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Our readers write from Bakersfield Adult School

(Editor's note: The story below was written by a student in Bonnie Vaughan's level 5 ESL class at Bakersfield Adult School.)

The valuable experience

by Renata Ballerini

One of the most valuable experiences for me was when I started writing in English. The adventure began when I decided to attend the Bakersfield Adult School to learn English. Just attending school represented a challenge for me. I will never forget my first day of school when my teacher asked us to write a story about a time we were brave, our "Brave Story." I want to be honest, just the idea to write in English made me feel uneasy, uncomfortable and nervous. Even in my language, Spanish, it is very difficult for me, but in English? A nightmare. I just thought I could not do that. Hundreds of ideas and excuses crossed my mind. "I do not have enough vocabulary;" "I do not know the verb tenses," etc. After I listened to some of my classmates' ideas, I started to write my story. To my surprise the words came out of my brain, and I could figure out the story. I did not know where they had been hiding all that time. When I arrived at my house, I showed it to my husband whose first language is English. He read it quietly and thoughtfully. Then he looked at me with a big smile on his face and asked "Did you write it? It is very good." I felt so happy, excited and proud of myself. I know my "Brave Story" was not the most interesting, but for me it meant a lot.

It showed me something that I thought I could not do which is to overcome my fears toward the English language, including writing. Finally, my nightmare became one of my most valuable experiences.