I take a deep breath. My hand inches toward a button that I frequently hit by mistake.
Now I am terrified to touch it, even accidentally.
I know my writing in my second language is not perfect.
With an unsteady hand, I click the “send” button and submit a draft of my first complete paper written entirely in my second language.
I hope those who read it understand.
Like those I teach, I was once a student of a new language.
I am now privileged to teach emerging bilingual students who grapple with knowing what the world values. They wonder if what they have to say will meet the “approval” of those around them.
They have stories to tell but wonder if they will be heard.
Sometimes, despite our best attempts to incorporate culturally sustaining pedagogies, students know that their stories may be unheard, generalized, or invalidated if they do not tell what the school expects.
Many language learners experience a “silent period” when learning a new language. They fear saying or writing anything because it could be considered wrong.
Silence is not golden.