Accessibility Navigation:

Interview with Adriana Loya

Loya, Adriana
Gee, Jodi
Date of Interview: 
cultural idenitification
Adriana Loya talks about education in Mexico.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jodi Gee interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
JG (Jodi Gee): ( ) Four, two thousand three, interviewing Adriana Loya about, uh, language assesments. Uh, when is your birthday?
AL (Adriana Loya): Uh, August 28th.
JG: And how old are you?
AL: 32.
JG: And you are originally from // Mexico? //
AL: // Mexico. //
JG: Um, have you ever lived in another country besides Mexico and the // United States? //
AL: // No, I have not. //
JG: And how long have you lived in the United States?
AL: Uh, about six months, but I, I lived for three years before, a three year period before, so in total it will be like three years and, and a half or so.
JG: OK. And how long in the Charlotte area?
AL: About six months.
JG: About six months? And native language is // Spanish. //
AL: // Spanish. //
JG: And any other langu-, languages besides Spanish and English?
AL: No, ( ), I do not.
JG: And, uh, what is, uh, your education level?
AL: Bachelor degree.
JG: Bachelors?
AL: Uh-huh.
JG: And what was that in?
AL: Arts.
JG: Arts? And, you are an ESL teacher?
AL: [Laugh] [Long pause]
JG: OK, um, the first question is, uh, about, how old were you when you started to learn English?
AL: 17.
JG: Sev-, 17?
AL: Yes.
JG: Did you start when you were in school or outside the school or-?
AL: In school, I, yeah, uh, first when I was in middle school, in high school, I took the, you know, the normal language classes that you would take usually, uh, anywhere you are within the school, but that doesn't count really because the classes were not very good quality, so I didn't learn // very much-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -Just, you know, like, very common vocabulary and that's it, but then when, then I decided to become an English teacher, so I went to college and, at 17, and then it was when I started to getting my formal, you know, classes and learning about grammar and phonics and all of that.
JG: OK. Um, from, when you first started learning Eng-, English in middle school and high school, do you remember anything about, um, your tests that you were given for that? Like either just in class or if there was any other testing?
AL: Yeah, but they were not testlets, like, teacher made, they were not, I mean, in Mexico, in middle school or high school you don't have anything that is like, uh, state ruled // or-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -Or those, you know, like, a, a final assessment, we don't have those.
AL: So, it will be just a testlet that the teacher would give you every quarter or so, // and-. //
JG: // And // what types of stuff was on the test? Um, like, the te-, the questions were they like fill in the blanks or-?
AL: Um, fill in the blanks mainly, yes.
JG: OK, um, what about, um, you said your language classes were just basically like, in a doctorate class // ( ). //
AL: // Exactly. // Exactly.
JG: [Cough] Now, what about when she went to college, how were those classes structured and-.
AL: Uh, we-, well, you had like, a, a two hour period or an hour and a half or one hour period classes and I had translation and, uh, s-, I had Spanish classes and English classes, so they were basically the same but in the, in both languages, and I had literature and composition and phoenics and linguistics, a, morphology, synta-, syntaxis, and, and, I mean, different classes throughout my four years or five years that I attended college so they changed each semester.
JG: Do you have any idea of how many classes you took or-?
AL: Um, let me think about that // [laugh]. //
JG: // OK, // that's fine.
AL: Um, first year, I took four and four, the first year, eight classes, and the second year, the first year is, it was like a preparatory, you know, uh, course before getting into, into, you know, the, the area-.
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: // -That // you want to follow, to pursue, um, then the second year I took about, um, 12, 14 classes and the same the other three year.
JG: Wow, that's a lot of // classes. //
AL: // We-, // well, they were divided in semesters so, I mean, in total, the, the first, the second year would be, uh, 12, 14, six classes one semester and six-.
AL: -And subjects and then the other six subjects.
AL: And throughout, I mean, in the day we started at seven or eight in the morning and we would finish at three or two.
JG: OK, so they went right after, pretty much, one right after another.
AL: Exactly.
JG: And were these classes, uh, in English or both?
AL: Uh, all the English related, you know, subjects were taught in English and all the Spanish related subjects were taught in Spanish.
JG: OK. And, um, what about the ty-, the types of tests that you had to take in English in college?
AL: Uh, well, I had m-, many different kinds of, for, uh, my oral laboratories or my oral classes or conversation classes, they were oral, and we had also, uh, lab practices in which we had to do listening exercises, so I would do a listening test, and those were very common. Uh, also we had writing tests for, uh, composition classes, uh, and, it, it was like a grammar class. You would give a presentation and they would be counted as a, as a test or as an assessment sometimes, and also we had paper and pencil assessments, they were mainly, you know, they were teacher made. Uh, and, every, every professor, uh, you know, they designed their own assessments according to their criteria, the-, they, the university or the area didn't have anything standardized-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -So, there were, you know, different kinds.
JG: So they were all just, um, teacher made for all the questions. Was there any standardized test like you had to take maybe before you graduate or anything like that to earn your degree?
AL: No, not really.
JG: No?
AL: Uh-huh.
JG: Um, how did you feel about your language classes that you taught?
AL: Well, many times I felt they were not worthwhile, I mean, being there, uh, I thought I was going to get more, you know, more knowledge from some teachers, and I didn't, but the classes were very good though. Um, the most significant for me were my Spanish teacher classes, he was a great, uh, uh, teacher and I had him for four years in a row, and also that made it good because, you know, he knew what // we needed it-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -And he knew what we were at, and he was excellent, excellent.
JG: And probably he knew you all, individually.
AL: Uh, well, yeah, yes, yeah.
JG: Um, [long pause], and, um, how did you feel about, the, um, types of, um, language tests that you had to take, the, ones you had to take in the classes?
AL: Um, some of them were very easy, uh, the most difficult ones were when we had to, to write, to compose, you know, or, we were assigned projects, writing projects and we had to do that, and I think they were the more, the most difficult for me because, you know, that is the hardest skill, the last skill you get when you are acquiring or learning a language. So those are the ones that I [laugh] remember the most.
JG: Uh. Um, how important did you feel these, um, language tests and assessment were to you?
AL: The, the oral assessments and the, and the wri-, writing assessments I had to take I think they were, well, I got more from them because maybe they were more, yo-, more related to what I was doing, to the classes to the subjects I was // taking-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -Like for example for my oral classes they would take an oral test or for the writing classes they would take a writing test or something like that, and I mean they go hand by hand, but on the other classes for example, uh, when I studied the bio-, linguistics or, or, uh, translation methods, or you know other, other, uh, topics, they, they could have designed better tests to, to measure if I knew the contents or // the basics-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. // Right.
AL: -Because I feel they, I mean, they were not really well designed, most of them.
JG: Do you feel they would have helped to preparing you?
AL: Uh, ye-, yeah, definitely they did, but, I cannot tell you that taking those tests really got me ready to, to start working, to start teaching.
JG: Uh-huh. Um, ( ), now you said you started college when you were 17?
AL: Yes.
JG: 17. So, um, I am just trying to think, um, what I can remember about, uh, schools and institutes. Um, like, there is, the elementary, how, like, what years is elementary and what years is-?
AL: Elementary is, uh, from first to sixth-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And that would be when you are from six years old to, what is it? 12, 11, or so?
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: And then you go to middle school, middle school is, uh, well, actually, there are three years-.
AL: -And it is called first, second and third year of middle school, it's not like here, like seven, eight, and, and, six, seven, eight ( ), and then you go to high school, that's four years.
JG: OK. Um, now for, um, college, do you have to, like, as soon as you take your SAT's and stuff here, here,do you have to take any tests or anything to get into college?
AL: Yes, we did. Uh, I barely remember about that one, it's been years, but, yes we, we did have to, uh, I had to, to, to go out somewhere and take these tests, and, uh, uh, it was, it was lenghty, uh, it, I don't know, it took me about four hours or so to complete it, yes, and it was basically about general knowledge, uh, it was on, uh, since the first year in college was like a preparation, you know, and so that you could get another view of what was there for your and you could make up your mind on what you // really wanted-. //
JG: // [Cough] //
AL: -Um, it was just general information about subjects you had taken in, in high school and middle school-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And, yeah.
JG: OK. Um, when you were in the middle school, the high school, um, was there a lot of emphasis on learning English or was it just an extra thing?
AL: Yeah, an extra thing.
JG: It was an extra // thing. //
AL: // Yeah. // Uh-huh. And, and, and maybe because of that, and now it makes me real upset, now that I am an English teacher, because those three years I learned just, you know, basic vocabulary so, it is frustrating for me now to, to think about all of that-, I mean, all that time I was there three years and you learn more, I mean, even though it was just, you know, an extra curricular subject or something like that, why didn't the teachers make an effort to, I mean, since you were there already, to really teach you, you know?
JG: Uh-huh. Um, [pause], so you would have liked to learn more, in those classes and-?
AL: Well, I, I was really highly motivated, I, I always liked English very much and languages in general very much-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And I wanted to learn, I mean, I was eager to learn, and I learned like present tenses and grammar, basic, very basic subjects, the present tenses, uh, and, and, this vocabulary and in high shool, it was pretty much the same, so it was a waste of time.
JG: To take it again?
AL: Yeah, yeah, to do it again and then to realize that year after year, it didn't matter how, how, you, you were getting at it, or, or the effort you were putting into it, because it would, you would do the same thing next, next year, you know.
JG: You, it wasn't broken down like into levels?
AL: It was but the teachers didn't do their job, they didn't do what they were supposed to do, I mean.
AL: Now that I am a teacher, I know that // [laughs]. //
JG: // [Laughs] //
AL: Back there I was kind of confused, but still, I mean-.
JG: // Yeah. //
AL: -I was a teenager-.
JG: // Right. //
AL: // -But I, I // could, you know, see that, you know, I mean, "This is not working."
JG: Um, [pause], now, went you went to, uh, your, your school, you went to your elementary school, middle school, high school. Was that a pub-, public school or a private school?
AL: A public school.
JG: A public // school. //
AL: // Uh-huh. //
JG: Um, was it a large school, a small school or-?
AL: Uh.
JG: Or can you just tell me what you remember about it?
AL: // [Laughs] //
JG: // Like, you don't have to tell me everything exactly, but // I mean, just-.
AL: In general.
JG: // General. //
AL: // ( ) // Idea. Uh, the elementary wasn't very big, we had, uh, two, two classes for each grade level in the morning and then two classes for each level level, well is it two, no, I am sorry, sorry, sorry, no, I am lying, no, it's one, one in, one per grade level in the morning and one per grade level in the afternoon, because many schools in Mexico, elementary schools-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And, and also, uh, some middle schools run af-, morning and afternoon, so the morning would be for example, in the elementary school, would be from eigth to one o'clock or one-thirty and then the afternoon shift would start at two and finish at six or five.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: So, basically, it would be two classes per grade level, and in the middle school, um, [pause] it was lighter because it was the only one, the only morning, the place were I lived was a small town, so I mean, there was only one middle school, but they had these afternoon middle schools, and-.
JG: Uh-huh. Just afternoon but not, not the morning?
AL: They had the morning and the // afternoon. //
JG: // Oh, they had // both.
AL: But the, the, the most populated was the morning middle school, and there were, they had five, no, let me think, yeah, five, five first, first middle school grade classes, and five second middle school grade classes, and same for the third, if I am not mistaken, yes, yes.
AL: So it was large, I mean, they are not as large in number of students as they are in here-.
JG: Right.
AL: -But, still, I mean, you know, there were far more students in the elementary and since, and it was interesting also because you got to get, you got to know a lot of people you didn't know existed because, I mean, everybody from all the elementary schools in town were going there, all, all, you know.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: Yeah.
JG: Um, now, did you have choice between morning or the afternoon, or it was wherever they put you?
AL: Uh, well, the, the way it works is that if you go in the afternoon is because you didn't pass the morning years you were supposed to, or you finished your elementary, um, after certain age, like for example not at the age your were supposed to but later-.
JG: // Oh. //
AL: // -So // you would have to go to the afternoon.
AL: Uh-huh.
JG: Um, and-.
AL: But nobody wanted to go to the afternoon, I mean, who wants to get out of school at nine or eight?
JG: Right, right. Now, as far as the, uh, the elementary school, the middle school, and the high school, um, are yo-, are students required to go all the way thru?
AL: They are required to finish elementary.
JG: Just-.
AL: Just elementary, in Mexico.
AL: And, uh, but, many students, uh, most of the population also attend ele-, uh, middle school.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: And, unfortunately, not everybody finish high school.
JG: OK [pause]. I am just looking at my questions for a second to see if there is anything I missed. Um, [long pause], um, are there any major differences that you see between, um, schools in the United States and schools in Mexico?
AL: // [Laughs] //
JG: // Either good or bad, you don't have // to tell me all of them or anything, but just maybe a couple.
AL: Well, there is a world of difference [laughs]. Um, let me, let me think, OK. Just, just about elementary-.
AL: -Just, just the basic. Um, you have, in Mexico, there is the principal and the school teacher, and most of the elementaries, elementaries do not have, uh, like, connect classes, special classes-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -They would have only P.E., and that's about it. Some schools offer, you know, other classes, but it's, it's not common, I mean, it would be, like, you are lucky if you get into one of those public schools, and I am talking about public schools-.
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: // -Because // private is totally different.
JG: Right.
AL: Then, there is only the principal and, the teachers, there are no teacher assistants, uh, there is no support personnel, uh, there is no curriculum coordinator or reading specialist, or you know-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -That's the teacher, uh, the classes are usually large, like 20 and up-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -Um, they have individual desks, they do not have tables, it doesn't matter what grade level they are-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And, uh, and, and the rooms are, you know, square boxes, and so everybody sits down facing the board and there is not, maybe there is a little space, you know, uh, in the front area near the board, and there is a teacher desk, but there is no space like to do activities or to go around or centers-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -Classes are not divided, teachers do not have books to read, they have a reading corner, and that is a program that the government has developed to, to, uh, to provide and, and, and, and highlight reading or promote reading-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -In the elementary grades-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -But they have just a very // few-. //
JG: // [Cough] //
AL: -I mean, they have some books, they have some books.
JG: No-, but when you talk about books, you mean like textbooks or // just like-? //
AL: // Uh, no, reading books, // reading books, reading books.
JG: Like library books.
AL: Yeah, exactly, like library books, yeah, like, exactly, and, uh, they have textbooks, and the government provides those, and they are OK, they are OK, I mean, the quality is not really good. And the contents are not updated most of the time, um, they have one book for each subject, one for reading and, um, I think reading has two because it is divided in reading comprehension and, and the other is just like li-, d-, different literature ( ), and o-, one for math, uh, li-, like, content and a workbook-.
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: // -Yeah, // and same for, um, Spanish, they have one workbook also that goes along with the reading and they have one for social studies and one for science, yes, and that's it. Um, what else? [Pause] M-, many teachers in Mexico are teaching because they do not have other option, like, they, many of these teachers, well, not many, I cannot tell you numbers, but some of these teachers, let's put it in the-, in that, in those words, some of these teachers went to summer school and that's when they got their teaching, uh, degree, and, and they got, they, they went thru that process because, uh, maybe they had a, a godfather or their father or their mother or, you know, whoever in their family were a friend or a relative, uh, was going to, uh, retire-.
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: // -So they // were going to get their position and they are like inherited or you can sell them, so that's why they went into that kind of, you know, they took classes to become a teacher, you know, like, and, and, and then go into the classroom, but, obviously these, many of these, pe-, these, you know, these people who do that, they don't want to be teachers [laugh], they are just there for the money because they need it-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -So, they don't make an effort, they don't really perform as teachers, I mean, being a teacher is you compromise yourself and it doesn't matter how long it takes or how many hours, I mean, you do whatever it, you need to, to get your students where they have to be-.
JG: // Right. //
AL: // -Or where you // want, but, for many of these people, I mean, they just go and sit there, and, and they waste time, and they waste their kids time, and m-, many many times the principals do not care about that, either, or, or the principals won't strict enough to go and say, "Hey, what's going on? That's not what is supposed to be happening." So, it's, it's bad, I, I am sorry, I get excited, // it's not fair. //
JG: // No, no, that's OK, // that's OK.
AL: Um, it is not fair and I hate it // [laughs]. //
JG: // [Laughs] //
AL: Um, of course, not in every school it is // the same. //
JG: // Right, // right.
AL: And, uh, for example, my mom is a principal, she's been a teacher for, you know, 30 years, more than 30 years, and then she decided to, to become a principal and and she moved to another school to, uh, to start working as a principal and they do wonderful things, I mean, they are always running programs and having parent conferences, and trying to have parents, you know, involved, and they would invite doctors or community members to come and talk to parents or talk to kids, or they have these, uh, festivals in which they, they show and, uh, you know, students, uh, work or , uh, they perform at public assemblies to show what they are doing, you know, and // ( )-. //
JG: // They sound like // they are so good schools.
AL: Yeah, and, and, I mean, they still struggle because they don't have the // money and-. //
JG: // Right. //
AL: -And they have to really work hard to get what they get but there are teachers who really, you know, put their heart into what they are doing or principals, I mean, so, it's not all the schools, but unfortunately, it is most of the schools in Mexico that, you know, are not // working-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -Or are not performing at the level they should be.
JG: Um, now you were saying about some of the teachers can take summer classes. To be a teacher in Mexico do you have to have, um, like, most of the time here you have to have a de-, uh, a college degree-.
AL: Yes.
JG: -There are a few // exceptions. //
AL: // Uh-huh. //
JG: Is it the same in Mexico?
AL: It is the same, you have to have a teaching degree, a, a diploma, teaching diploma, and what happens is, it's just like going to college, they call it teaching school or something like // that-. //
JG: // OK. //
AL: -And, uh, so, but it is the same process, you go and you take, you know, four year classes-.
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: // -I, // I think it is four years that it takes you, but they have al-, also this option, and some private institutions, uh, work with these summer classes in which you // know-. //
JG: // [Cough] //
AL: -A carpenter who wants to become a teacher // can go-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -And take these classes, of course, you have to have your high school diploma-.
AL: -To be able to, to do this. But still, you know, what can you learn, I mean, in, in, in two months, during four years-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -You know, compared to four years of // every day ( )-? //
JG: // Oh, right. // Um, you are saying that they call teaching schools separate from the universities, um, that's what about them, here it used to be called too, the one where I went to school, um, started out as, um, it was known as Edinburgh Teachers College-.
AL: // Uh-huh. //
JG: // -It's // what they call it.
AL: Or it // could be a ( ). //
JG: // And it was just, it was just for teaching. //
AL: Exactly.
JG: Um, what about, um, like a typical school day, like, as far as, um, like, who would say the Pledge of Allegiance, um, is there // um-? //
AL: // Uh, yeah, // there is, there is a, you know, there is a routine, uh, in the morning the students would get to school and go into the classrooms, and, well, it depends on the teacher what they do, but, you know, they would work, they would divide the subjects during the week, throughout the week, I don't know, they would work, they would do math and writing and reading and social studies and sciences // and-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -They, they would have P.E. once a week, that's the only special class they have, and every Monday morning, first thing in the morning, the students get to school and get, uh, to their classrooms, leave their bookbags, and then they, they have this school assembly.
JG: When I was student teaching in Mexico we had to ( ). Is, is that pretty much typical for every // single school? //
AL: // Every single // school in Mexico, every, every elementary and every middle school every Monday morning-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -It doesn't matter if it is public or private, I mean, that, that's, uh, you know, everybody practice that, they have this program in which everybody practice that-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And that, yes, you, you have this program in which you have the pledge of allegiance, and then also you have the, uh, a song that you sing, uh, how, how do you call it here?
JG: National Anthem?
AL: Yes, the National, I am sorry, the National Anthem, and, um, um, the students would talk about, would talk about, uh, dates to remember, like historic events that // happened-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -Um, and, and they, they would, you know, present, uh, um, or tell a rhyme or ( ), or, you know, or, uh, I don't know, a project that they develop to present specially that day because they, they, uh, they alternate // the, uh-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -The assembly, one, one week, uh, one class is in charge of it, and then next week another one and so on.
JG: Uh-huh. Because that was something, I, I wonder if that was something specific to one school // ( ). //
AL: // No, no, // that's ( ) [tape interruption].
JG: Tell me about, um, your education in Mexico, or the language assesments, or just anything in general.
AL: Uh, [pause], uh, [pause], ehm talking about assessments, uh, we do not, we do not have in Mexico, in elementary, we do have state, well, they are not state, they are national assessments-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And, you take them at the end of the school year, starting, you know, for each grade level-.
JG: Each grade level // has to take them? //
AL: // Even, yeah, even // first grade.
AL: Uh, and you are assessed on things you are supposed to know, so that is something that they measure, um, and then, you kn-, they measure the progress of the school according to the results, um, in middle school, as far as I remember, there is no-, nothing, there is no such thing, uh, just, you know, the, the other, the classroom testlets that, that teachers give you, and of course you have a kind of a final, you know, assessment every year of middle school and every year of high school which has all the contents of the complete, of the complete school year, but it is nothing that, that, the, col-, that the, uh, education office, uh, from the government provides to the schools.
JG: So, it's mainly just from the school // itself-. //
AL: // Exactly. //
JG: -For the teacher.
AL: Exactly, // exaclty. //
JG: // OK. //
AL: And, uh, no, but I remember also now, is that, uh, from some years now, uh, they have had these programs for teachers, uh, for elementary teachers and I don't know if it also works for middle school teachers, I, I, I don't know about that, but you enter these, uh, um, as-, assessment programs or something like that in which you, you have to study to, uh, to get more knowledge on a specific area, for example, you, you may apply // for the-. //
JG: // [Cough] //
AL: -For the reading, and then for reading, and then you, uh, take these, these assessments, this is a national assessments, and that gives you points and points are translated into, uh, payment increases-.
AL: -Or benefits that // you get. //
JG: // That's // always good [laughs].
AL: Yeah // [laughs]. //
JG: // [Laughs] //
AL: And that's for teachers, and, and the government created these to motivate or, or try to get teachers, get hooked into, you know, getting more preparation, because what happens is that many teachers, you know, they just finish, uh, their teaching schools and that's is, they don't keep updated on, you know, on, uh, I don't know, teaching modalities or meal, uh, methods, or, you know, going, I mean, there are some people who, who does that, they take, you know, special courses or they take a Masters, but it's not, it's not the common rule, so the government created these programs to promote that.
JG: And, uh, did you teach English when you lived in Mexico or-?
AL: Yes, I did, but only worked in private schools.
JG: For private schools. And about, how long did you do that?
AL: Um. Let me think, one, two, three, ( ), well, in to-, I have 10 years of teaching experience, so that would be 10, no, less than 10 years, seven years, seven years, I worked in, I worked for, el-, kindergarten, which is separated from, from the elementary school, uh, kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school and college.
JG: So you've // taught all-. //
AL: // Yeah. //
JG: -All the // levels? //
AL: // Uh-huh. //
JG: Do you have a preference?
AL: No, I don't.
JG: No?
AL: No, I don't, I, I, I love, I enjoy working with, you know, little kids and, you know, elementary, kindergarten age, and I also enjoy, I have fun also with middle school kids, even though that can get // you know-. //
JG: // [Cough] //
AL: -Rough, a little bit // [laughs]. //
JG: // [Laughs] //
AL: And high school, I like it, too, and college, it is the most fun, I mean, it, it is great, you know, they are adults, so you-, you, you see the progress, // it's-. //
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: -More evident than with little kids, // but-. //
JG: // And // they really want to be there.
AL: Yeah, yeah, well, most of them, most of them, do, do want to do that, and, but I mean, I, I love it, it doesn't matter what age group, I, I like it, I like it, that's my thing.
JG: OK. Um, I think that's about it, unless you can think of anything else.
AL: Um, no, no, I am sorry // [laughs]. //
JG: // No, that's OK // that's OK.
AL: Yeah.
JG: Thank you very much for letting me come over and-. [Interruption] This is just conti-, continuing on from previously tapes. Um, we talked about your language, um, testing and so forth and all different staff, in Mexico, um, was there anything you had to do when you came to the United States, to teach as far as, um, maybe an, an English test-?
AL: // No. //
JG: // -Or // anything?
AL: Not really, n-, no, no, because the program that I came through, uh, does everything for me, so I didn't have to take any tests. What I had to give them was proof that I was qualified enough to be able to take a teaching position here by experience or by my college degree, or you know, special classes I had taken after I graduated.
JG: OK, and, um, how do you feel about your experiences in the United States, what you have seen so far or what you have done?
AL: Uh, very pleasant, uh, I have learned a lot, the frist time I came here for three years I learned a lot. Uh, ESL is not that easy because you have to deal with a lot of, uh, legal issues-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And also social issues, cultural issues, and, so that's part of the job and then the teaching part of the job, so, not only I learned a lot, a lot about teaching, and new strategies, new materials, new ideas, uh, but also about legal issues and differences, and differences in my culture, even though Mexicans, Mexicans in here are different from me. At the beginning when I first came, it came as a shock, you know, many things, from my own culture-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -From those Mexicans who live in here, and now that this is my second round here I am more prepared, you know, I, I know what to do in some cases, but I am still learning, and learning about state assessments and language assessments, and legal issues and, um, theories and // methodologies-. //
JG: // [Cough] //
AL: -And everything, and I like it, I love it, I like it very much.
JG: Um, you just ( ) something totally, um, [long pause], ( ) forget, um, [pause] you were saying that, um, although you are Mexican, and also your students, but with them being raised here, you still see a lot of differences?
AL: Well, yeah, there are differences, I mean, being a Mexican here is not the same as being a Mexican in Mexico, and many of these kids, they have to talk in their language and they have to ( ) in their culture, and they have a, a mix, a mixture of, uh, may believe, with reality about the Mexican culture, and that is sad. I, I value very highly my culture and my language-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And also this culture because, even though I am Mexican, I partly feel American because of these four years that I have been living here, uh, but, forgetting about where you came from and your language and not able to speak your language the right way, to make up words that do not exist, and only, in, in, in, you know, in the area where you were living those words, or under that context-.
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: // -You // can be understood, that's sad, and those are the kinds of things I was talking about before that, when I came here and I had to approach a Mexican parent and they would start talking, I, I know that many of these parents, some of them not even fininish, didn't even finish, uh, elementary school, but they would speak to you in a language that even though it is Spanish, sometimes, and I am Mexican, I wouldn't understand, or I don't understand what they are saying [laugh], even it is my language, and, and they come from my same culture, and, so, that is sad, and then finding out that, that they, they celebrate, for example the Cinco de Mayo instead of celebrating Independence Day, which is the main historic holiday in Mexico-.
JG: // Uh-huh. //
AL: // -There // is no comparison to any other thing in Mexico. I mean, that is also sad, I mean, how come? At, at the beginning I didn't understand why that was happening, now I have more, and I know why that, why that happens, // but-. //
JG: [Cough]
AL: -Those kinds of things.
JG: OK. That, that was interesting, when I heard you say, they were, that was different, I was saying, "Ohh," [laugh], but.
AL: I mean, I don't, I am not saying different like, it is, it is re-, it is bad, you know, it's, it's, I don't, I don't want to mean that it is bad, // I just think it is-. //
JG: // Right, it's just, it's just different // not good or bad.
AL: Yeah, yeah. For me it is sad that you, that you are forced to come because, you know, of the situation in your, or the, or the, you know, whether you are living Mexico that you have to make the decision to come here-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And for that, I admire these people, but also, it is sad to, to lose your background-.
JG: Uh-huh.
AL: -And, I mean, these people are just like any other people in that they do not, you know, speak Spanish the way they are supposed to, doesn't make them, you know, less of a person // you know-. //
JG: // Right, right, right. //
AL: -Whether you attended college or not // ( ). //
JG: // Right, right. // Same thing with, um, people here, um, we have some of our students who grow, grow up speaking English their whole life, but still, don't speak it properly // and-. //
AL: // Uh-huh. //
JG: -Correct word or whatever and so forth, and I, I, I know what you mean as far as that. I mean, as far as I can understand being-.
AL: Uh-huh.
JG: -An American and so forth // but-. //
AL: // Uh-huh. //
JG: Um, OK, I think that, wa-, I think that was everything now, that was the only thing I had to ask, // so-. //
AL: // All right. //
JG: -So thank you.