We sometimes say things that we don't realize exactly what we're saying, "How far along are you?" "Oh, I'm not pregnant!" My close friend gets asked frequently, "Where did you get your children?" Her husband is from India and since she is blonde, her kids couldn't possibly be hers. So when I hear people indirectly talk ignorantly about my students, I attempt to be forgiving. Being in Southern California, apparently, several are annoyed with the Spanish speaking population out here. "They should learn how to speak English. I would learn how to speak Spanish if I went to Mexico." I would like to ever-so-calmly ask, "How many Americans learn Spanish when they take a trip to Mexico?" If they did, there would be a whole lot of bilingual speakers in this country.
Instead of going on and on...let me give you some insight about the lives of my students.
Many of them were born in Mexico and at home, only Spanish is spoken. Their parents struggled to get here, to have the same opportunity that we were lucky enough to be born into. Their parents work very hard, for a salary that they can barely survive on. They want the best for their child, and more than anything, several of them want to be able to help their child, but they can't because they don't know how. How can they explain English grammar? If they work hard all day and take these so-called classes to learn English at night...when do you suppose they should help their children with their school work? Or when should they spend time with their family? I majored in Spanish in college, and after 43 credit hours (4 years), attending school in Mexico, translating at numerous conferences and in conversations with parents, I am still not comfortable with speaking Spanish. It takes a normal person 7-8 years to acquire a new language. So when my students show significant growth in their language development, I jump for joy! And so do they! And so do their parents.
I love teaching my students, because they work so hard and appreciate what I have to offer. Unfortunately, I am not sure even my own girls appreciate a good education. Hopefully you're not one to put minorities into a "category," but before you do, think..."What would the world be like if we were all exactly the same?" Pretty boring.