Saturday, March 16, 2013

Perspective: ESL Student

To celebrate Adult Education Week, our ESL students competed in an essay contest,
"How Has San Mateo Adult School Helped You?" 

Here is one of the winning essays, shared anonymously but with permission from the author.

There were a lot of beginnings in my life such as beginning to a new job or just a new hobby.   Most of the beginnings were exciting, and made me happy, but how about beginning to live in a different country?  It is not easy as it sounds.  It is not easy not to be part of a society or just living without family or friends.  I wouldn’t be really that happy if I haven’t had this experience with Adult School.  Life is really tough for everyone.  I left my parent’s house when I was fourteen, and I had lost my hope about living without fighting or sadness, but this beginning has changed my life.  Adult School has helped me to get back the hope, and teachers made me feel that I’m in my home again, and they teach me how to speak just like my parents did.

Life is tough for everyone.  Sometime it can be really hard to believe everything is going to be okay when we have really serious problems.  Life brings us so many different difficulties.  Some of us has family problems.  Some of us have health problems.  Some of us have economic problems, and there are more and more problems in our world.  Everybody tries to solve the problem as much as they can.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work all the time.  Sometime we just see there is no solution.  Consequently, we accept and live with the problem.  Yes, it is not like that all the time.  Sometimes we might find the solution when we don’t have any hope.  The answer just can appear in front of us.  However, the answer didn’t appear in front of me, but teachers showed to me. Believing to live the life that I want instead of accepting the life that I have to life wasn’t easy for me.  I was always ambitious about finishing college.  I was so close to finishing it in my country, but I had to leave.  I thought, I will never have that opportunity again.  I couldn’t believe that I will be able to study in English and work at the same time in such a country.  It was a far possibility for me to feeling comfortable in English.  AS you read I have learned a lot, and I just didn’t hear from what my teachers said, also I saw in their eyes that I can learn that language, and I can support myself.  Furthermore, I can be in a college and study.  That is my silver lining now, not just work and live, also create the life I want.

I had to live far from my family for a long time even before I came to the U.S.  I really missed someone who not just talk sincerely, also who share their happiness with others until I have met the teachers in Adult School.  Being with teachers and having chance to meet all the great student and being more than a friend with them was and will be one of the best experiences in my life.  A home usually has the feeling that makes you happy and feel that you don’t want to leave.  That is what I have felt in Adult School for four semesters, and I don’t really want to leave.  I wish Adult School has more levels, and these more levels would have taught marketing or accounting and more.  Then, I just could have stayed here and study more and more.  I haven’t seen or heard that kind of school that makes student want to come and stay longer.  I believe Adult School is a door for the people who need help or a helping hand from a friend to the others.  It would be way more harder without getting such a help just like getting from a family.

It is really hard to live without knowing the language of the county you are living in, when you don’t know how to ask something or understand people, basically you are becoming a disabled person.  Even simple duties becoming painful, such as shopping or paying bills.  Furthermore, you are becoming a needy person because you have to have someone to go somewhere or speak with someone.  I was the person that I described, and Adult School took me from there, and taught me not only language also the culture of U.S.  I know it takes a long time to really understand a culture and be comfortable in, but adult School does its job really well.  Now I’m really far from when I was before in English language, also understanding the culture.  I’m able to understand mostly everything in a daily life.  I can explain myself easily without leaving any confusion in other’s mind about what I really want.  I’m not having any problem filling out any application.  I know there are a lot of to learn in English, but I’m happy about the place I have reached until now.

Now I believe there is hope in my future.  Adult School is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  It became my friend, my teacher and my family.  I couldn’t imagine a better thing while I was beginning to live such a country.  I will always remember what I have experienced when I began to live in this country and in the Adult school.  I hope and want to keep all these feelings and one day return to people who need help in a way that I haven’t thought about.


1 comment:

  1. I was fortunate enough to have attended school (K-12) at a bilingual school system. Being in Puerto Rico, where both English and Spanish are commonly spoken, I never truly appreciate how valuable my dual-language education was until I moved to Texas to teach. While my students, 4th graders, grasp their 2nd language (English) quite well, it is their parents that have shared the hardships they face because of the language barrier.

    A common theme in my conversation with parents is the fear of communicating in English. However, when I ask them if they would be willing to attend adult ESL classes, the usual answer is "yes". Supportive and understanding teachers that believe in them and relate to them may hold the key to improving the lives of adult ESL learners.