Non-ESOL Classes Difficult for Some ESOL Students

     At Blair High School there are many ESOL students who feel uncomfortable being in non-ESOL classes. Some of those classes are geometry, biology, horticulture, and government.
Some of these classes are more difficult because of the complicated words they use. “I don’t even know some words in my own language. I know even less in English,” Jacqueline, a 12th grade student said.
     Many of the students are in ESOL level 3 or 4, but they still think that those classes are hard. “In those classes there are no ESOL students who I can talk to. [If we are] students together, we can help each other,” she added.
Sometimes there is an environment with too much tension for ESOL students. There are students and teachers who sometimes make fun of the students’ accents or mistakes that they make. “Sometimes I’m afraid to give my own opinion because I don’t like anybody to laugh at me, ” one student said.
     There are students that are so afraid of those non-ESOL classes that they stop coming to school. “I don’t like not understanding anything in my classes and being afraid that my teacher will ask me something I can’t answer,” said a senior who did not want her name used. “My non-ESOL classes are so difficult for me that I chose the option to not go to school anymore.”
     But not all the ESOL students are complaining about their classes. Some of them like to be in regular English classes because they have a new experience, learning new words. Also they improve their English skills, speaking it, understanding it, and writing it better. According to senior Maria Torres, “Being in regular classes is a way to show my English skills about how have I learned English during the time I have been here.”
But some students take more time doing the work in those classes and they are still having problems. Some teachers give students a lot of help. “I encourage them to come for academic support so I can work with them individually,” said Ms. Goldberg, a biology teacher who has many ESOL students in her classes.
     Fortunately ESOL students have the support from their teachers or go to the ESOL academic support. ESOL students hope that someday, they will be able to have perfect English pronunciation, understanding and writing. “In the future I won’t need a bilingual dictionary next to my hand,” Fatima hopes.

© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2004 (This page was created by Sarah Bucknor)