My ESL Teacher

This August, it will be 20 years that I moved to the United States. When I first moved here, I only knew a few phrases in English, those being 1. My name is Ana, 2. I don't speak English and 3. May I go to the bathroom?

We got scheduled for an ESL class as soon as we started school. ESL stands for English as a Second Language. My ESL teacher was Mrs. Miller, a Filipino woman who was studying to get her Doctorate in a university near by. She spoke limited Spanish, but her goal was to teach us more about American Culture and assimilating to the school

Mrs. Miller and two classmates

Mrs. Miller was more than a teacher to us, she was an advocate for those of us who didn't speak English in my school. When I first met her, she looked at my grades from my school in Mexico and had me switched from Geometry to Algebra, because I had very high grades in Algebra in Mexico.... (side story, I could have taught Algebra class, I knew everything that was being taught in class, only had to learn the English part)

Mrs. Miller's 1998 ELS class. Two of my sisters are in this photograph

Mrs. Miller had the challenging task of working with kids of varying ages, the youngest was 12, and the oldest was 19; and helping us with homework assignments from all subjects.

Mrs. Miller gave me a Spanish English dictionary that I used until it fell apart.

Mrs. Miller showed us Star Wars, because she wanted us to learn about some pop culture things, she also let us watch Saved By The Bell and The Simpson a few times.

One of my fondest memories of Mrs. Miller, was when she gave my family a Christmas tree. We didn't have one, most likely because we couldn't afford one. She bought one for the classroom, for our Christmas party, then asked if we wanted it, to which we responded with a very enthusiastic yes! Mrs. Miller made our Christmas !!

I only took ESL for 1 year, my goal was to graduate High School and go to college, leaving no room for ESL classes, but if I needed help, I could always visit the ESL classroom to talk to Mrs. Miller, or Mrs. Reed in my last year.

Did you take Algebra in school?
How about Geometry?
Was there an ESL teacher in your school?
Did you have a teacher you always knew you could count on for help?


  1. I'm glad you had a great education here and a great advocate! We have lots of ESL students here at our school... ranging from those who converse so well that I sometimes don't even know they're in ESL to kids who come here from Korea or Africa and don't speak any English. It is amazing how fast they learn!

    I am going to take Spanish Language Immersion classes at Frederickson Library this summer. It will give me some practice speaking!

    1. That Spanish immersion sounds pretty awesome!! When does it start?

      Kids pick up English so fast!! they are amazing!

  2. She sounds like a wonderful teacher! That's great that your school had such a good ESL program. I don't think we had one in my school growing up. But it was in a rural part of the country where I think all the school kids spoke English. I don't know what they would have done if someone had moved to the area who needed ESL classes.

    1. Thank you Chaitali! I am glad that this post came across as a positive program, I think everybody ignored that classroom and thought we just went there to hang out. I was glad that I didn't have to keep taking ESL, my sister was forced to take it 4 years!


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