Each day I am faced with many rewarding experiences at my job. Sometimes I am faced with sad experiences. Today was one of those days. One of our students who had been studying so hard for her citizenship interview and test failed the speaking portion of the interview. This woman has attended every class, met with tutors, and has studied at home diligently. She knows the answer to all 100 questions. She can read and write in English with proficiency. Her trouble is with speaking English. She is an older Albanian woman who needs to learn English as part of her citizenship requirements. Like so many her story is one of loss. She was widowed years ago and is here with only her sister. She is one of the sweetest women you will ever meet. Humble and thankful for all of our help she greets us daily with a big hug and a piece of candy or chocolate. For the holidays she knit us all a scarf.
Her interview was yesterday. She came to study with us two hours before her appointed time. Although we were concerned with her speaking skills we encouraged her to do her best and not be too nervous. We patiently awaited to hear back how her experience went. She came in to see us today and tells us, "Thank you, I passed everything except the speaking." Immediately she tears up and I give her a hug. She then sees my coworker, Jennifer, and shares the news with her. She starts crying and Jennifer hugs her and says, "I am so proud of you. You passed the questions, the writing and the reading. We will continue to help you with the English conversation." She continued to give her encouragement and more importantly acknowledgement of what she had accomplished. I felt as if I were witnessing a private moment and almost felt like stepping away, but then I decided to snap a quick picture and share her story. She has 60 days to improve her English conversation and will have another chance at passing the proficiency level needed to obtain citizenship.