Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program (#2)

March 29, 2012

We had the second of 10 webinars today on how to market your language or literacy program. Today we had participants from Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. I was so thrilled to see people there from so many different places, and diverse programs.

This program focused on:

  • How to set marketing goals
  • How to identify a target market
  • The difference between “end users” and “target market”
  • How to budget for marketing and promotion

Here’s the recording of the 45-minute program:

Join us next week for Class #3. It will focus on how to write marketing materials and focussing on the benefits. Get more details here.

Related posts:

101 Ways to Market Your Language Program (10 Free webinars) – Program overview and login instructions

Webinar recording – Week #1: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program 

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


A small contribution to a great event: Calgary Learns Life of Learning Awards (LOLAs)

March 28, 2012

When Megan Williams of Calgary Learns sent out an e-mail asking for donations for their silent auction, to be held as part of their Life of Learning Awards (LOLAs), I knew I wanted to do something. I was introduced to the LOLAs a few years back by a colleague who works at Bow Valley College. The awards honour individuals in 3 categories:

  • An adult learner who has achieved outstanding results in a non-credit, part-time adult education setting.
  • A facilitator or instructor of non-credit, part-time adult education who has shown exceptional skill, creativity and understanding.
  • A program designer or director who has made extraordinary and innovative contributions to the promotion, advancement and development of lifelong learning in Calgary.

So this year, when Megan sent out her call, I wanted to do something… and knew it had to be related to learning. As some of you know, I’ve been involved in a project to teach other learning professionals, non-profit organizations and small business people expand their educational program offerings using webinar and e-learning technology. It’s not much, but we have donated one set in our upcoming 5-Week Online “Build Your Own Webinar” Bootcamp.

These awards recognize an outstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Most importantly, the LOLAs recognize and celebrate individuals who work exceptionally hard… and do not always have the chance to shine in the limelight. This event is so inspiring precisely it celebrates those who dedicate themselves to a life of learning, not because they have to, but because they are driven by an insatiable passion to learn… and to share learning with others. It’s hard not to walk away from this event feeling elated.

That’s why I love going every year… and why we wanted to do our part to help. If you’re in Calgary on April 4 consider joining us. I guarantee you’ll leave inspired.

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


What Canadians who sell Kindle e-books need to know

March 27, 2012

This post is for all my Canadian author friends who sell – or are thinking of selling – their books as e-books using Amazon’s Kindle service.

I started selling Kindle books last year. This week, I got a surprise in the mail from Amazon, a “Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding”. Amazon will withhold 30% of the royalties they paid on the Kindle books. They are required to do this by the IRS.

However, those of us living and working in Canada are exempt from royalty tax withholding. As I understand it (and I could be wrong here, but this is what I have been able to ascertain from talking to both the Canada Revenue Agency and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the U.S.), the reason for the exemption is that if you are honest about your royalty income and report it at tax time, the Canadian government will tax you on that income. The level of that tax depends on your total annual income, but it would be reasonable to say that it might be around 30% or so.

When Amazon withholds the tax, you’re essentially taxed twice… 30% on the U.S. side and another 30% by the Canadian side, totaling about 60% tax.

So, the American and Canadian governments came to an agreement that more or less says, “Canadians are exempt from U.S. taxes on royalties because they have to pay tax on their income in Canada.” (Again… I am paraphrasing according to what I understand… and I could be wrong.)

However, a problem arises when Canadians sign up for a Kindle account. Canadian authors must “claim treaty benefits” in order to not be taxed by both the U.S. and Canadian governments. (No one tells you this when you sign up for a Kindle account.) You need to correctly fill out, sign and submit a W8-BEN form in order to claim these “treaty benefits”. You can get a W8-BEN form online form here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf

Amazon will not process the form without a TIN (Tax Identification Number).

There are two types of TINs:

Steps to follow:

  1. Figure out what type of TIN you need.
  2. Apply for the correct type of TIN with the IRS. You can do this over the phone, by mail or by fax. (Canadians are not eligible to apply for these numbers online.)
  3. Fill out the W8-BEN form. You must include either your ITIN or your EIN on your form or Amazon will not process it.
  4. Send your completed, signed form to Amazon. You can scan your form and e-mail it to them through the e-mail address they provide on their site.

Do all this as soon as you set up your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account. That means, do it before you make your first sale on Amazon. Do not wait! Get it done right away.

If you do not claim the correct treaty benefits using the W8-BEN form, Amazon will withhold tax. (They are just following the rules required by the IRS).

Then, you will need to fill out both a W8-BEN form AND an affidavit form to backtrack. (I am still waiting for confirmation that they will reimburse me for the taxes they withheld for 2011).

Today I spent over three hours on the phone with the IRS (much of the time I was on hold). In total, I spoke with nine different IRS agents to try and figure this all out. (No, I am not kidding).

Most of them could not help. What I can tell you is that there are two different sets of phone numbers to call. Americans can call the toll-free 1-800 number. The folks who answer those lines can’t help foreign nationals much. There are different numbers for foreigners to call. Today I called 1-267-941-1000 and eventually got through to someone who could help.

The best answer I got was “All this e-commerce stuff is new… We’re not trained in it… But basically, if you are a Canadian working and producing your writing in Canada, paying your taxes in Canada and you do not live in the US, you should be able to claim treaty benefits.”

The one question no one was able to answer clearly for me was, “If I have a TIN will I be required to file US taxes?” The best answer that came was, “Probably not, because you are claiming treaty benefits. You may have to fill out a form to claim exemption.” But whether or not this is actually the case remains to be seen…

My big disclaimer: I am not an expert in US taxes, or Canadian taxes either, for that matter. I claim no authority or expertise in these matters. This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only. I am simply sharing my own experience and what I learned as a result of it. It is your responsibility to do your own research and adhere to all the tax laws of your jurisdiction.

Resources for Canadian writers and publishers to check out:

W8-BEN Instructions

Article 901 – US Tax Treaties

IRS Publication 515

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Tomorrow’s free webinar on marketing literacy and language schools – Setting marketing goals, target markets, budgets

March 27, 2012

 

Join us tomorrow for the second in a series of ten free webinars on how to market and promote your literacy program or language school.

These webinars highlight different ideas from 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program. Every week you get practical, low-cost ideas to help you promote your program. Best of all, you’ll get to connect with others on line who are also interested in the same topic, ask questions and interact.

The webinars are  30 to 60 minutes in length. Bring a pen and paper. I’m going to give you lots of ideas you can implement right away.

Webinar #2 of 10 – What to expect

Tomorrow’s webinar will focus on:

  • How to set marketing goals
  • How to identify a target market
  • The difference between “end users” and “target market”
  • How to budget for marketing and promotion

There are some time zone changes coming up around the world, so double-check these times against your local area:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Point of origin – 14:00 (2:00 p.m.) Mountain Time, March 21, 2012 – Calgary / Edmonton

16:00 (4:00 p.m.) – Eastern Time – Toronto / New York

20:00 (8:00 p.m.) – Greenwich Time – London, England

22:00 (10:00 p.m.) – Eastern European Time – Athens / Istanbul

05:00 (5:00 a.m.) – following day – Japan Standard Time – Tokyo

To join the webinar, click here: http://meet11548754.adobeconnect.com/saraheaton/ — There is no need to register. These webinars are free and open to everyone. Seating is limited though, so sign on early.

I’ll record the and post it so you can view it later, too.

Here’s what we’ll cover in upcoming webinars:

Week #3 – Focus on benefits, writing marketing materials

Week #4 – Business cards, newsletters, signs and other communications

Week #5 – What makes people care about you. How to stand out from the crowd.

Week #6 – Specialty tips for programs at large institutions

Week #7 – Relationship marketing. The power of connections.

Week #8 – It’s how you make them feel. Adding personal touches that make all the difference

Week #9 – Effective follow up with your marketing and not giving up too soon.

Week #10 – Social media for marketing

All you have to do is block off Wednesdays in your calendar at your corresponding local time and then log in using the link above.

If you can’t make the webinar, and you’d like to ask a question about the topic, feel free to leave me a comment. I’ll do my best to answer questions that come in before the program during the webinar. You can watch the recording to get the answer to your question, or I’ll answer you back in the comment section.

Related posts:

Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program (#1) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1jF

101 Ways to Market Your Language Program (10 Free webinars) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1j6

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


A language teacher’s legacy (A year of inspired insights #8)

March 24, 2012

The phone rang in the Halifax apartment that I shared with my university roommate. I answered it and heard the voice of my favorite, cousin, Brian. He was calling to wish me a happy 22nd birthday.

Brian was not only my cousin, he was a lifelong mentor and personal hero. He was the first person in my entire extended family to have ever earned a bachelor’s degree. He had a degree in French. Not only did he have a degree, he had a degree in a foreign language. He also spoke Spanish and had travelled throughout Latin America and other parts of the world.

After getting his degree in French, Brian went on to teach English as a Second Language teacher at a CEGEP (college) in the small community of Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, Canada. As a language teacher, Brian was my first professional mentor. He knew that from an early age I wanted to be a teacher too and he encouraged me to pursue that dream.

A taste for adventure

Brian was a much-loved character in our family because of his adventurous nature, his playful sense of humour, an insatiable curiosity about the world around him and most of all, his willingness to try new things.

My mother once told me the story about a time she and might Dad had an argument. My Dad went out to clear his head. Brian happened to call and my Mom told him about the fight. He said, “I know what will make you feel better! I’ll bring over a pizza!”

Brian arrived some time later, with a fresh, hot pizza. As they sat down to eat it, Mom said, “It tastes funny. What’s on it.”

Brian grinned and said, “Octopus!”

Without thinking, she gagged and spit it out. Even though it was the 1970s and my parents did their fair share of experimenting, the idea of eating an octopus was too far out of her comfort zone.

Offended at what he perceived to her ingratitude for the delicacy, and lack of willingness to try new foods, Brian stood up, slammed the pizza box shut and then tucked it sideways under his arm as if it were a book and said, “There’s more to the world than pepperoni!” He too, then took his leave.

But he was easily forgivable and won others over easily. I often wonder if there is a gene in us that predisposes us to be willing to try new things. Like Brian, I have tried my fair share of exotic foods… everything from deep-fried Guatemalan ants to Alberta “prairie oysters” (bull testicles) and cajun alligator. I don’t mind octopus either, if it’s cooked properly.

A deadly secret revealed

Something in his voice on the phone that day didn’t sound right. He was serious, and Brian was almost never serious. “I know it’s your birthday,” he said. “And I am calling to wish you happy birthday, but I have to talk to you about something.”

“O.K.,” I said, sitting down.

“I am HIV positive.”

“What?” I asked, stunned.

Even though Brian had never officially “come out”, he had also never had a girlfriend or a wife. His private life was never a topic of conversation. His numerous trips around the world provided more than enough fodder for entertaining stories. His most recent trip, however, combined with his overly free spirit were to be his demise.

“Are you sure?” I asked, trying to process what I had just heard.

“Yes, I wouldn’t be calling you if I wasn’t sure. The test results are certain. I got it when I was in Thailand. I was stupid. I had unprotected sex.”

The conversation went on from there. It was the early 1990s… We knew about condoms, but their use was not as widespread as they are today. I had never met anyone before who was HIV positive or had AIDS. We cried together on the phone that day and promised to stay in more frequent contact.

Brian’s legacy

Our phone calls increased in frequency from a few times a year to once a month. There were no “phone plans” then. Every long distance call cost money. Brian knew I was a student, so he often initiated the calls. Nevertheless, I did not want to abuse his good nature and spent a fair amount of money on long distance calls, too.

A year later, I started teaching Spanish. I had no formal training as a teacher. I was a Master’s student and had been awarded a “Graduate Teaching Assistantship”. In the department where I studied, that meant I was given a textbook and a list of my students and told, “Go teach”.

In the first year of my teaching career I struggled to plan my lessons and engage my students. I often found myself at a loss for teaching activities that were interesting and purposeful. The textbook we used was not bad, but it contained only one or two activities for key concepts. My students needed more practice.

During one of our regular phone calls, I lamented, “This textbook we are using just doesn’t have enough activities. Do you have any ideas on how I can teach these basic language concepts?”

Brian replied with, “Sure I do! Don’t worry, textbooks often lack either activities or explanation. You get to fill in what the textbook lacks. That’s the fun part! I’ll send you a few ideas…”

The next week, a package arrived in the mail. Brian’s version of “a few ideas” was 75 or so exercises that he had created himself throughout his teaching career. Every activity included annotations about how what parts of speech it focussed on, how to set it up, how to lead the activity, how to evaluate it and how to connect the activity back to the language concept it addressed and how much time to allow for the activity in class.

He also included hand-written file cards as examples to use with the students. The activities included personal annotations such as, “This activity is good when students are low on energy.” or “Don’t use this one unless they already understand verbs in the preset tense.”

It was a treasure trove of knowledge, practical activities, insights and wisdom.

When the package arrived in the mail I called him and said, “Wow! This is incredible!”

Brian replied with, “Good, now try them and let me know how they work.”

“I do have one question though…” It seemed like an obvious question to me, but I needed to ask it. “You teach ESL. I teach Spanish. How are these going to work for me?”

He chuckled and said, “Some of them apply only to English, but most of them will work for any language. I learned some of them from my French professor in university. Try them. You’ll see…”

I put the activities to use immediately. Brian was right. The students responded well and the activities provided solid learning in an entertaining manner. I was thrilled.

Eventually the envelope that the activities had arrived in became tattered. I took the individual activity sheets, 3-hole punched them and put them into a binder. I still have that binder. Over the past 18 years of my teaching career, I have used every single activity at least once. I have used some of them so many times that I no longer have to refer back to the activity sheets. I just “know” them.

Brian passed away in 1995 from AIDS-related causes. His language learning activities became a staple resource for my professional teaching practice. As a young 20-something, it did not occur to me that he was leaving me his legacy. I was trying to navigate a new professional landscape. Brian not only gave me a map, he bestowed upon me a whole survival toolkit.

Inspired insights

Sarah Eaton speaker presenter keynote education literacyThe older I get the more I understand the importance of sharing what we have learned with those who are new to the profession. I have learned that excellent learning activities can often transcend individual languages. What works in ESL worked just as easily in Spanish (and apparently in French).

Too often, we divide ourselves professionally by the languages we teach. I have often wondered if this is due to language teachers’ own comfort speaking in the language they teach. Let’s face it, it is easier for native Japanese teachers to get together and do professional development in Japanese than it is for a number of people with a variety of languages to get together and share ideas in a common language (which is often English).

While I absolutely think it is important for language teachers to develop professionally and socialize in the languages they teach, I see no value in doing so at the expense of learning from other professionals who might teach a different language.

It is foolhardy to dismiss the validity or discount the wisdom of other teachers simply because they do not teach the same language as us. We have much to learn from one another as language teachers across the entire profession.

5 strategies to leave your own professional legacy

Ask yourself this: What legacy am I leaving? What have you learned over your career that could help others? Here are some simple strategies to capture those ideas, insights and activities.

1. Share your activities with other teachers.

The format is less important than the act of sharing. Whether they are hand-written notes, computer-printed worksheets you have created or digital activities, they are valuable and worth sharing.

2. Relate the activity to learning concepts.

An activity may be fun and engaging, but unless it relates in a functional way to a particular concept or language function, it has little pedagogical value. Help new teachers understand the “method behind the madness” by  making links between your activities and the language functions they support. Activities need to make sense and have clear links to content.

3. Add personal notes.

Have you ever seen a recipe book that is full-handwritten notes from the cooks who have actually tried the recipes? Maybe you have one of those cookbooks yourself. These notes add to the overall value of the actual step-by-step instructions because they share “insider’s tips” and knowledge that is only gained by actually going through the process yourself. Adding the notes personalizes the experience and helps others learn from what you yourself have lived.

4. Include ideas for evaluation or reflection.

In addition to knowing how an activity relates to a learning concept, it is also helpful to share ideas for evaluating it. Not every activity needs to be evaluated with a formal test or quiz. You can still increase a learner’s self-awareness of their learning with a simple reflection at the end of the activity. Sharing your ideas on how to effectively assess or reflect on a particular activity can be very helpful to others who are less familiar with the activity.

5. Share the best of your tried-and-true experience.

How many times have you tried an activity from a textbook and asked yourself, “Did the authors of this book even test this activity before they put it in their book?”

Leaving a legacy isn’t about sharing what you think would work. It is about sharing what has worked — and passing on the wisdom of what you learned from it. If you haven’t personally tested it, leave it out. Let someone else who has tried it share it. Your legacy is about sharing your authentic, lived experience and wisdom.

What are you leaving to the next professional generation?

 Related posts:

A year of inspired insights #7: What to do when a student hates technology

A year of inspired insights #6: You can raise me up: The lasting impact of a teacher’s words

A year of inspired insights #5: When reason falls on deaf ears

A year of inspired insights #3: Servant leadership in the scullery

A year of inspired insights #2: Conversations change everything

A year of inspired insights #1: There’s a silver lining in every ambulance

My 2012 resolution project: A year of inspired insights

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Share or Tweet this post: A language teacher’s legacy (A year of inspired insights #8) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1jZ

If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Living, loving and learning languages – An appreciation event for language teachers and literacy tutors

March 23, 2012

Today at the University of Calgary I’m doing a presentation for language teachers and literacy tutors. It is not a research talk, but rather an appreciation event that takes a light-hearted look at teachers, tutors and other instructors who work in informal, non-formal and formal language learning contexts and how we can build the profession — and help our students — by collaborating, rather than competing.

If you are in Calgary, please join us!

Language Research Centre, D-419

University of Calgary

2500 University Dr. NW

Calgary, Alberta

2:00 – 2:55 p.m.

View this document on Scribd

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Share or Tweet this post: Living, loving and learning languages – An appreciation event for language teachers and literacy tutors

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If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program (#1)

March 22, 2012

We had the first of 10 webinars today on how to market your language or literacy program. Here’s the recording of the first 30-minute program:

Join us next week for Class #2. It will focus on setting marketing goals, allocating resources and budgeting. Get more details here.

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Share or Tweet this post: Webinar recording: 101 Ways to Market Your Language and Literacy Program (#1) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1jF

If you are interested in booking me (Sarah Eaton) for a presentation, keynote or workshop (either live or via webinar) contact me at sarahelaineeaton (at) gmail.com. Please visit my speaking page, too.


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