I won’t let any labels tell me that I’m inferior.

By Kimberley Garcia  |   From : Mexico  |   School : University Neighborhood High School (New York)

I sit on the cold metallic chair, and my mind wanders around the class. The lesson on the board start to disappear, the words become black, my teacher’s voice starts getting softer like someone singing a light melody, and the students disappear just like pieces of chocolate might as someone eats it. Once the students are gone, my teacher’s body turns black and she melts into the board. The desk begins to multiply in rows that could go on for miles and miles and I hear the words; “struggling”, “low scores”, and “smaller class” in my head. These words remind me of one of the meetings I had earlier with my parents. Recently, in my life I have been stopped from believing I’m intelligent because I am an IEP student. But I decided that I won’t be labeled by some word that tells me I can’t handle difficult assignments and show to my teachers and myself that I’m ready for any challenge.

My whole life I have been raised in a latino family and grew up in a safe, warm environment. I grew up  in family full of women, I’m the middle child, and have two parents. My family encouraged me to finish my education since both my parents didn’t get to get to go to college or finish their general education.  Both my parents worked at low paying jobs as housekeeper and factory work. They had to worked earlier in the morning and come late at night, so my younger sister Jocelyn and me were left with a babysitter. My older sister Daisy was the one who helped me to be more-open minded and as we both grew, she began to challenge my view of the world. She wanted me to know the truth of where I come from, learn about my culture since my parents would only tell me stories about their childhood and remind how my family in Mexico don’t have the same opportunities as I do in Spanish.

The area I lived in and the school I went to was majority between whites and latinos. When I went to school I never truly tried to pay attention in school since I never cared about my education at that time and was to young to understand why school in general is important. Since I had lived in a safe area I only ever wanted to go outside and play with my two sisters.

When I was a young girl, I had been told that I had IEP and in many of my classes, I saw how students with learning disabilities were treated differently from regular students. In the beginning, I didn’t care because I never knew how much an education matters and how my parents want me to finish school with college degree. As I grew older I noticed how some of my friends had been given more challenging assignment/class and I have been giving easier assignment. I felt inferior to my friends as well as frustrated since I knew that I understood their materials yet I felt that no one would notice me. I decide that I will let people; my teachers, my school that I can handle these harder class by trying to improve in my academic grades. I wanted to not only to prove to my teachers that I’m capable to much more rigorous challenges, I wanted to prove it to myself.  At the same time I begin to learn about my family and the importance of colleges degree, I wanted to people to learn despite my “disability,” I am capable of much more.

The teacher just had finish explaining about slopes, graphs, and the formulas. Slopes, sun-rise, variables, and graphs are the words that keep repeating. In a room full of ten people including the teacher, it felt as time had stopped since all I could hear is tap-tap from the teacher pointing either the board or desk or the cries of the pencil when students were taking notes or copying the problem down.  I take notes despite already have it written in my math note. I keep coming into this room and nothing changes. Everyday I have at least one teacher trying to give me a worksheet that simplifies the task I’m given or one teacher helping me with the task I’m giving. I noticed that everyone around me has to do the task without any “cheat” sheet guide nor have any teachers that helps them through their assignment all the way.

The teachers were trying to help me, but instead it made me feel inferior to my other peers. I decide that I will work hard to proves those around me including myself that I’m capable of much more. Everytime, I had to go through an IEP meeting I focused more on my weakness and slowly my teachers were able to realize that I don’t need an IEP. I felt satisfied and proud of myself that I finally overcame this obstacle.

When I finally was declared a student without an IEP, I felt that I could take down anything. I decided that no matter what obstacle is ahead of me, I will not let this determine me. I won’t let any labels tell me that I’m inferior.


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