Tatiana’s first experience of school in the U.S. was one of fights, knives, and exclusion from being an English learner. She started high school, and the feelings of getting judged because of her accent made her not talk to anyone who didn’t speak Spanish. Learning English was too difficult for her and she couldn’t graduate.
Not having a high school diploma left her with little options. As Tatiana started working as a house cleaner. She worked until 2 weeks before her due date. “I have back pains now and then, my wrists hurt.” The wear of her work lingers and her English speaking didn’t improve by talking to clients.
She watched TV broadcasts and listened to hosts talk, that’s how she wished to speak English.
After having her son she felt the desired to learn a skill. She went to a pharmacy and luckily got a job as a cashier at the drug pickup section. She was teased by one of her co-workers because of her thick accent. He would mimic her accent. Tatiana still kept on with her duties. After four months she started to answer phone calls.“It’s the hardest part” she says. She tries to use appropriate language to talk to doctors and it takes time for her to get thoughts out. There can be silence that becomes uncomfortable.
She has been working stably at this job and feels more comfortable taking on responsibilities. Tatiana is proud and feels capable. She is now wanting to go back to school, and study to be a pharmacist. She is wanting to speak “perfect English.”
– Vicky A.