I remember being in math class, cracking my fingers like always I do when I was called on by my teacher to talk about positive and negative numbers. When I was going to say the meaning of each word most of the class started laughing at me because I pronounced the word ‘negative’ wrong. They were laughing for a good three minutes if I remember correctly and I never got to answer the question because of what they did. But what really bothered me was that the teacher never said anything about it or told my classmates to apologize to me.
Being in middle school was not easy for me because it was very different than going to school in the Dominican Republic. I’m not going to lie, it was really tough because I had to get used to a new environment where I didn’t feel like I belonged. Most of the people there made fun of me because I didn’t know the English language. All of this happened from 2015 until I graduated middle school in 2017. It was two years of pure hell being annoyed by almost the entire school.
The problem isn’t that I didn’t know anything. I knew how to speak English but you couldn’t compare my English to the English of someone who was born here or spent most of their life here. Part of the problem was that every time I said something wrong they laughed at me, making me feel uncomfortable with myself and leaving me with no other choice but to not speak to anyone.
At that time I thought that middle school was living hell for me. I even talked to the teachers about it but talking to them didn’t change anything. I kept asking myself why that had to happen to me until I realized that things happen for a reason and I stopped crying about it and kept moving forward with my life. Those times brought a lot of anger and sadness to me but thank god I was able to handle it. When graduation day came I made a promise to myself that I would never go back to that school. Believe it or not, it’s been around three or four years since I graduated from middle school and I still haven’t gone back. I still feel some type of way about what happened in that school. That same year, during the summer, I took time for myself and with the help of my family I put most of the things that happened at that school to the side and became a different person.
My first year in high school was different than being in middle school. That was when I realized that what happened to me back then can happen to anyone. That’s because we’re living in a country that refuses to understand the situation that many immigrants go through. I know and I completely understand that my situation can be different from other people but that doesn’t change the fact that I can feel the same pain as they do. It is hard to come to a country and start from zero and rebuild a new life for ourselves and our beloved. Here in America, most of the society treats people who don’t speak English extremely differently from the others. They think that just because you have an accent or whatever, you’re less than them and you don’t deserve to be here. I had experienced moments like that not only in middle school but in the outside world too. I personally think that it is really wrong for people to express that towards others because not everyone has the same luck as those who were born here and speak the language perfectly.