siomara_picHi my name is Siomara Hobbs. I am married and have 2 children. I work at Green Park School as a third grade bilingual teacher. I love being a teacher because the students make me realize that everybody is special. I always tell my students, “If you know you do your best, everything is okay.” Life is difficult and sometimes we just give up without trying. That is why if you do your best you know that at least you tried.

When I came to the United State, I was 18 years old. I came in January and attended Touchet High School for the rest of the school year and after that they said they thought I should go to the community college. I didn’t know anything about college. I was scared and lost, everything was new to me; but I tried it anyway.

When I came I didn’t know English, so it was hard for me to understand all the different ways in which people at college could help me. I was really quite and asking for help from others was difficult.

I started taking some ESL classes and some college level classes like Math 78 or 79, I don’t remember, and Reading 78. During my first quarter at college, I met a lot of great teachers and they are the ones that guided me in everything. It was good to know that I could go to someone and ask for help. It wasn’t easy, but I finished my AA Degree and I transferred to WSU in Tri-Cities. At WSU, I studied to be a teacher and I got  my BA in Education.

Attending college wasn’t easy but something that helped me was not to give up and do my best in every class I took. Learning a new language is difficult, but the best way to learn it is to practice every day, or to find the right place where you can speak this new language. I remember that I was learning English and at home I didn’t practice it. Not because I didn’t want to, but because my mom and dad didn’t speak English either. I applied to work at Sears and I started working at Sears every weekend. Working at Sears helped me to constantly interact with people in English; customers, co-workers and my bosses. I knew that my English was not perfect, but I tried to improve every day. As I spoke with people, I knew that I would make a mistake. I was so conscious of my mistakes and I would make a mental note to myself-don’t make that mistake again. Over and over that would happen, and slowly mistakes would go away. Some mistakes still didn’t go away, but I constantly try to improve them. What I learned at the very beginning of my education has helped me get to where I am. It has not been very easy. I have spent many nights spending countless hours in front of a computer writing papers, countless hours reading books where I spent most of the time looking up words in my English to Spanish dictionary because I didn’t understand the words. It is all part of a long process.

In my studies, I had a hard time learning English and that made me want to help others learning another language. That is why I wanted to become a teacher. Through my studies, I learned that it takes between 5-7 years of study in order to become fluent in another language. I don’t want to discourage you with that fact, but rather encourage you. You don’t have to get everything perfect. Time is on your side. Keep practicing every day, practice at the stores, look for a job where you have to speak English, force yourself to practice a little every day.

As a student and as a mom, I want to tell you two important things:

Don’t give up, it will take a while but you can accomplish what you want. It is really important to at least try before you say no, I cannot do it. Sometimes it seems that you will never accomplish something, but if you don’t give up you will get where you want to be.

Do your best. This means to work as hard as you can. If you try really hard, things will work for you. If things don’t work for you, at least you will feel proud of yourself because you know that you did your best.

As a teacher – What should parents know about how to support their children in school?

As a teacher you need to know that students need a lot of support at home. In my opinion, reading is the most important skill that kids need. It affects how well they do in the primary grades, which affects how they perceive school. From what I have seen in my own classroom, the better students are at reading, the more they enjoy school and the better they do overall. The reading level that they come in to my classroom has a good deal to do with their previous years in school, and prior to that, how much they were read to. The more you read to them, the more words they will know. Knowing vocabulary is a huge part of reading. I have my 20 month old daughter, and we started reading to her as a newborn. We would read the same books over and over and now she loves books and it is amazing how many words she is able to say now. Many of those words came from those same books that we have read countless times.