Language Coaching

A 6:00 am coaching call.
A 6:00 am coaching call.

I continually get asked the question, “What do you do?” whenever I meet new people.

I suppose as well that many who’ve asked before continue to wonder.

It is a complicated answer and one that I myself fumble around to answer whenever I am asked.  I usually begin with, “It’s complicated.”

It isn’t so much that it is complicated though as much as it is just not traditional, not something that people can find in their own personal memory bank of “jobs.”

I am a language coach.

(or rather, one of the things that I do is language coaching, among other things)

To explain I’ll begin by way of analogy.

Lebron James has a personal trainer.  Why?

Lebron is one of the greatest basketball players ever.  He is one of the most athletic, one of the strongest.

Why would he need a personal trainer?

Pastor and author Andy Stanley said,

You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be. We all do better wend somebody is watching and evaluating.

Lebron knows that he can be better, that  a personal trainer can help him get the most out of himself.

As a language coach, I do the same – plus a bit more.

You see, Lebron knows basketball.  You could say he is an expert.

Most learning another language however are not experts.  Most don’t know where to begin.

Ask yourself, “If I were to want to learn Russian, what would I do?  Where would I begin?”

If you are like most learners, you are probably drawing a blank – or you’ve gone to the only idea you’ve ever known – I’d go to school.

As a language coach I would with clients in six main areas:

  1. Planning
  2. New Learning Ideas
  3. New Resources for Learning
  4. Accountability
  5. Motivation
  6. Assessment

When I work with a client, I help them create a plan for learning which usually begins by helping them understand how they learn best – in a classroom or out in the community, alone (mostly) or in a group, with lots of technology or with less technology.

I help them think about creating a learning plan for the next six months, for the next month, for the next week and for each day.   We break it down.

I give learning strategies and drills and activities that they can use to focus on mastering the different elements of any language.

In this sense, I am never teaching a specific language but empowering people to be able to learn any language.

I help people find new resources – readily abundant  and mostly free – to learn their particular language.

Language coaching is also about holding learners accountable to the plan we’ve created and about helping them stay motivated.

In the end, language coaching is mostly about helping people successfully learn another language as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Around the World

Most of my clients are overseas.  They are mostly working for non-profits and church organizations.

And so my coaching sessions are all online through Skype.

This morning I met with a client in Istanbul.  He was sitting in Starbucks with his iPhone, I was at home in my basement with my laptop.

I could see him, he could see me and for just over an hour we talked about how the language learning journey was going, about where he could be more effective and where he was doing well.

I gave him ideas for activities he could do, for ways to make his daily interaction with the building security guard a better language learning experience.  I’ve sent him three or four articles from my website, The Everyday Language Learner, for further reading to expand on topics we discussed.

It is always a rewarding experience to know that I have helped someone step into another day of mastering a language with more hope, with less fear and with new knowledge for getting the most out of the day.

I meet with clients about once a month for an hour and my goal continues to be to work up to 30 clients.

It also provides a bit of income.

Not enough to pay all the bills but enough to keep doing it.

Language coaching is really what I love to do.  It allows me to continue to be a part of the work we did in Turkey and to play my part to help others even as we’ve returned to small town South Dakota.

It’s just one of the jobs that I have.

Parker Wagons at Harvest

Filling up the Parker Wagons

The Parker’s metal

sides bulge

like fat pigs

gorged on grain.

The tractor strains

a mighty heave,

wagons ease from soft

end rows.

A dusty country

road welcomes

this swaying

train,

a tractor and two wagons –

green wagons,

green tractor

like spring,

like hope.

Toward home

the tractor goes,

to the auger,

to the bin,

to the thought just

months away

of the planting once

again.

——————

October 2013

Potatoes Galore!

Planting potatoes is hard work.

Digging potatoes is sheer delight!

A few weeks back we began the glorious work with fork and and buckets of bringing up the potato harvest.

It was a good harvest, but we think the year might have been a bit too wet and figure the company who came to spray for dandelions may have hurt our production a bit too with a bit of drift and the yellowed, curled leaves that resulted back in June.

But we had quite the harvest none the less and now have several buckets of potatoes in the basement.

IMG_2765
Working together.
IMG_2770
Finding the hidden spuds.
IMG_2774
Potatoes Galore! (Is ‘galore’ the only adjective in English that follows the noun?)
IMG_2779
Digging potatoes with Grandpa – a family affair.
IMG_2794
Picking a few apples as well and enjoying fall.
IMG_2803
And lots of Butternut Squash.

Katie’s Malt Shoppe in Marion, South Dakota

Katie's Malt Shoppe on Broadway in Marion.
Katie’s Malt Shoppe on Broadway in Marion.

There is not much better than a frosty malt on a hot summer day in rural America.

For far too many small towns in the rural midwest though, declining populations have lead to the closure of many of the eating establishments that once anchored Main Street.

One by one the restaurants have closed.

The cafes have closed.

The opportunity to enjoy a frosty milk shake has disappeared.

Such was the case in Marion . . .

Until today.

Plenty of seating for a small town cafe.
Plenty of seating for a small town cafe.

While we came in for an afternoon malt and missed the morning and lunch rush, Katie’s Malt Shoppe packed in local customers for it’s grand opening this Memorial Day weekend.

Preparations have been underway for weeks turning the old, outdated cafe building – a building that had housed cafes for the last 50 years or so – into an updated and chic new malt shoppe and cafe.

Owners  have done their work to create a friendly environment with a nice menu of great food and of course, malts.

Named for the family’s teenage daughter and – on opening day –  the main waitress, Katie’s Malt Shoppe is a welcome addition to the Marion business district.

So if your looking for some great ice cream, a cold malt or just a bite to eat, be sure and stop by Katie’s Malt Shoppe on Broadway in Marion

IMG_2449

IMG_2462
My daughter enjoying her root beer float!
IMG_2464
A wonderfully tasty vanilla malt.

Details

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Katie’s will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm.

From then on they will be open the same hours every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If you have any questions you can give them a call at 605-760-2479.

You can find Katie’s Malt Shoppe in the heart of Marion’s small business district on Broadway Avenue.

Marion is 35 miles west of Sioux Falls just north of Highway 44.

Artisan Envelopes: The Ledger Series

IMG_2395

I have always been a bit of a dumpster diver, finding crazy cool treasures that others have thrown away.

My wife is thankfully thankful for this unique skill of mine and quickly embraces most of what I bring home (except for that rug in Turkey).

The town of Freeman has a self-recycling center where people bring their recyclables to drop off.

This is a regular source of new magazines to read and on occasion, supplies craft supplies for the kids.

A few months ago I glanced into the paper receptacle and saw a two inch stack of interesting looking paper.

Each sheet was a bit longer and wider than an extra long legal pad of paper and there must have been three hundred sheets in the stack.

Upon further inspection, this new treasure turned out to be an old ledger from a land lord in the small town of Scotland, South Dakota – 30 miles from Freeman.

On it were the monthly accountings of rent paid in and bills paid out – from the 1960’s.

Rent was around $60 per apartment!

IMG_2412

Last week as we put together an Etsy shop to sell my wife’s artisan envelopes and considered adding more to the collection, this paper came to her mind.

And so as of today, we now have two lines of artisan sewn envelopes and are adding to our cobbled together income stream.

Like The Wildflower Series, The Ledger Series comes with eight envelopes and ten pieces of stationary and you can order them for $10 per set at the Cobbled Together Home Etsy shop.

Here are some more pictures:

IMG_2405
The Ledger Series of hand made envelopes.

Perfect for sending a unique letter to an old friend or as a gift for your “type A” personality friends or family members.

Each envelope is unique with it’s own bit of history recorded in numeric fashion across the lines of each ledger page.

Visit the Cobbled Together Home Etsy Shop

IMG_2388
Each envelope is completely unique.
IMG_2407
What I wouldn’t do for $66.00 rent!
IMG_2404
Use the ledger pattern to create your own patterns with colored pencils.

IMG_2410

IMG_2389

Visit the Cobbled Together Home Etsy Shop

Planting Potatoes

IMG_2155
Ready to be planted.

It has finally come to pass that we were able to plant our potatoes.

Our goal is to grow enough potatoes to last until March or April of next year – we did that once a few years before moving to Turkey and would like to do it again.

I’m not sure if we ordered enough seed though – it’s been a while since we’ve done this and so we lack the recent experience we need to know exactly what we are doing.

But we are keeping records so that we can keep track of what we planted, what did well and how much we produced.

At any rate, it was a lot of fun to prepare the garden beds and plant.

IMG_2257
Colorado Rose potatoes – we’ll see what these are like.

In so many ways, gardening and growing our own food is just another part of cobbling together a lively hood, a life here in the states.

It is a slow journey, one that recently has felt a bit buried in the darkness of discouragement and wondering if we can do this.

But there is something about digging in the dirt, about laying down seed with the hope – and the faith – that from that dark grave, new life will grow forth.

I believe.

IMG_2251
Planting peas as well.

Artisan Envelopes: Homemade and Completely Unique

IMG_2113

Over at my other blog, The Everyday Language Learner, I began a new venture to get people to send me postcards from where ever they live, telling me why they are readers of the EDLL blog.  It’s a way to build the community there, to share people’s stories and to get postcards.

I like postcards.  I like letters in general.  Getting a good, long letter from a friend is like a gift.  After finding an uninterrupted space of time, I’ll brew a cup of coffee and find a good seat from which to enjoy the letter.

I’ve never done that with an email.

My wife is an even bigger fan than I of all things letters.

For her it is an art form.  The letter is important but so is the paper it’s written on, the envelope it is sent in and the stamp.

I’ve been given the look more than once for putting a plain American Flag postage stamp on one of her hand-made envelopes.

For Consuelo, letter writing has become a bit of a cause – one worth fighting for.

As we have been looking for ways to cobble together an income over the last six months, I’ve encouraged her to think about finding the convergence of her passions, her creative giftings and the  economic realities that require income generation.

That is where I hope everyone can find themselves – making the money they need to live through the passions and skills that both bring the most joy and do the most good.

It is what I try to do over at EDLL.

And now Consuelo is ready to give it a try.

IMG_2105

Artisan Envelopes and Stationary

We would like to introduce a new series of  products – hand-made artisan envelopes and stationary.

Each envelope is cut from a beautiful wildflower guidebook whose pages swelled and binding broke when it found itself sitting in the bottom of a box that found itself sitting in a puddle of water.

IMG_2121

The envelopes are all stitched – no glues, no staples – just thread.  Each set of eight envelopes comes with 10 sheets of recycled stationary.

$10.00 for a set of eight

If you are interested in getting a set of envelopes and stationary for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, just send an email to me and we will send you a Paypal invoice and put your purchase in the mail. (Shipping is included in the price)

You can contact me here:  aarongmyers@gmail.com

IMG_2122

If you love these envelopes, please take a moment to share this post with your friends and help us spread the word.  Thanks!

IMG_2110

IMG_2111

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.10.45 PM

Busy? Master Your Time

I have recently been working to create an online course to teach independent, self-directed language learning.  It’ll be a big project and I hope to have it up and running by the end of April.

In order to cut my teeth on the whole idea of course creation I decided to make a smaller course first.  This course, called Master Your Time, is all about getting more from your busy days.

You can try it out free for a time here: https://www.udemy.com/master-your-time/

Here’s the promotional video I made for the course.