English teacher finds an unexpected classroom

Virginia Trujillo has always enjoyed teaching English to non-native speakers. For years she taught ESL students literature and English in preparation for tests to receive their high school diploma at Virgil High School. But her classroom, mostly made up of 14-17 year olds, drove her crazy. Though she loved the kids, she didn’t love teaching to their rowdy antics. While her students may have loved her, they certainly didn’t love the after-school class.

The program for these students was eventually cut. Trujillo may have been relieved at first but missed teaching. An administrator named Margurette Siegel (formally of Virgil High School and recent retiree of Belmont High School) saw Trujillo’s skill and decided to put her in a different classroom. It was Siegel’s vision, and her ability to persuade the Los Angeles school district to fund it, that led Trujillo to teach in a Home Depot parking lot.

Teacher finds unexpected classroom by Stephanie Guzman

Seven years later, Trujillo still teaches English classes to immigrant workers 14 hours per week. Committed students take home “Distance Learning” videos given to the program by LAUSD. Trujillo says the video lessons have really made the difference in those that want to speak English beyond simple subjects.

As long as LAUSD continues to provide the funding, Trujillo will be in MacArthur Park with her white board and books teaching English to those that spend an afternoon in her class.

Relevant Links:

CARECEN Day Laborer Center

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