The reading for this week was definitely a reading I truly enjoyed. Perhaps it was because it’s about a topic that I can relate to, and that I am passionate about. When reading Aria by Richard Rodriguez so many thoughts came to my mind. I had tons of ideas and things to say about the article yet I didn’t know how to express them. Trying to help myself come up with something to write about, I looked to the list of topics we have to write blogs about, and I just couldn’t help myself from writing a reflection.
I can honestly relate to how it feels to be a bilingual student. From appearance I simply look white, and I am, but I am also half Hispanic. I have family from Mexico, a family that has showed the value of keeping my culture, from eating spicy food to never forgetting how to speak Spanish. For my grandparents and parents it was extremely important for me to learn Spanish, so that our family history and traditions can be passed on from generation to generation. Their desire for me to learn Spanish was such that ever since I was little they taught how to speak it, write it, and read it. I was in a bilingual classroom up to fifth grade. Perhaps at times I was confused but I loved the feeling of having two worlds. Speaking English at school with a little mix of Spanish and coming home and being able to communicate in both languages, but mainly practicing my Spanish at home. So I can totally understand how Richard must have felt when he lost that contact with his family, because they communicated just in English after always having communicated in Spanish.
I can’t imagine myself coming home and not hear my parents say my name the Spanish way, or not talk to my parents in Spanish a lot of the time. It would not feel like home, to not hear the Spanish news at times, or my grandfather talk about his stories in Spanish over the phone or my aunts and uncles not listen to their Mexican music. When Richard talked about not being eager to get home anymore, or his dad becoming “shy” simply because he didn’t want to speak English, it made me sad, and I could totally see myself in that situation, which would make feel exactly the way Richard felt. I would feel like something was missing, I would miss my two worlds a lot!
I think it is important to fit in society, to encourage our children to learn English, and to practice with them. I know it is important and essential for children to learn the official language of our country and do it well, as well as it is important to have children who are confident in what they speak and how they do it, but at the same time I believe that we just can’t completely take their other culture away from them. As much as it important to have a public identity, we can’t completely sacrifice the private identity at home or with family. After reflecting from my own life and after reading this article I truly believe that there must be a balance. One where parents such as Richard’s try to speak with their children in English, and practice with them so that their children can be successful in school, but at the same time I think it is important to have parents show and teach their children about their cultural background and language. I know there can be a balance, I am prove of that.
The points I would like to talk about in class are the advantages and disadvantages we see as future educators in having our students’ parents do what Richard’s parents did, and enhance the English language all of a sudden, and leaving behind their native language.
The link below is about the advantages of being bilingual: