alone. Telephones, televisions, and computers ease the isolation, but a sense of belonging to a group is largely absent.
Many people also suffer from a sense of failure. No success is good enough. Not everybody can reach the top, and those who don't blame themselves.

So, if you are coming to the United States in the future, or just want to learn a little more about what Americans are like, I highly recommend this book.

Note: Although the author is American, the publisher is British, so the book is written in British English. It
was a little annoying to this American reader, but I got over it.