I am learning a lesson that I will never forget.
Two days ago, when I got to school, all my friends were in the hall. They were talking about this new person in our class. “Did you see what she had on her head? She looks like she is from the country. She is not from here,” said Mary, my very best friend.
“There she is,” said Sara. We all turned and stared at her. She saw us looking at her and smiled. We didn’t say anything and I am sorry to say that none of us smiled back. She stood there, not sure what to do. Looking down at her feet, she turned and went back down the hall.
“I heard that she is a foreigner,” said Sara who is a ‘know-it-all’.
In history class, Ms. Martin, our teacher, introduced her, “This is Masha and she just moved here from Kazakhstan, and her English is excellent. Masha, please go to the map and show us where your country is.”
She stood up and walked to the world map on the wall. “This is my country.” Her ‘this’ sounded like ‘dees’ and her ‘country’ sounded like ‘kon-tree’. Some of the kids in the class laughed, and Masha looked down again. She seemed unable to raise her hand to the map.
“Class, be polite,” the teacher said. “Masha, show us where Kazakhstan is.”
Masha raised her hand to a big country, shown in blue on the big map. “Here is Kazakhstan. It is on Caspian Sea.” No ‘the’ and her ‘sea’ sounded like ‘zee’
Joe, the class ‘creep’, giggled and said to his buddy, “Zat is zery inter-es-zing,” obviously making a joke about her pronunciation. The teacher was wrong; her English was not excellent. I began to feel sorry for her.
At lunchtime, Masha was sitting alone. My group always sat at the same table, right across from where Masha was. “Look at what she is eating; it looks so strange,” said Sara. Masha saw us looking and quickly closed her strange-looking lunch box, and left the room.
I began to feel bad. We were being mean and cruel. How would I feel if I had to go to school in a foreign country? Maybe I would not know anyone and probably I would not speak the language even as well as Masha spoke English?
That night I spoke to my Mom about her. “Lily, it is important to be kind to her. You know that.”
“But Mom, all the girls will drop me if I become friends with her. You know how they are with new people.”
“Lily, you have to be a leader in this situation.”
The next day, I went in early. I saw Masha by herself and went over and introduced myself, hoping to make up for yesterday. “Masha, how are you liking it here?” We talked for a while and I found out that she plays the violin, just like I do. Our music class was next and I chose to sit by her.
Maybe I have to be strong and show them that it is wrong to be cruel to someone just because she is new. I want to make a difference by being kind to her.
ACTIVITIES: Vocabulary: Use these words in new sentences: giggled; situation; cruel, creep, drop me.
A. Role Play: Students choose a part. Other parts can be added.
1. Masha, Lily, Sara in the hall; use dialog to create the scene.
Ms. Martin, Masha, other students. Masha being introduced to class.
Lily’s mother, Lily. They talk about the situation with Masha.
Lily, Masha. The next morning in the hall.
B. Variation: Students write the dialogs, in their own words, even changing the scene if they want to.
C. 1. Write another chapter to this situation
2. Write a scene of Masha talking about this to her mother.
3. Write a letter to Masha
D. Write a summary of the story.