Hi, I am your teacher Halima. I am like you. I wasn’t born into an English speaking family or go to English school at a very young age. I started learning English at the age of 8. I came to England at that age and had to learn the language as a beginner.
I am sitting in Starbucks in London, England drinking a cappuccino, thinking about my journey as an ESL student. Where I started and where I am now.
I want to take you back to September 1994. The year I started school. I came to a new country as a refugee with my Family. We had nothing. All I remember was moving from house to house and never settling down before that. We were lucky enough to be given a house with three bedrooms. We were a family of 7. Every single thing was new to us.
I remember going to school and wanting to learn everything in a single day. I wanted to know the name of everything and how to talk to everyone. However, soon the lack of language affected my other subjects. I started to feel resentment towards school. It Things went from bad to worse.
I remember one particular day at 13 years of age. I was in science class, and the teacher asked me a question, and I felt like I knew the answer, so I eagerly put up my hand to answer it. Students around me laughed, and I couldn’t understand why. It turned out that I misread the question wrong. That moment never left, and it still haunts me sometimes even now.
So you see, I know what it feels like to be you. I know the struggles you went through trying to understand. I know how stupid I felt all those years ago when my English level measured my intelligence.
Act now, don't wait another day.