Recent Immigrants Struggle to Adapt to Pandemic Schooling

Nancy Nguyen, Staff Writer

Schools all over the U.S. have been closed since March 12th of last year due to the rising cases of covid-19. It has been a challenging year for students, teachers and parents to adjust to the new learning environment so suddenly, but what about the students who haven’t even finished adjusting to their new country?

For many, the average school day consists of logging into a virtual class and zoning out. This isn’t easy for anyone but it is especially difficult for students who have recently immigrated here from another country. Not only do they have to learn a whole new language but they also have to learn how to live with new customs and people.

English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers are doing the best they can to understand and listen to their students so they can make the transition as smooth as possible.  “We are all pioneers in a way because we’re struggling together, we’re learning from each other and we’re supporting one another” said English ESOL teacher Shirly Miner. “[My students] don’t know this but they definitely help me a lot in trying to tweak my instructions; their feedback is important.”

Even with all the effort teachers are putting in to make sure the students are in a comfortable learning environment, they still seem to hold back from speaking up when confused. ESOL counselors have become a big help to students who struggle with asking questions during class. 

“A lot of the time the students think they are bothering us and I have to remind them that it is my job to help,” said ESOL counselor Ana Gaitan.

Due to virtual learning, teachers can’t help their students directly so they have found many new resources to help them teach their students while at home and during class. “I started the school year with a lot of difficulties,” said Vy Tran (11). “But, after using these helpful resources from my ELD and English class, I feel more comfortable and confident in my studies.”

Coming to the United States for the first time definitely isn’t easy but coming to the United States during a worldwide pandemic is even harder, so it is expected for the ESOL students to feel frustrated. 

However, having the support of teachers and a compassionate school community can help. “Obviously, it was a little sad coming here and quarantining right away,” said Linh Dinh (11). “But I find my quality of life here is better than it was before.”