My boyfriend Chanda is Cambodian. He was born in the Philippines when his mother and father were fleeing the war ridden Cambodia. When he was a year old and his brother was two, his parents finally came to the United States. They eventually made their way to the East Coast and settled in Massachusetts. After divorcing her husband, Chanda’s mother took him and his siblings to Rhode Island where she raised them on her own. Chanda’s mother speaks Khmer and Chanda and his siblings were raised on that in their home. As they went through school, they picked up English and now use that as their primary language. After Chanda and I started dating, I was introduced to his mom and there was a huge language gap between the two of us. She speaks very broken English and is often so bad I can hardly understand her while I do not speak Khmer at all. At family gatherings, everyone speaks Khmer because that is what their mother speaks and will speak English directly to me but I feel so left out because I do not understand anything they are saying to each other. Rodriguez’s reading reminds me of this. He mentions he was sitting in school and did not completely understand his teachers because his parents spoke Spanish at home. Only after his teachers visited his home did they practice English in the household which created a great disconnect between the children and their parents. I feel I can relate to this because I will never have a true connection with Chanda’s mom because of the language barrier whereas he is very close with my parents because he can speak English.
This reading also brings me back to Delpit when she talks about the different commands teachers use compared to parents. She mentions teachers often frame things into a questions such as: “Should we be playing with that right now?” when they really mean “Put it away, it is not time to play with that.” This can relate to the language that is spoken at home compared to what is spoken in schools. Both Rodriguez and Delpit show how differences in communication can cause a student to fall behind because they are not completely understanding what is going on or what their teacher is really asking of them.