Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy

Part I/Part II/Part III/Part IV/Part V/Part VI

Mojada, part VII

By Angie Sánchez

By the time I reached high school I was fluent in English, however, I had a little bit of an accent.  I knew the language now but I did not know what high school was all about.  My parents had no idea what high school was.  They knew I was supposed to attend but that is it. I did not realize that high school was going to be big stepping stone into my future.  I knew that after High School, College was next and that was it.  I learned about college and the possibility of me attending one day through my friend who was a senior at the time and she was taking a course at the community college. She was planning to attend Northern Illinois University.  I did not have sufficient information on the classes I needed to take or how important my grade point average was going to be.  I was never able to ask my parents for help because they did not know the education system and how things worked.   Since I had enrolled in school they had never been able to help with any of my school work much less help me pick out classes.  My parents have a third grade level education.  They may not be educated but they work hard to provide for us.

I went to a high school that at first glance was probably like any other. The only problem was that it was over populated and it was poorly funded.  Of the three levels of classes that my school had I was put in the lowest.  This was done to “help” me.  It didn’t.  A class that I had freshmen year was the worst class I have ever taken in my life. It was reading, but it was designed to help out students who weren’t reading at the level they were supposed to be at and for those whose writing skills were below average.  What I still don’t understand is how was writing a 10 page children’s book with two sentences on each page suppose to help us? The book that I wrote in that class a third grader could have done.  There was nothing challenging about that course. One thing is for the teacher to take his time teaching but another is to assign activities that will not stimulate your brain. This was like being held back. I would ask some of my friends what it was that they were doing in their classes and nothing that they were doing compared to the crap my teacher had us doing.

I should point out that one of the reasons kids are put in such courses is because Spanish is our first language. The assumption is made that if Spanish is your first language you will not be successful in higher level courses. During my junior year we had to take the ACTs and SATs and I had no clue as to how important they actually were.  I thought they were just more exams that the state wanted us to take.  I remember that a lot of the students were freaking out about those tests. Not enough information was given out to the students who were in the lower level classes.  I had friends and teammates who would mention their teachers passed out information but none of my teachers ever did to me or my classmates.

To be continued…

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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