Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sophia's Friend - Friday, 16 October 2009

My first week teaching I taught grade 2A math about 4 times, until the Philippino teachers arrived. I soon saw in one student, "Irene", a potential friend for Sophia. She's Turkish, and her English is perhaps the best of all the students'. Her Russian is good, too, but she's still in the beginner's Russian class with Sophia, and her English is better than her Russian.

Her father is a diplomat, and I met him one day. He was very friendly and the first thing he said was, "How is her English?" So, I bet he wants his daughter to learn English and would be very happy for her to have an English-speaking friend! Irene, like Sophia, spends a lot of time with the English-language teachers, talking. I bet that she, like Sophia, needs someone to talk to!

One day I asked Irene if she knew who Sophia was, in her Russian class, and she said no. So I made a point of pointing the two out to each other. They didn't seem to care.

But then on Thursday Irene asked if I could go to the playground with her on the weekend. I wasn' t sure if she was just asking me, as a teacher, or me as Sophia's mother. On Friday she came up to me with Sophia and asked if Sophia could come to her house after school and watch an English-language DVD with her. Both girls were jumping up and down, excited.

Of course I didn't want anything to get in the way of them getting together!

When I talked to her father, it was obvious that he hadn't known that she had invited a friend over for that day--he knew she wanted Sophia over, but not right away--but all she had to do was say "pleasepleasepleaseplease" and I could tell she had him wrapped around her finger. I felt comfortable letting Sophia go with him and glad that I finally knew my address so that she could go.

Sophia stayed for several hours before I received the call. The man who called put Sophia on the phone. I asked her where she was. She said, in a voice that sounded really tiny, "I don't know." I tried to get out of her--was she at the girl's house? Was she already at my apartment? Finally, I talked to the man, who said he would bring her by in half an hour.

I walked home from Valerie's house, then I received a call asking to describe my building. Uh... There are no significant markings on my building, and we are not located above a shop as most apartments are. I said I'd be in front.

I waited outside, watching the cars drive by, until I saw a car driving really slowly in the far right lane. It slowed to a stop, and I smiled as I looked into the car. I only saw two young Kazakh men in front. Then the back door opened and Sophia came out. The men said that they tutored Irene in Russian every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and Irene's father had said Sophia was welcome to join her on those days. Yay!

Sophia was happy to have had a play date, although they had only watched a move (in English, about fairies) and eaten (she hadn't eaten). I tried to get details about their apartment without being too nosy--kids talk. I didn't get much, just that she lives in an apartment. Later I learned that she has a "playground" in her bedroom.

So, an English speaking friend for Sophia and a break for me... Sounds like a good start.

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