The Challenges of ELD Students


Students whose families have recently come to the United States and/or do not speak English as a first language face challenges distinct from the rest of the student body.

A large group of students at Cam High face the struggle of language barriers every day. Those whose first language is not English face unique challenges and have limitations in participating in academic and social activities. It is difficult to go to a place where your native language is hardly spoken.

Day after day, we non-native English speakers are under constant stress that often reaches the point of giving us anxiety attacks, due to trying our best to reach social and school standards.

“Previously, it affected me a lot in my grades, because I did not understand the teacher and I had to ask someone to explain it to me, and socially I cannot communicate with others. For example, sometimes people who only speak English speak to me and I tell them that I don’t speak English and if I understand one word or another I try to tell them something.”, said Greysis Ruedas, a Junior ELD student at Cam High.

ELD students receive a lot of help from the school, principals, teachers, and classmates. “The challenge that I have is just talking, but it’s not hard.”, said Tanner Giba, a senior student at Rio Mesa High School.

Students try to understand our situation and always look for ways to help us. Teachers sometimes ask for help from other students to see if they can explain to us what they expect of us and what we need to do, or call in an assistant teacher that can further help us.

This is not only a challenge for us, but it is also a challenge for fellow classmates and teachers since they only speak English. “A challenge that I try to be aware of with ELD students is when I use uncommon Tier 2 words and Tier 3 words (academic vocabulary) specific to mathematics to explain what those words mean in multiple ways. I put a lot of consideration into my unique populations,” said Mr. Perizzolo, Math III teacher at Cam High.

When asked about how he manages his situation as a non-native English speaker at Cam High, Ruedas concluded, “Day by day I’m learning new words and I try to study them, and so little by little I’m learning something else.”