My grandmother sends a gentle smile my way as she proceeds to try and enroll me into the school as kids my age talk at me in a language I don’t understand, “what?” is all I can say. The lady shakes her head at my grandmother and quickly steals a glance at me, I hear my grandmother let out a heavy sigh as she walks to me and grabs my hand. We walk out the door, leaving my confusion behind. Soon enough, Spanish became the only language I spoke while I stayed in Santo Domingo with my grandmother.
I get back to NYC after a year of living in Dominican Republic. Confused yet again as people around me speak words that mean nothing to me. My mother embraces me in the airport and speaks at me in words I can’t make out. “Que?” I say, my mother looks at me in utter confusion and then realizes that I can’t understand English. I remember thinking, “porque mamá se ves asustada?” as I spoke to her in fluent Spanish. She accepted that I needed time and spoke to me in Spanish until it was time to enroll me in school. Once I got into school, I was thrown into a classroom where no one but my soon to be friend, Yessica, knew Spanish. She was my age, and she struggled to translate what was being said. I mean, she was just a kid, how much could she do for me? She tried her best and still had trouble. No doubt I was struggling to firmly grasp the material that was being shoved down my first-grader throat. I couldn’t properly understand Englsih yet but the school system didn’t seem to care. All they wanted to do was force the Spanish out of me as soon as they could, no matter how hard I struggled. Sooner or later English made itself my first language again and Spanish became a thing of the past.
Being thrown into a classroom with no one but a little girl to help me understand what was going on sure wasn’t easy. Understanding a language I forgot without help at my age was hard to say the least. It was a mission getting me to understand the books that were read to us during reading time, and it was a mission getting me to participate when my friend was the one translating what the teacher was saying to me. I couldn’t read what was on the board, I couldn’t answer the questions that were thrown at me. It was like I was a foreigner in my own city. It’s unbelievable how the school placed me into that classroom—knowing I only knew Spanish. While other Hispanic kids were placed in classes with Spanish teachers that helped them learn Englsih, I was struggling to learn in an all English class because I “didn’t look Hispanic enough” to need the help. Instead of helping me improve on my Spanish reading and writing while helping me learn English clearly wasn’t the school’s priority when it came to me. Other kids got the opportunity to expand on both their English and Spanish, I was stuck in a classroom that only had room for the English language. Forcing out my Spanish was harsh and cruel for a first grader, they only cared about making English the only language I spoke as they knowingly placed me in a classroom where no teacher spoke Spanish. But it worked. Soon enough I spoke less and less Spanish, since there was no need for me to speak it in an all English classroom.
Later on in middle school, I was placed into French class when I had asked for Spanish class. Their excuse was, “you already speak Spanish, it wouldn’t be fair to those who didn’t speak it. It’s better if you take French.”. This startled me, so what if I knew Spanish? I only knew how to speak it. I couldn’t properly read it or write it. This went on for the rest of my middle school years; same problem different school year. Each year they found a way to word their excuse differently. Highschool came and I gave up asking for Spanish class when I was French class on my schedule again. What was the point of asking if I knew their response? It got tiring, by then I had already used common sense to teach myself Spanish reading and writing. I was so fed up with the school’s excuses and I was tired of using their excuse not to better myself, I began to read my friends’ Spanish class work to not only help them, but to help myself. I used their work to learn and to help them learn as well. I taught while being taught. It was an extravagant experience to learn and help teach, it was so astounding. Now here I am in college, with the Spanish reading and writing skills I managed to teach myself through common sense and friends’ Spanish work. I may not be perfect in reading and writing, but I am confident with my skills.
Social media has been able to take away people’s social life nowadays, but as far as for me my only way of communicating how I feel is through my journal. My journal has really became my safe haven. I had gone through one of the most traumatic experience in my life. I thought I had real friends at one point in middle school, friends who are going to be supportive and not turn their backs against me. In middle school I had three friends. We started off as great and had no worries but one of the girls who seemed like the group leader of our friendship became jealous of me. She started throwing subliminals at me and the other two friends laugh along with her. Instead of being my friends like I thought they where they became my bullies.
At first, I ignored their mean comments ;I also kept my distance from them. Yet, they never stopped bothering me and making me feel like an outcast. I was upset and I decided to confront them. The confrontation did not end well. It turned into a fight and it was three against one. This fight was a traumatic experience because my hair extensions were pulled out along with my natural hair. Not only was my hair pulled out but I had no one to talk to after the altercation. I was lonely and it felt like as I walked through the hallways I felt judged and uncomfortable . My English teacher saw that I was not the same as I was before the fight and she realized I had no friends. I also used to participate in class alot but I stopped completely and I became silent. My teacher spoke with me one day after class and recommended I write everyday in my journal about how I felt and how my day went.
The journal, may have been the best thing that ever happened to me. I was able to write about how angry ,happy and miserable I was, without the feeling of being judged by anyone. I had also improve my social skills and began expressing myself more in class without fear. I never cared about those girls anymore and they were surprised that I was also able to make new friends who respected me. In the end, writing helped me express my feelings that was harbored inside my head for too long.
My name is Jae Rose and I was born in kings county hospital May 3.2001. My mom and dad are role models for me because they always push me to be great. Reading in general was my weakness. I hated reading. My parents notice this from when I was young even my English teachers.From young, my parents helped me be better at reading. On weekends they would make me read a news day article from the daily news and make me summarize it . Another way they helped me sharpened my skills was learning new vocabulary words. My mom would select 10 words from a dictionary and then I I would have to know how to spell, know the meaning, and how to use it in the dictionary every week. As time went on I started to get 80s and higher on my report card. Reading and writing has played a big part in my life so far. From my elementary days to now.Many different things shaped and influenced my learning and now reading and writing have become a big part of my life. As life goes on I would hope to develop these skills even more and become an expert at it
Junior year, I had the option of taking a Spanish class or French class, it was a no brainer which one I would obviously select but little did I know my Spanish was very imperfect. Growing up I honestly do not remember which language I spoke first because I was mute, I refused to learn how to speak but I knew that Spanish was never my strong suit, sure I knew how to say things but it was never anything complex. I remember taking a Spanish class in Junior year, thinking it would be easy but I struggled not with reading but mainly with writing and sometimes speaking. It felt kind of embarrassing, although I knew Spanish I would always ask my friends Jessica and Ana for help. I feel like I just don’t get enough practice and so with time I started losing my accent and begin to stumble on words or give up and say what I meant in English instead of Spanish whenever I talk to my mother. I knew that this Spanish class was gonna be helpful for me but I definitely took it for granted, I would sit in the back of the class and fool around with my friends and make jokes not realizing I should’ve paid attention to the lesson knowing it would be beneficial. My family members would text me in Spanish and yes I understand it but I never know what to write simply because I don’t know how to say a lot of things in Spanish. Even having conversations on the phone I wouldn’t say much to a family member because I don’t want them knowing my Spanish isn’t as good as theirs, I would love to communicate with them more but I get frustrated and instead have my mom or my sister translate to them.
I was born in Georgetown, Guyana and lived there for 8 years then I came to the U.S. with my mom and my sister. We moved to Brooklyn first to live with my Aunt and that’s where I started my first school year in America. I had been placed in the 3rd grade and I was far behind my classmates when it came to any of the subjects, my worst class was English. In my country we speak an English based creole with African American and East Indian syntax, so it was hard for my teachers and classmates to understand me, it was also hard for me to understand them. My country’s educational system wasn’t as good as Americas, so I wasn’t prepared to see how much harder English was in America than in my country. I was failing all my classes with 50’s and 60’s and what made it worse was that, that same year we moved to Florida where I would have to start over again meeting new people and learning English a different way because no two teachers teach the same. I was happy though because we moved in with my Aunt and she’s a teacher so she would help me with my homework, and she made me become better at reading and writing. As a child my favorite book to read was “Dragon Slayers Academy” by Kate Mcmullan and “Charlotte’s Webs” by E.B. White. At first it was difficult reading these books, but as I kept on reading I was beginning to understand what was going on in the story and create a clear picture in my head. This helped me improve my reading and my writing, as well as my English which enabled me to talk to my teachers when I needed help and also make new friends.
I chose this text because out of all of the text that we have read in class this was the one that I felt connected to and can correlate it with my own personal experience. Based on the text Amy tan showed her mother’s level of english and her inability to express herself in English. She also showed how her mother’s language has influenced her academically and socially. Even though Amy tan was chinese American, this is a text that every child coming from a minority household can relate to. I made my emphasis on the time when Amy’s mother went to the hospital but based on her lack of English and struggling to Express herself the doctors and the nurses did not even take her serseriou as compared to where amy intervened. They showed Amy more respect ,apologized and assured her that the cat scan will be found soon. This clearly show that people are treated some kind of way when they can’t Express themselves in perfect English. People turn to avoid them regardless of their age or ethnic group. The text is a typical example, they showed amy more respect than her mother. I have experienced similar situation with my mother and sister. We moved from Africa to reside with my father in the United states. Unfortunately my mother waa not familiar with the English language so my sister was forced to move around with my mother whenever she has an appointment and orientation. She always said she wish she had her education before moving to the United states. We clearly understand where she was coming from because she lost her parents at a very young age so she was introduced into trade and traveling in other to support herself. She later moved to her elder sister’s house but still didn’t get the opportunity to study in school. She gets very emotional every time she shares her childhood stories with us . My sister receives all her business and professional calls. Recently she came up with the idea of speaking English at home so that she can learn from us. We started speaking English at home and corrected her everytime she made a mistakes. We became her personal teacher and taught her how to read. During the past few years , we have experienced some growth in her vocabulary and her level of confidence. She now goes outside by herself without my sister assisting her in applications or appointments also she seems happier whenever she goes outside to even purchase an item at at our local deli. In the past few years she felt intimidated whenever someone approached us with English. She was always shy and avoided contact with people. Surprisingly we realized that she can remember things for along period of time. She learns very fast and always pressure us to teach her something new.
Standing in front of a courtroom with an immense amount of eyes watching my every move and ears listening to any possible mistakes that may be made. Standing in front of a judge, who was actually just a practicing attorney, the power they still possessed over me and the validation they owned I needed and wanted in return. This was my thought process during my mock trial competition my first year. During practice I needed to write my own direct and cross examination for the case we were competing as well as an opening. Needing to be aware of the proper legal terminology to use to sound like I knew what I was talking about required me to learn. Words and phrases that were being used that I was not aware of which made me feel unfit and in over my head to be able to succeed in this competition and overall field. I would go on quizlet and review certain terms that were frequently used such as the different types of objections and certain wording that was more proper to use when determining what was needed in the case whether it was civil or criminal. I would go over the terms constantly until I remembered what they meant and how they are supposed to be used. During practice I would have to focus on many different aspects of the language I used having to emphasis every point. Not being aware of these terms put me at a disadvantage since it was my first year competing and everyone else on the team had experience from the previous year. This discouraged me at first because of my struggle to learn these phrases for the first time when it was just a refresher for everyone else.
It was senior year and for English, all the students needed to write a ten page Research Paper in order to graduate. The Research Paper was based on any topic of the students choice and everyone picked a topic close to their hearts. I choose to write about climate change, in a total of 13 pages (including work cited). At first, ten pages were just too much, too hard to achieve. As I started to write down all of the causes and effects, solutions and ways to prevent climate change, it was brought to my attention that throughout my writing, I was doing pretty good. Even though I was moving at a steady pace, I still needed to do more work on my paper. In class, the teacher would add and make notice that students needed to use full words because the paper was to be formal. I didn’t know that words little “didn’t” or can’t, couldn’t be used. It felt kind of weird in a way because those words have been apart of my vocabulary in both writing and in vocal conversations for along time. On the bright side changing all of those fragment words like couldn’t, made my paper a little longer in order to meet the page requirement. Of the use of fragment words in my vocabulary, I started to think if speaking or writing with fragment words, meant that I wasn’t using proper English. With that, if I expressed my opinion about something, does it matter as much as another person expressing their thoughts in complete words? Questioning myself has been something I’ve been doing for a long time.
One of my experiences with reading and writing was this one time in my english 12 class we had to write an 8 page essay about the way we think about today’s government.It was basically our final exam in that class, I remember how I felt very under pressure because if i didn’t hand it in time.All of the hard work that I did in that class wouldn’t pay off. We had to hand it in less than four days so I started researching things about today’s government and learned a lot of new things and current situations happening around that time that I was making my final exam . I started being very self aware of my capability to read and write because i was so intrigued in this passage I found on the internet .At first it was a bummer to me because I didn’t want to write that much but i learned that you must get yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes and do what you have to do .This assignment made me open my eyes even more because you can learn new things just by reading a book or newspaper etc. Now in this day and age i like the concept of learning new things especially when it can help in future situations . I learned a wide spread of new vocabulary just by doing my assignments in english class and other classes. I remember when I handed it in, I was so happy and proud of myself that I completed my task.
Shamefully holding up a fake smile just to point out that “I’m not hurt,” to show everyone else that having a lisp wasn’t really a problem and that their jokes and laughs didn’t effect me, but it did. Growing up I was always know as different wanting to interact with people and always answering the teachers questions, but still somehow always quiet. I kinda was in a rare condition where I wanted to be alone at times but I didn’t at the same time, creating strong friendships and short and unwelcome friendships that impacted my life drastically. It was one day in class which I was participating like there was no tomorrow showing different emotions depending if I got something right or if I got something wrong. Throughout the day my teacher wanted everyone in the class to take turns reading, and since everyone had assigned seats based off their last name I happened to be the last person reading. There was only 2 pages remaining so I didn’t feel pressured at all until the moment I had to pronounce words such as “Ship,Time,Thought and Choose.” These words had such a strong impact on me at the time because of my lack of ability to pronounce words correctly due to my strong lisp. Hearing laughter after one mistake push shivers down my back and caused my hands to shake, having eyes glued to my face forced me to lose my train of though causing more and more mistakes.