The “Helper” 

     Story by Farida, whose native language is Dari. Farida is 16 and is in the 10th grade.


MY winter break is from mid-December until the end of March when the weather is very cold in Afghanistan. We have break in the winter, not summer, because most schools don’t have heat. During vacation students can take some classes at private schools and they take preparation for the next year. The schools are in different places and run by different people. Some classes are free. Some cost money. I took one class, Chemistry. I also taught my sisters English during vacation.

     Then I decided to ask the director of the school if I could be a teacher in that school for English and he said O.K. There was no English teacher in that school. There were other teachers of math and science, but no English teacher. The reason why I wanted to do this was because I have been able to learn English and my English is not useful if I just keep it for myself. But I cannot call myself a teacher or even a student-teacher because teachers are much greater than me. Please I want to just write that I am a person who helped some children learn English.

     I had to walk about 30 minutes from my home to get to the school and it was cold there without heat. Sometimes it was only 3 or 4 degrees. [35-37º Fahrenheit.] I had 30 students. I taught them about one hour each day. 

     First when I went, the other teachers were making fun of me. I know that I am not a good teacher, but at least I wanted to help the children learn some English. The children were very brave to study in the cold. There was one girl, she was very brave. Most of the boys in Afghanistan are very rude. They make fun of girls and it is very hard for them. This brave girl made them stop. She was the first girl I ever saw that went and told them to stop being rude. It took so much courage. They were really scared of that girl then. They stopped being rude.

     In Afghanistan teachers are often angry [stern]. I taught them with love and they worked hard under this new system. I taught them as I was taught at SOLA [School of Leadership, Afghanistan]. Instead of asking them why they did not learn well, I asked them how could I help them learn better? I told them instead of having anger, we must have smiles on our faces to learn. There was a small ball in the class. It was in my hand. I would throw the ball away from me and then every one would run to get it who knew the answer to my question. We also played a game, who could speak English for five minutes. We had so much fun.

     I was writing lessons on the board and they would copy what I wrote. I was using books and I was making lessons from my own self. At the end of vacation some of the students cried. Now they do not study English any more. I recieved a letter from my students and they were very sweet. They wrote that they cannot forget me and they miss me. 

     And the other teachers? They came to me and told me that they want to learn English from me too. 

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com