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My ESL student from Nicaragua just called to tell me that she passed her citizenship test! We filed her paperwork 6 months ago, and it seemed like this day would never arrive. She had her interview at 7:20 this morning at the FBI office in Charlotte. She and her husband left at 4am in order to arrive early.

She called me as soon as the interview was over to let me know how things went. One of the first things she said was that it was so easy! "Much easier than the [mock] interviews that we did together," she pointed out with a laugh. "All of the questions were 'yes' or 'no'!"

She was asked several questions to verify information on her application. Then, asked 5 out of 100 questions for her Civics exam, all of which she answered correctly. She remembers them questioning her about the number of stars on the U.S. flag, who becomes President if the President and Vice President die, what year the Constitution was written. She was asked to write down a sentence that was dictated to her, which made her laugh: "The teacher is proud of her class." (I gave her a little pep talk on the phone last night in which I told her the exact same thing!)

She said that the best part of the whole interview was watching them stamp "Approved" across her application; she felt as if she would burst with joy. Now, she will go back to Charlotte on December 8th for her Oath ceremony, at which time she will officially accept U.S. citizenship.

And as if that's not big enough news, I will also be attending her graduation exercises this Thursday night. She will be receiving her GED in a ceremony at Wake Forest University. I think these milestones call for a celebration!



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 17th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
what a cool thing to be part of--congrats to her!
Nov. 17th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, she is amazing... When she moved to NC last year, she spoke very little English and had only gone to school through the 9th grade in her country. Her family had been living in LA for 14 years, where she worked as a housekeeper. Since moving here, she has earned her CNA certification and works as a nursing assistant. Her son graduated from high school this year, too, so they share that achievement! Her enthusiasm for learning, her integrity, and the way she manages her family are both inspiring and humbling to me.

Edited at 2008-11-17 05:37 pm (UTC)
Nov. 17th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
feeling quite silly
ok, admittedly I have been horrible with keeping up with facebook for the past year, but how have I completely missed that you are teaching ESL???

(me too! I teach for CPCC.)
Nov. 19th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: feeling quite silly
Haha. Probably because I hardly ever update my LJ! I've been teaching adult students through the Literacy Initiative at the Y since sometime last August. When I started, I had lofty plans to write a weekly update about my experiences here. We can all see how *that's* playing out!

It's been an interesting experience for me. My background is all in French, but most of the students in the program are Spanish-speakers. The structure of the languages are so similar that I'm really great at reading and understanding Spanish now, but terrible at speaking it, since I try to teach only in English!
Nov. 20th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Re: feeling quite silly
I teach ESL at CPCC (well for CPCC but at several locations.) Gosh, I love it! My class tonight had a quiz to review simple present of Have, Be & Do and regular verbs (talk, want, need). Conjunctions (Or, And, But and Because) and things found in a school. They thought it was so hard, and we all had some great laughs! I love how excited they are about learning and how they try even though it is SOOO hard to learn a language as an adult.

I also teach at a YMCA here in Charlotte. It is my favorite class. :-)

How fun to think you are experiencing some of the same things! :-)
Nov. 22nd, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
I think I had the same writing sentence about the teacher on my exam 8 years ago! I am happy for your friend.
Dec. 3rd, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
Further proof that our government is big and slow. Things don't change very often! I heard a rumor that the exam was supposed to have changed this fall, but I don't know to what extent.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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