August 2013 E-News from Elizabeth Claire
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Contents of this August E-NEWS
out of the country as I write this E-News, in the land of my forebears:
St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada. The little village has shrunk, I am
told to 360 residents. I live (for a few weeks of the summer, anyway)
in a restored sea captain's home just outside the village. If I go to
the library, and input my maiden name and birth date into a certain program,
up will pop a list of everyone in the village past and present that I
am related to, and by what degree: the librarian, the clerk at the general
store, the guy who runs the camp grounds, the carpenter who built my porch,
the founder of the village.... It is a mind-boggling experience to meet
people and learn we are cousins of one sort or another. My father had
served in the RCAF, had been killed overseas in WW II, so I was raised
in the U.S., and didn't feel my Canadian roots until I returned here in
1995 for a family reunion.
this after years of moving and feeling that I don't belong wherever I
was. Here, I belong. What a feeling it is to belong...and what a false
notion we humans carry around, that we don't belong wherever we are...
all belong right here, where we are...the evidence for that is that we
are here. And our students, who might easily have the feeling as they
walk into a new locale or building or social group may have that unexpressed
but deeply felt idea of not belonging. But the truth is, they belong here,
and the evidence for their belonging here is that they are here.
a privilege it is for ESL teachers to help people know that they belong...even
before assimilating, before perfecting English, before becoming citizens,
before "making it."
remember, as a youngster, living on the south side of Little Falls, New
York, and regarding that as the right place to live...but when my friends
and I went to the north side to go to the town's only ice skating rink,
a few northsiders said, "go back to the south side where you belong..."
it wasn't long after that, that I said the same to a northsider who came
to the play ground on the south side...and felt quite superior and justified...there
was no adult around to correct my perception and my passed-along unkindness.
Thus is silliness propagated and territories mindlessly defended by the
insecure child inside us. The shame and shock of course is that we have
adult citizens and Congresspeople and even a senator or two who issue
the same kinds of putdowns to immigrants...Our students' courage in facing
this is an inspiration. We ESL teachers, counselors, tutors, advisors
are in the business of sharing belonging...learning English is more than
acquiring a language to get a job with or talk to a landlord or doctor
or store clerk with. It's therapy for many of the pains of not belonging.
Contents of Easy English
NEWS for September 2013Are You Ready for the
Future? A dizzying
collection of the new technology that is affecting our lives. Great discussion
How Much is Education
Worth to You? This article should help motivate
students to stay in school and get as much education for a later career
as they can.
Events in September covered
in Easy English NEWS:
- Labor Day
- Rosh Hashana
- Yom Kippur
- Patriot Day
- Back to School
- Grandparents Day
- Constitution Day
- Hispanic-American Heritage Month
- First Day of Autumn
- Family Health and Fitness Day
Some new things available,
and some price changesYour Health: Dr
Ali's articles won't be appearing this school year, but by September 10,
we will have available in reproducible form, an anthology of 31 of his
past articles, with word help, for $10 at my website.
Ask a Speech Coach: Will
show up in October
the Beautiful: This department
gave way this month to the amazing article on Are You Ready for the Future?
We'll return to it in October.
Heroes and History: Ellis Island (which unfortunately
is closed for repairs since Hurricane Sandy. Good connection to the upcoming
discussions of a hopefully comprehensive immigration reform act when Congress
This column is back for occasional answers to students questions
regular features: This Is Your Page (readers' stories),
Funny Stuff, Idioms, the Crossword Puzzle, Let's Talk About It, and Word
here for the FREE 24-page generic "How To Use Easy English NEWS in
Your ESL Classroom" with 9 reproducible graphic organizers.
Claire books on Kindle are available at Amazon.com, which you can access
through my website.
- ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part One ($0.99)
- ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part Two ($2.99)
- ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part Three ($2.99)
- Kristina, 1904, the Greenhorn Girl ($2.99)
- Voices of Our New Neighbors Volume One ($0.99)
- Voices of our New Neighbors Volume Two ($2.99)
- Voices of our new Neighbors Volume Three
- English Language Learners in the Mainstream
Class (from Classroom Teacher's ESL Survival Guide) ($3.99)
- What's So Funny? An International Student's
Introduction to American Humor. ($4.99)
- Phonics for English Language Learners? What
the ESL Teacher Needs to Know ($0.99)