Mika came to us a little bewildered nearly halfway into the school year. She was aggressive in her body language and in her volume. She didn’t speak any English at all, but she was in a place where her parents thought she would learn English quickly because she was immersed in it all day. “After all,” her teachers said, “she is young, so she should be learning English fast.”
Well, she pushed, shouted, and kicked. She glued her tablemate to her chair, stuck out her tongue at her teachers, and simply refused to do anything. In the ESOL classroom, she turned her back on the teacher and ranted at those who spoke her home language. All this and yet she was also very lucky. She came to a school system that has bilingual services for families, counselors who specialize in transition issues, and a mantra that says, “We won’t give up on you.” Two years later, she is still full of fire, but she is learning and making great progress with her peers.
All Hands on Deck
We secured the support of everyone to address the challenge. The parents, the school counselor, the teachers, the administration were all actively involved with efforts to pull this student “through the eye of the needle.”