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“Learning a completely new language was such a challenge for me but over the years with the help of my family, peers, and teachers who believed in me, I was capable of conquering that challenge.” 

Artwork by Laila Thomas, VOX Teen Staff

Just The Beginning: The Life Lessons My Spanish Language Private School Taught Me

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At the age of eight, as my parents and I planned to make the transition from public to private school for both me and my sister, I really didn’t know that it would have such a strong impact on my life.

Going to a private school was definitely a huge change for me. I wasn’t used to the environment or the ways of learning that were approached and expected at my new school. It was so hard going to school everyday and feeling intimidated by all my other classmates who knew the Spanish language already and me being new, not knowing anything. 

My parents didn’t move us only for us to learn a new language but to experience more opportunities. I appreciate this decision immensely because I was able to learn so much, and this specific decision helped open my eyes to a whole new world. Learning a completely new language was such a challenge for me but over the years with the help of my family, peers, and teachers who believed in me, I was capable of conquering that challenge.

Doubting Myself 

Now, as the years have passed with the great opportunity that I was granted, I am able to speak fluently in the Spanish language. There were plenty of times where I doubted myself and even felt like I was being doubted by others. But I proved that I could do it, and that’s what mattered most.

Although I was given great opportunities, there were definitely cons that came along with the pros. Teachers would make comments about a topic they were uneducated about and hearing how they worded their responses after I questioned them about it, made me think about whether I should correct them or move along with the class. 

“Diverse Inclusive”

Going back to elementary school, I remember one of my teachers saying how slavery was a good thing because it had a good outcome. And after looking at one of my friends in disbelief, we just sat there, shaking our heads. I was a part of a school community where I was constantly told that we were “diverse inclusive.” Yet, I continued to hear and see the things being said and done around me that made me question how inclusive we actually were. I’ve had my share of experiences and even brought them to the attention of those who were supposed to help their students out.  It saddened me hearing some of the viewpoints expressed by my fellow classmates and even by some of my teachers. All I could do was share the knowledge that was imported into my brain by my parents. 

Lessons I Learned

At the end of the day, I am happy with how my experience impacted me, from the new people I came in contact with, to everything I’ve learned. It has definitely been a factor in shaping me into who I am today. 

From personal experiences where I had to take a step back and analyze the situation, to being able to speak out about it with a poem in front of 200-plus people, and all of the opportunities the school offered. I am beyond grateful. And now I’m able to bring along all of those lessons I’ve acquired over the years on the rest of my life journey.


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comments (2)

  1. Anaya

    So good Laila wow!

  2. nico

    u valid