Teaching Newcomers An Old Language

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For years, many families from Latin America have arrived to the U.S. searching for work, education, and freedom from oppression, poverty, and at times Communism in the case of Cuba. So many are not able to speak English, but at Springville Junior High School, English and English as a second Language teacher Mrs. Mary Rice wants to make a difference and help Hispanics learn English and not suffer in the American life.

“If you are an ESL student, you come to a place called school every day and spend about six hours with people your own age who are talking and communicating with each other,” said Mrs. Rice.  Students who are in ESL at Springville Junior High are learning English but also learning to socialize with each other; students sometimes find it hard to completely learn the new language but most of them pull through and they learn the basic vocabulary in a 3-5 year period.

"During this time, students can also learn to speak without an accent or minimal traces," said Mrs. Rice.  Not all students will learn English fluently like others who have lived in the United States for most of their lives, but it is possible and kids have to want to learn and learn successfully, and just stay out of trouble.

"It is easy to think that children who came to this country do so voluntarily, but that is  almost never the case," said Mrs. Rice.  Most Hispanic children come here do to difficult situations in there home country, while some kids choose to get an education and grow, others decide to take the wrong road by choosing gangs, drugs, prostitution and so on.  Some Hispanic kids choose to do these things over getting an education.
Every student that decides to join Springville Junior High to learn and grow is welcome.  Mrs. Rice knows this and is willing to help all her students so they are ready to tackle life head on.


Jose Martinez, SJHS Staff Writer