Alberto and Lizeth, a couple in LIFT’s English As a Second Language (ESL) Level One class, are working towards the same goal: to improve their English skills to overcome barriers they face in their daily lives. They often rely on their 9-year-old son to help them with basic tasks, such as ordering at restaurants or translating documents from his school. They know they will not always be able to rely on him, so they enrolled in the ESL class at Texas Capital Bank’s west Dallas branch to increase their English proficiency. Even though they are in the same level class, they do not have the same kind of experience with learning English.
Alberto has taken English classes before, but he says that his experience with English classes at LIFT has been better than at previous classes elsewhere. He feels that the teachers are accommodating and that the schedule of the classes is very flexible. Even though he knows many people find learning a new language challenging, he says, “With the right teacher, you can overcome that obstacle.” The immediate benefits of his improved English skills are proven at his job.
Alberto works at a restaurant at Trinity Groves, close to his English classes. He would speak very little with customers because he did not feel confident enough to interact more with them. However, this has quickly changed, and he feels more comfortable speaking with customers and even has conversations with them. “I see the benefits of improving my English in my tips. A customer even left me a note saying, “Good job” on my English skills,” Alberto says.
Lizeth also works in the service industry as a hairstylist. They both express the importance of communicating with customers for good service. While Alberto had prior English knowledge, Lizeth started off with only the bare minimum. She describes her fear of doing things in public by herself, such as asking for help at stores, or even ordering something in English. She feels she is gaining confidence as well as the courage to do these things without Alberto’s or her son’s help. She has also benefited from English at her job. Lizeth says, “I am taking more clients because of my improved English. I no longer limit myself to Spanish-speaking clients.”
The couple practices their English together outside of class to gain more confidence in speaking with others and to improve their skills. They have learned a great amount in their brief time at LIFT and hope to continue to the next level to learn and improve their English.