The EL department is more than the people think…

Kimberly Dayana Aplicano Soriano, Reporter

The EL (English Learner) department is the fastest growing department in Palatine High School.

This community is formed by people who have a common goal in the wish to speak English. The EL department is built not just by Latinos but also people from other continents like Asia, Europe, etc. That is one of the most interesting things about it!

Before EL (English Learner) it was called ESL (English as a Second Language) but was changed because in EL there are students that speak more than 2 languages. Also, not just students, teachers, too. For example, Sladjana Acic is a teacher assistant from Croatia and she speaks 6 languages: Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Russian, English and some Spanish.

“English was the hardest language to learn because of spelling and grammar and pronunciation,” Acic said.

Imagine having all your classes in English and learning English at the same time. This is why most students need the assistance of the TA in their class. Most of the students cannot even get help from their parents because their parents do not speak English.

“When I moved to the United States,” Acic said. “It was really hard because I had children and I was teacher in my country, but here I could not help them.”

That is one of the many cases the people who moved to another country face. That’s why the EL department is something that helps many.

“Now I speak 2 languages. I was born in Mexico and when I came to the United States, here is where I learned English,” Jose Zepeda, an English learner teacher, said.

This is an example of progress. It is inspiring to see how someone started to learn English and now that person is teaching others who have gone through the same process like Zepeda.

“I like working in this department because it motivates me and reminds me a lot when I was there,” Zepeda was in a program kind of like EL called  “pull out.”

When he started to learn English he said there were not many people who spoke Spanish. He was 10 years old.

“That was a situation like ‘you need to learn or you need to learn,’” Zepeda said.

Hearing these kinds of stories is something that motivates students to want to keep going to learn other languages .

“I will learn Spanish because I’ve already started with my friends in school and of course I like spending time with people from other countries it’s good experience for me and these guys are really interesting,” sophomore Karyna from Belarus said.

Sometimes being  in classes that are just with people who doesn’t speak to much English can be good and bad at the same time when you are learning a new language because  sometimes you get used to speaking your language more and you practice it only with people who don’t speak your language and this is a great way to practice.

“I like spend time with people who grow up in my origin country because they tell me about how is the life or is funny to know that something that your parents told you they can  help you to know about your own culture,” A freshman student from United States with Mexican roots said.

“When I was entering junior high I decided to take a Spanish class because I noticed it was falling behind compared to my English. I was placed in a regular Spanish class because Spanish for Native Speakers was not offered but I enjoyed it because I was able to help my classmates. In helping my classmates I found myself understanding different grammatical rules even more”

“I think it is great to share and know other cultures with people who also speak your language, but sometimes you can feel excluded,” junior Melany Rodriguez, from Ecuador, said

But at the same time, the language should not be a limit to learning and participating at the same level as native English speakers.

Many students said that their country has a harder education system and in my own experience I think that is right sometimes is complicated for the language because you need to do both things at the same time you are learning a language that you don’t know very well and understand the subject it’s a challenge for you.

Sometimes people think that just because you don’t speak fluent the language that makes you someone lazy when you can be very smart but the people have this stereotype. Just because someone still has a hard time knowing how to express themselves in a language that is not their language, do not think that they are less than you for that reason they cannot know math, science and other things? They are like everyone.