No English, No Work

September 5, 2008

This week all of my classes started back up.  As it always when we have a break, my students attendance would not be called great.  I’m not sure what the problem is, but they never ever seem to get there on the first day or the second even.  Heck, sometimes I’m lucky if I see them within the first three weeks.  Either way, the week went off without a hitch, but I did get a sad revelation on the first day of my AM ESOL class.

Before we went on break (so, three weeks ago) my student had got hired at a local convenient store.  They interviewed her (key point is that they interviewed her) and told her that they’d hire her once she got her social security number from the government.  Well, when she did they did hire her but for only five days.

On her fifth day, my student was stocking the shelf and a customer came up to her and asked where the produce section was.  The problem is that she didn’t understand her, and because of this, after they had interviewed her and spoken to her on numerous occasions, they fired her.  First of all, I want to know what kind of person goes and complains to a manager that one of his or her employees couldn’t speak English.  With all the ridiculous (and ,in my opinion, bigoted) hype of illegal immigration in this country, I can’t believe someone actually went and complained about someone who was trying to work (and learn English) legally in this country.  She went through the right steps; she’s just trying to make a living.  She worked in a human resource department in her country.  And let’s be honest, a shelving position isn’t that demanding. 

The second point:  you’ve spoken to her.  If you felt her English was up to snuff, why hire her in the first place?  Why make someone go through that.  And, she speaks rather well.  I mean she won’t be take turns on the presidential debate circuit, but with a little patience and understanding, she can definitely be understood.  The only thing that I can think of was the person must have been completely insensitive and had absolutely no experience working with or talking to people from a different country. 

To me, (completely my own opinion) when things like this happen I tend to wonder why people would want to immigrate here from another country.  Sadly, she’s more understanding than I am.  Maybe she’s just used to it and that kind of treatment.  If that’s the case, then, it’s a sad, sad day for this country.


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