English Language Continuing Education for OIHS Parents
By Martha Sessums
When you arrive in the Bay Area from a village in Somalia or a camp in Kuwait, you are thrilled to find that there is a school in Oakland that will teach your children English and prepare them for college. But all around you is a blizzard of American culture and a foreign language that is confusing and mysterious. Grocery shopping, the bus system, doctors and nurses, mobile phones, government agencies, even saying hello to your neighbors can be a challenge. It makes you want to hole up in your apartment and never go outside.
ACE Partner School Oakland International High School (OIHS) understands this challenge for their student’s parents, and offers adult English classes at the school’s Family Learning Center. It’s about the basics. Start with the alphabet. Learn the important phrases to describe your ailment to a doctor. Read the schedules and signs for Muni and BART. Know that you’re buying granulated sugar, not powered sugar, and understand the difference.
And slowly the language weather clears.
I understand this. I travel to France and must learn the language to survive. I had to learn how to ask for lactose free milk at the grocery store, tell a doctor about an eye infection, both find and ask a policeman to move his illegally parked police motorcycle that was blocking our driveway (that was scary), and make friends and converse with our neighbors.
Learning takes time and effort. But the parents of OIHS students are showing up and doing it.
And Happy New Year! from the students of Yew Chung International School of Silicon Valley who performed at their annual New Year Gala.
Gong Xi Fa Cái!