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Elizabeth Claire's E-News

June 2013 E-News from Elizabeth Claire

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Contents of the June E-News:

Culture Shock

Contents of June's Easy English NEWS


Our office will be closed June 29 to July 15. There'll be no one to tend the phones or process orders, so be forewarned. For questions, send an email, which will be monitored:
ESL@elizabethclaire.com or visit the website.

Most frequently asked question we get at this time of year:

Are the rates for Subscriptions going to increase for 2013-2014?

Answer: No. Rates for all subscriptions ordered by or before December 31, 2013 will be the same as for this school year. We are holding the line for you!

If your students are leaving your program, invite them to subscribe to Easy English NEWS to continue their progress. (Have them note that there is no July or August issue.)

An order form for Easy English NEWS at our website can be downloaded and printed and mailed to us at 2100 McComas Way, Suite 607, Virginia Beach, VA 23456.

Click here for an order form for Easy English NEWS.

For ideas for summer activities for your ESL students, see the E-NEWS for June, 2012. Click here.

It's hurricane season. Save lives. Help your students understand the dangers if they are new to the East Coast or Gulf Coast. Download my illustrated booklet Hurricane Safety in Simple English, with profuse illustrations and word help on each page.
Click here.


Culture Shock

I've experienced varieties of culture shock, the most recent being my move from New Jersey to Virginia...as many of you have experienced if you have moved...the brain has to remap the locale, figure out how to get from one place to another, where to shop, where to get services, where to attend classes...meet new neighbors, make friends, relearn which TV channels are for which networks, learn radio frequencies of favorite kinds of programming...miss the familiar and preferred ways of getting around, miss friends and family...

The shock shakes the whole nervous system...new stimuli coming at us from every direction...I needed more sleep in order to process all the changes, learning the names of dozens of streets, people, and business places, new phone numbers, changing my address with a zillion correspondents, getting the electric, gas, and water turned on, paper delivered, telephone and cable hooked up. I repeatedly had that icky feeling when I entered a group where I didn't know a soul.

A two week trip to England intensified the physiological shock....It's not true that Americans and English people speak the same language. We may READ the same language, but there was at least one word per few sentences that were unknown to me, throwing off the communication entirely and requiring many "please repeat that"s to negotiate meanings with bed and breakfast managers, waiters, sales clerks, bus and taxi drivers.

When I was in Japan, the shock was, of course, so much worse: the language barrier plus...never knowing quite how low to bow when being introduced, not understanding the conversation around me, needing and depending on friends to escort me from place to place...Before getting on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kobe, I bought what I thought were coconut cupcakes, (by seeing through the cellophane wrapper), for a snack on the trip...turned out it was fish paste. Another time I bought a bento (boxed lunch) and opened the box to see a baby octopus sitting on top of the sushi and other delicacies, seemingly staring at me. Not delicious to look at.

In the Czech Republic...I was alone after completing my two-week teacher-training stint at a government retreat, and thought I would take advantage of being in Europe and at least see Prague. I had allowed two extra days before my flight back home at the end of my teaching....Nothing prepared me for the complete lack of English speakers in the street. It was terrifying. I attempted to go out for a walk, got lost, finally found a taxi to take me back to the hotel. I went back to my hotel room miserable to wait out the 48 hours. How happy I was when the phone in my room rang...One of the teachers I had been training called the hotel and offered to take me on a tour of the city...a friend for life!

How jarring the experience is...and how it sensitizes us again to the remarkable fortitude that our immigrant students have. They experience all this PLUS they have to struggle with the language, find a job, and struggle financially to boot. They are preyed upon by scammers and thieves. Many of them live in our more dangerous low-rent neighborhoods. And if they are perceived to be of an ethnic group in disfavor, how much the worse for them to experience prejudice for that in addition to the sometimes prejudice for their mere lack of English.

It boggles the mind what courage they have just to get up and face the day. Our profession as ESL teachers is indeed a worthy one, offering the helping hand in learning the language, adjusting to the culture, making sense of the chaos, and consoling the depressed by challenging them with new ideas and engineering their success in language learning.

We remember most the people who helped us when we were most traumatized...

Which is why ESL teachers are the most remembered teachers of all...We comfort, guide, point the way, make communication possible when our students feel stupid, shy, lost, fearful, and overwhelmed. We smile, we care, we listen like no one else in our students' new environment. It is a grand profession, and it makes us immortal. For the rest of their lives, our students will speak the very words we have put into their heads and mouths...albeit in their own special combinations. We are born again and again, multiplied over and over. Nothing could be sweeter.


Contents of Easy English NEWS for June 2013

Getting to the Top The raising of the last piece of spire for One World Trade Center, now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

At the Beach Summer safety around water

Events in June (and July) covered in Easy English NEWS:
    • Flag Day
    • Father's Day
    • Graduation Day
    • Prom Night
    • Summer Begins
    • Weddings
    • Independence Day
    • Ramadan
Your Health: My Favorite Teas (Dr. Ali)

Ask a Speech Coach: Pronouncing final -m

America the Beautiful: Rocky Mountain National Park

Heroes and History:
The Birth of the United States

Other News: Congress to vote on Immigration Reform; FBI Searching for information about the Boston Terrorists; Hurricane Season

Plus our regular features: This Is Your Page (readers' stories),  Funny Stuff, Idioms, the Crossword Puzzle, Let's Talk About It, and Word Help.

For June's Cloze exercises, click here.

For June's Short Answer tests, click here

Click here for the FREE 24-page generic "How To" with 9 reproducible graphic organizers.

Last call for the low introductory prices for
Elizabeth Claire books on Kindle.

Prices on many of these will increase June 30.

  • ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part One ($0.99)
  • ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part Two ($0.99)
  • ESL Teacher's Activities Kit Part Three ($0.99)
  • Kristina, 1904, the Greenhorn Girl ($0.99)
  • Voices of Our New Neighbors Volume One ($0.99)
  • Voices of our New Neighbors Volume Two ($0.99)
  • Voices of our new Neighbors Volume Three ($0.99)
  • 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. ($0.99)
  • Phonics for English Language Learners? What the ESL Teacher Needs to Know ($0.99)
Click here to go to the Amazon Kindle Store at my website

Carry on your good work!

Elizabeth Claire

© Elizabeth Claire 2013.
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