Ranch Reflections are articles written by LRHS students and staff who want to share their experiences, thoughts, and concerns. This is a great opportunity for Mustangs to branch out beyond traditional news stories.  This edition features the memories of a non-English speaker adjusting to life in the US.

LRHS senior Angel Markoski faced linguistic challenges when he started school

Angel Markoski – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Many Mustangs struggle with certain subjects in school, but English Language Learners (ELL) students often toil even more.

ELL students come from other countries to the United States to pursue a better future.

The ELL program is designed to help foreign students learn the English language and help them with schoolwork. I was a part of the ELL program for over two years.

I am from Macedonia, and I moved to the U.S. in July of 2016 with my mom, dad, and brother.

When I started sixth grade, I was completely lost. I did not know anyone; everything was different from home and the worst thing was I did not know how to speak English.

I knew the basics like “Hi,” “My name is…,” “I am from…,” and “I need help with…”

I was introduced to the ELL program on the third day of school. When I walked into the classroom there were four other ELL students. We all introduced ourselves and we started from base one.

My teacher’s name was Jennifer Grill. She helped me and the other students with schoolwork and most importantly she taught us how to speak proper English.

I made friends with the other students, and we helped each other a lot, and not just with work from the ELL class but with other classes too. We did a lot of activities that helped us speak formally and get used to the program. Grill had us take vocabulary tests and speaking tests every week.

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The vocabulary tests started off as easy and the number of words increased every week. Speaking tests were the most important though. We, the students, went into a room individually, and we had a conversation with Grill about how our week was and what we plan to do over the weekend.

At the end of every school year, we had a final exam in ELL just like we would in any other class. That was the hardest final I ever took.

The test had four parts to it, and it took two days to complete it. On the first day of the test, we had to do a writing and a speaking part. On the second day of the test, we had a typing part and a spelling part.

I tried my best every day I walked into that classroom, but I still failed that exam two times.

Every time I failed the exam, I would be very rough on myself. I got upset but eventually I got the required score to pass.

I was in the ELL program until the end of eighth grade. I learned how to speak proper English before my first year of high school.