Ms. CAno

I come from a household where we only spoke Spanish, my parents were reluctant to let us speak English as they didn't want us to "lose our identity, our culture." When I entered Kindergarten however, I passed the screening test and therefore never labeled an English Language Learner. Fast forward to 4th grade, I was struggling with reading comprehension and my teacher wanted me tested for extra services. My mom explained to her the fact that I only spoke English while in school which came as a complete surprise to the teacher, and that before testing me she would have me work with a tutor. Mom followed through and hired a tutor to work with me afterschool 3 days a week. I still remember Mrs. Paizis coming to our little apartment and sitting next to me (coffee and cigarette smell and all). She is the one who helped me discover my love for reading and helped me understand that my issue wasn't that I didn't remember what I read, but rather that I wasn't connecting the English vocabulary with the Spanish translation and therefore wasn't making meaning. She worked with me for several months, and by the end of our time together I went from being one of the lowest readers in the class, to one of the highest. It was seeing how with just some extra help and understanding a child could blossom and which inspires me to this day to do the work I do.