“I was born in Mexico. I am from Mexico, but came here for a better life, yes, for more opportunities. I moved here 15 years ago. My work is in construction; I do some different things. It has been 6 months since I started class here. I started in Springdale and then came here. Sunday and Monday [I take class] in Springdale, and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are here. I started at the beginning level, and I have improved by reading, writing, and speaking. I like the community here. In class we read, write, and talk with other students in groups. I want to learn English; that is my first goal. I want to better my English, better my communication. It’s [important] everywhere; in the house, in the store, in the hospital.”
Ezequiel’s teacher, Ryann, also wanted to say a few words about his work as a student.
“Ezequiel comes to class five days a week and works full-time. He comes right after work. He wants to be able to use [English] at his job. At his job, there’s only one person in his group who can speak English and Spanish, so that guy [will translate]. He just wants to be able to move up in that, be able to communicate with people more directly.
He started as a Beginning [level] student, and has since moved up to Low Intermediate. You can tell when we do writing activities that he’s [started] creating higher level sentences. He tries really, really, really hard. His company mentioned that they might have to switch jobs to Oklahoma, but he said, ‘No, I don’t want to do that, I want to stay here.’ So he feels comfortable in this learning environment and in this city; he has been able to learn English enough to claim this as his home.
He’s always thinking about what he is going to say before he says it. He loves talking with everybody too. It’s really great—lately he’s gotten into this habit where he’s started to bring snacks. He always brings two [containers] of fruit with chili powder on it, and two without. We’ve all tried it at this point. It’s really fun because [the snacks] will kind of bring everybody out to talk. I think he does it because he’s just a genuinely nice person—completely selfless.
Something that I really admire about him is that he works hard all day. He works in construction, and sometimes he gets there at 6:30, 7:30 in the morning, and gets off late. He never misses class unless work goes until 7. Even Sundays and Mondays, he’s there, he is the most consistent student. And I know that if he’s not there, he wishes that he were. One day, we were talking about things we like and things we dislike. The night before that, he had to miss class because his work ran late. And he just goes, ‘I don’t like missing class.’ So you can really tell that he wants to be here. I admire his work ethic. It makes me think I should work harder [she laughs].”