Nobody Talks to Me

“I was getting mad every single time.”

Hold a Conversation

In addition to the questions below, please see How to use the questions for reflection.

Clarifying Questions
  • What does the narrator experience in his first year? How does he respond? What emotions does he describe?
  • What changes in his second year? How does he respond? What emotions does he describe?
Interpretive Questions
  • What would you want to remember from this student’s story?
Implication Questions
  • What might you do differently, having heard his story?

Let us know how the conversation or self-reflection went. Email us or discuss the experience in our comment box.

Transcript for Nobody Talks to Me

Yeah, my name is Henry G____. I originally come from Guinea. It’s in the West Africa country. When I came, I was having, I didn’t know any English at all. So I was so frustrating in classroom. I was hitting like people in my classroom because I couldn’t ask them why they were saying and I was getting mad every single time, but I realize it’s because I don’t understand the language. That’s why I’m feeling like that, but I feel like, uh, ignored in the classroom because nobody talks to me because I don’t know how to speak.

The only person I was having the conversation talk was on the teacher because, and even that she would barely understand me because I could barely even speak very good the language. So, uh, for me to communicate my teacher, I have to write down a paper, like a notes to hand it to her.

Freshman year was kind of frustrating, and I struggle a lot, and I didn’t really like it, and I was really thinking about going back to Guinea because I don’t feel like I belong here, and then my sophomore year when I started pick on some walls and started making friends because I try out for the track team.

I came in second semester so that was track season, but I was having a hard time how the coach was telling us to have warm ups like, um, to do some techniques for track. I couldn’t understand him, but I got lucky.

There was one kid who come from Africa, but he been in Guinea before, so he’s not from Guinea. He from Liberia, but during the war in Liberia he was a refugee in Guinea. So he know how to speak a little bit of French, so I was getting ahead fine. But when the coach was saying to us to do he just tell me. Even though he didn’t speak in very well French, but I could understand at least what the coach was telling me just using him.

So he was telling me to do that, and I adopting the culture. I start like having fun, and I started to forgot about the English barrier was like giving a hard time, and start making friends, start hanging out with them, after practice working to go to McDonalds, working to take the bus together. So it was like getting into the American life slowly, and I was just loving it.

  • Scot S.

    That sounds like a really frustrating experience. I’m really glad the speaker’s experience changed after his first year. It’s a difficulty that many students don’t think about, and I haven’t until this clip.