Erik Castillo: My name is Erik Castillo.
Interviewer: That’s the hardest question we have is spelling your name. OK, I’d like you to talk to me about um how long you’ve been in the United States, what year you came or when you came, and who came with.
Erik Castillo: Oh. I have a year and five months. Um, my family came with me. We came all together. We—we came here the first of January. I was scared, like that. Yeah.
Interviewer: Uh, tell me where you came from?
Erik Castillo: I come—I come from Mexico. Vera Cruz by the Gulf of Mexico.
Interviewer: When you were in Mexico did you go to school there?
Erik Castillo: Yeah. I go to school there.
Interviewer: Tell me about how school in Mexico is different from school in America.
Erik Castillo: Well, the school—the difference of the school of Mexico is different then the school of the United States. It’s uh—we use uniform to go to school. We have to take care of the books like very, very—I don’t know. Very different. It’s different. We have like lockers, we have uh computers, uh we don’t use—we don’t use computers over there. Well, we just use the uniform.
Interviewer: So the computers are here and the lockers are here but not in Mexico.
Erik Castillo: Not in Mexico. Not in Mexico.
Interviewer: OK. I see. OK. Um, I want you to think back to the very first day you came to the United States and came to school. Tell me how the first day or two or the first week, what your memories are of first coming.
Erik Castillo: I was—my first week in—in a school was very confused because I was like, “I don’t know anything what they’re talking about.” And I was like, “Are they—are they talking about me around?” I was confused. But I just tried to tell my friends to help me to—to understand and don’t be confused or mad because sometimes you got mad. Like, “Are they talking some bad things about me?” And then that’s why I was like very confused.
Interviewer: You said you had your friends help you. Now you didn’t have any friends yet so who did you consider your friends.
Erik Castillo: Well, in the ESL class some of—some of ones, they Spanish and they help me. They—they help me what they say to—to understand it. Well, and then so many people help when you are new in the school. Like everybody help you to the lunch and then—because it’s different in Mexico.
Interviewer: Tell me what the hardest thing in the beginning that now is easy and you don’t worry about.
Erik Castillo: Speak English. That was the hardest. That was the hardest. (interruption)
Interviewer: So I was saying, what was hard in the beginning and that’s easier now.
Erik Castillo: The hardest thing was the speaking, but now it’s easy.
Interviewer: What are you um most proud about, most happy about in your language development when you think of there and where you are now? What do you do really well now that you’re happy about?
Erik Castillo: Like what do I happy about? Probably because I speak two languages now and it’s a very chance to—to do uh—to have a good job—job and then have fun.
Interviewer: Um, that’s a good answer. When you think about um your favorite class in school, what’s your favorite thing at school?
Erik Castillo: Well, my favorite thing (interruption) all my classes (interruption). My whole—my whole periods—I love my whole—my whole classes. Yes, I do. That’s better. I learn in every class.
Interviewer: Is there a class you don’t like?
Erik Castillo: I don’t think so. Well, maybe my math. I don’t like math a lot. But I’m—I’m OK.
Interviewer: When you think about your ability to write and your ability to speak, do you think your better at speaking or writing?
Erik Castillo: I think my better—like it’s the speaking. I speak more then write in English.
Interviewer: Was that the same in—in Mexico?
Erik Castillo: No. That—that was easy to do because it’s my language. It’s—it’s the same thing.
Interviewer: Tell me about um when you use Spanish and when you use English at school.
Erik Castillo: At the school I use English every time but at my house sometimes I use English or sometimes I use Eng—uh, Spanish. Well, I—I use more—more Spanish because my parents don’t speak English. They don’t—they don’t speak English. But I speak English with my sister and my brother.
Interviewer: Do you help your parents when they need help with English?
Erik Castillo: I do. I help my parents when they need like something to—like application for their work. I help them. I help them.
Interviewer: Can you think of other times—what are some other things that you’re the expert on that your parents ask for your help with?
Erik Castillo: Uh, when—when—when we going to the store they—they want to ask something—ask about how much is this and I have to help them—have to help them. That’s a—they—they ask me for a lot—for a lot of questions.
Interviewer: Do you like to help them or do you sometimes wish you didn’t have to?
Erik Castillo: Sometimes I feel like very boring to do that. I feel like um “You can do it yourself. You know how to say that.” But I feel happy because I help them. I like that.
Interviewer: Tell me about your parent’s English learning. Do they take classes? Have they had a chance to study or are they busy working?
Erik Castillo: Well, they don’t have the time to—to take a class of English but they study with me and my sister. We study around the house.
Interviewer: Tell me about uh what you like about American culture.
Erik Castillo: What I like about American culture? It’s that they help you a lot—they help you a lot. They aren’t going to let you be alone. They help you to learn English on the—in your classes. I like—it’s a good people. I’m very happy. I like American people.
Interviewer: What do you miss about Mexican culture?
Erik Castillo: Food. I miss the food.
Interviewer: What kind of food do you miss?
Erik Castillo: Like taquitos and chalupas, burritos, and everything. I miss…
Interviewer: They just don’t make them the same here.
Erik Castillo: No. It’s not the same food.
Interviewer: When you think of yourself, do you think of yourself as being American or are you Mexican or are you both?
Erik Castillo: I think that I have to be like how I am. Like if I am good in Mexico, I have to be good here, like be good anywhere.
Interviewer: But do you feel more Mexican then American?
Erik Castillo: I don’t feel like Mexican or American. I just feel like a person.
Interviewer: Do you see that other people have a hard time adjusting? Other friends who have a hard time adjusting? And compare yourself to their experience.
Erik Castillo: Well, another—another people like—they feel like really, really Mexicans. Like if I do this in Mexico, I can do this in America and it’s not the same thing. Every country has their rules and we have to follow it—follow the rules.
Interviewer: Why do you think it’s been easier for you to know that every country has its rules? What makes that different for you?
Erik Castillo: What’s that makes me feel different? Um, I don’t know. Like…
Interviewer: Why is that easier for you to understand then say another friend? Why do you think that you know that countries have different rules?
Erik Castillo: Because every country has a different uh precedent and different rules, different culture and I think that’s why I feel like different in any other country.
Interviewer: Talk to me about your friends at school. What kind—who are your friends and what do you like to do with them?
Erik Castillo: Well, I like to play soccer. I love soccer. And I have any kind of friends, like American, Mexican, Chinese. I don’t care. I like to play soccer and sometimes we play soccer together and I have this—I’m on—I’m on the soccer team. That’s why I love it. That’s why.
Interviewer: Um, tell me what you’re thinking about doing in the future? What do you hope to do in the future?
Erik Castillo: To be a good person. Like a person who do the university, like—how do you say it? Like go to BYU have uh students and be a professional of it.
Interviewer: What kind of professional do you think you want to be?
Erik Castillo: Well, I want to be like a—a—a—um, a person who know how to make uh (clears throat) a business, like that. And I want to play soccer. I want to be a professional of soccer.
Interviewer: Tell me uh when do you like speaking English and when do you not like speaking English. How do you decide?
Erik Castillo: Well, I don’t like speaking English with a Mexican people, like Latin people ‘cause sometime they can like make fun of you or something. That’s why. But I like to speak English anyways.
Interviewer: When do you not like to speak Spanish?
Erik Castillo: Where is—I don’t like to speak Spanish when—where there’s a—a bunch of American people. Like, I don’t like to speak Spanish when there are like a lot of Mex—American people.
Interviewer:: If I were to ask one of your teachers, “What kind of student is Erik? How does he act in class,” what would they say?
Erik Castillo: They say that I’m good. I’m a good person but I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Interviewer: Do you like to participate in class? Tell me if you’re sitting in a class, what kind of student are you? Are you volunteering are you participating, or are you quiet?
Erik Castillo: I’m quiet and I’m participative sometimes. Like the same thing, like half and a half.
Interviewer: Good. Is there any favorite story about school this last year uh that was an important experience for you either with friends or with language that you’d like to share?
Erik Castillo: Oh, yeah. I do. An experience that I had the last year was—I was in the lunchtime and (clears throat) and they asked me for my—for my number for eat and uh I don’t know what they said and I was like (clears throat), “Say whatever?” And then I went to the principal and they were mad but they understand. They understand. That was a—and I didn’t—I didn’t look for any help—looking for help to like—‘cause I was like embarrassed, you know. That was embarrassing. But now if I don’t—if I don’t understand I ask like—ask for the people if they can help me.
Interviewer: I think—oh, uh the last question here. Do you like reading? Tell me about reading.
Erik Castillo: Uh, I like to read—well, I don’t know a lot but it’s good because I learn English. Because I have to read, I have to read to understand everything. I think that’s the first way to—to speak English.
Interviewer: Um, what’s your favorite book that you read in school with Miss Miconal or Miss Sellers?
Erik Castillo: My favorite book was, “Juan In Mex—“Juan In America.” It’s a little guy who comes from Mexico and nobody knows how to play—like he—he tried to help them to play soccer to American people and then like everybody listened to him and they played together. That was my best book—my favorite book.
Interviewer: When you think about being here, you know, when you’re at school there’s this school work and then there’s friends and social stuff and then there’s language. Which is the hardest? The schoolwork, the social part of school, or the language part of school?
Erik Castillo: Sometimes the language is really hard. Is that language part—the hard of the school. It is.
Interviewer: Tell me why you feel frustrated or why that’s hard.
Erik Castillo: Oh, because sometimes I have my geography class and we—the students have to go in front of the class and explain to him what they had learn. Like make a report. And I don’t know how to like make a great report and speak to them and that’s the hard part of the school.
Interviewer: What do teachers do to help you more to understand and participate in school?
Erik Castillo: Give me more work. Like that’s how the teachers help me. They give me more work to understand.
Interviewer: Do you think American teachers are easy and uh not as hard as teachers were in Mexico?
Erik Castillo: Yeah, I think American teachers are more—more easy then Mexico. I think so.
Interviewer: Tell me in what ways they’re easier.
Erik Castillo: Like we can bring any notebook to study. In Mexico we have to have own book, own book—own book and we have to show the work in one day and American people give us more chance like to—to do the work.
Interviewer: So sometimes more chances mean doing it slower, huh?
Erik Castillo: Yeah. More chances is—that means take more time to do the work.
Interviewer: Is there anything else you wanted to say that I haven’t thought to ask you?
Erik Castillo: No.
Interviewer: No? You got it all.
Erik Castillo: I got it all.
Interviewer: OK. Thank you very much.
Erik Castillo: Thank you.
Interviewer: I’ll probably be in touch with your family in June and then I hope we can have—I don’t speak Spanish but I’ll have a—a professor who speaks Spanish come with. OK? Terrific. Thank you very much.
Teacher: Yeah, and what did you think we were suppose to do?
Student: I don’t know.
Teacher: That was so good when you said it before. To bad they missed it. Remember the funny thing you said? So we’re supposed to pretend that we’re active readers.
Student: Oh. Oh.
Teacher: Missed his big chance. OK. What does visualize mean?
Student: It’s imagining what you’re reading.
Teacher: Yeah. So you see it in your head while you’re reading. What is relate reading material to what the students already know mean?
Student: I don’t know.
Teacher: Like what if the title of the story is “The Cobra’s Venom.” How could relate to something that you.
Student: Like you know what it—what the cobra do and the venom and…
Teacher: OK, like maybe you knew somebody who died from a snakebite. Barbara?
Barbara: Like something is---never mind.
Teacher: Go ahead. Go ahead.
Barbara: There’s something about—about the title in you---next to your house or that you have…
Teacher: Uh-huh. Something that you already no about that you can say. Yeah.
Student: What the title’s going to be about. Is that what you mean?
Teacher: Uh-huh. Like you already no something about cobras or you already no something about venom.
Student: Like. I don’t know like—when—like you have to read to save your life or something like that.
Teacher: Oh, yeah. That makes you interested right away, huh. Like, wow, what does reading have to do with saving your life?
Teacher: OK. Asking questions helps you stay focused on the story and keeps you interested while you’re reading. Juan Pablo is really good at asking questions while we read.
Juan Pablo: Thank you.
Teacher: Mm-hmm. K, how about summarize? What does summarize mean?
Barbara: You know what is—what is happening in the book.
Teacher: Mm-hmm. So you can tell what’s happened already in the book.
Teacher: How about predict. What do you think predict means?
Student: To think about what’s going to happen next. Like you guess.
Teacher: Uh-huh. It’s like guessing…
Student: That’s going to happen.
Teacher: …I think this is going to happen. And how about check for understanding. Do you ever say, “What a minute, wait a minute? I’m confused about all the names. Now who was—Bruce Fury changed their lives lives forever. So have you got any guesses what’s going to happen?
Student: Get lost in a canyon and they have to survive.
Teacher: Do you think it’s going to be kids?
Teacher: OK. And what does a canyon look like?
Student: Like a hole. I don’t know.
Teacher: Draw a canyon on the board for us.
Student: I don’t know how to draw one.
Teacher: Just see if you can draw a canyon on the board. We’ll see if we all think that a canyon’s the same thing.
Student: Um, canyon. I don’t know how to draw it? Like this and then you just draw something like this.
Teacher: So where’s—which is the canyon part.
Student: Um, this is like the rocks and everything and this is a hole. This is a mountain or something and—and this is the—let me finish, all right.
Teacher: So Eric what do you have to do so you can get down in the canyon? If you have to erase something that he…
Teacher: OK. Or how about the line right up at the top on the right? Yeah. OK. Back to your seats little artists. OK. So we’re on page 48.
Teacher: That’s probably like a waterproof coat, a wetsuit. It’s like—it fits you like skin. It’s black and it’s rubber and it goes from your neck all the way down your whole body.
Student: , for getting into the water.
Teacher: If you’re—divers where wet suits and why would they have to wear a wet suit?
Student: That’s for the cool water.
Teacher: It’s for the cold. If the water is too cold you can die. If your body temperature gets to low you’ll die.
Student: Protects you from the cold.
Teacher: Uh-huh. So my question is, if you’re at the bottom of the canyon like that…
Teacher: An enthusiastic send off. So the rangers are all excited for them. Man, you guys are going to have a great time.
Student: What’s that word?
Teacher: Oh, that’s accelerate. This is exhilarate. It’s like—Deanna what’s it like?
Teacher: So how wide is it? “Not much wider then a man’s outstretched arms.” That’s it. That’s how wide it is. From one canyon wall, goes up 2400 feet, the other one goes up 2400 feet and it’s only this wide. Yeah, I could see a little crack of light way up at the top.
Student: What are they going to do?
Teacher: Uh-huh. Like you could almost go…
Teacher: There’s a ranger who’s in charge of the park who knows all the park conditions and he’s the one who said, “You can’t go now, you’ll have to wait until July.” So they waited till July and the ranger said, “It’s going to be OK, the water’s fine. It’s not too deep.” Then they cut the rope, they get down to the bottom of that canyon and they find out that the water’s higher then it should be. Now we start getting nervous. OK.
Teacher: OK. So they’re going to jump—they’re going to throw the packs into the pool and then jump.
Student: What? What are they going to do that?
Teacher: And there’s a waterfall that’s coming down. So water’s coming down and the river’s coming and the water’s churning and because they can’t go back up anymore, they have to keep going. So they’re going to throw the packs in and then jump. Sound like a good plan?
Student: Yeah, but how tall is it?
Teacher: Um, does it tell us?
Teacher: It doesn’t tell us. I doubt—I doubt it’s…
Teacher: who can explain to me what—what’s the problem. Why is the water level too high? We just found out in that paragraph.
Student: The snow is melting and the water’s coming down from the mountains and it’s falling all over—into the canyon.
Teacher: Kind of. Do you know what a reservoir is?
Teacher: A reservoir is like a dam. It holds water. Three miles up stream…
Teacher: …there’s a reservoir that holds water. Can you draw…
Teacher: So if he says, “You can go forward, you can never go back” and they say that those words were prophetic, are those words going to happen or are they not going to happen?
Student: If will happen.
Teacher: Uh-huh. The words are going to happen. So what word does it remind you of in Spanish?
Vermont: (speaks Spanish)
Teacher: Uh-huh. Yeah. OK. Vermont said (speaks Spanish). And what a prophet says happens. Right? So if these were…
Teacher: Repel. It’s one of those words where sometimes one syllable gets a stress and another word a different syllable will get the stress. Which syllable gets—repel has two syllables. Which one gets the stress?
Student: The last one.
Teacher: The last one. So it’s repel.
Teacher: So how—how can they be trapped in there? They can keep going, right? So how can they be trapped? What would cause them to become trapped in that canyon?
Student: They are trapped.
Teacher: Keep talking.
Student: No, because the—they are—they—if they—if the food gets like finished and the water cave starts coming out they—they don’t have anywhere to go to at the time.