Ha is from Vietnam. She's been here in the United States for two years and she is still learning English. When she was in her country, she had never studied English. She just studied Vietnamese, math and other things. English in her country was not important because they don't use it to talk to the people.
Now she's in the U.S.A., so she has to learn English because she has to use it to find a good job and so that it's not difficult for her and her family, when they need help.
She has been studying English in Blair High School for a couple of years. She's in 11th grade. She has made a lot friends, but when they get together, they speak Vietnamese. She said, "English is not too difficult and not too easy, but my language is easier." Even though she says English is not too difficult, when she studies English, she still has trouble reading. She also has trouble understanding when people talk.
Sometimes she doesn't understand what the teacher is talking about and the English words are difficult for her. Sometimes the teacher talks very fast and when the teacher asks her a question, she doesn't know what to do. She wants to ask her classmates who are from this country, but they talk too fast just like the teacher and she is afraid to ask them because her English is not good and sometimes they don't understand her. This make her feel embarrassed and maybe the classmates will laugh at her.
Ha's sister Houng feels the same way as Ha. "I have a lot of new faces in my class," she said. "I feel scared. When we have lab work to do, and I don't understand what I'm supposed to do, I feel embarrassed to ask my teacher and my classmates," she said. But she knows she has to ask for help if she wants to get a good grade in her class.
Ms. Jane Winter, is an English teacher. She said, "If my students don't understand in my class, they have to ask." If they feel shy or afraid, she hopes they will talk to her after class or write a note to her.
Ha's goal is to be a doctor. "So I have to study hard and if I don't understand I have to ask for help," she said. If not she's going to fail her class and she doesn't want to do that. She knows she cannot be scared and afraid to ask her teachers for help. But she knows that for her, it's easier to say that than to do it.