It was my second day of school! I had my backpack hanging from my back with my pencils and notebooks. My aunt had packed my favorite lunch: cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese.
As we approached the school, I started to slow down. I felt my feet grow heavier and heavier and the tuft of my tail dragged behind me. “What happened?” my auntie asked.
I looked down to the ground and very softly I mumbled “I… don’t really want to go to school.”
Auntie’s eyes turned sad. She held my shoulder, as she always does when she wants to comfort me “It’s just…” I continued “I like my new school, but I am worried to go… because they all speak a language that I hardly understand” I said and felt my voice breaking.
Me and my family had recently moved to this new country, both of my parents must work long hours so auntie Bertha takes me to school. Everything is so different from my hometown! I love this new place and I want to make new friends, but when I try to communicate, nobody understands me, or I say everything the wrong way.
Aunt Bertha touched my chin and wiped my tears “I know it is hard and what you are doing is so brave!” she said “You will make a lot of mistakes, but sooner rather than later, you will be able to communicate with everyone. You are so creative and fun, and you will find a way.” She hugged me and I walked inside the school, still scared.
I entered the classroom quietly; I really didn’t want anyone to notice me. I sat for circle time, I love singing and dancing so much, but I couldn’t follow the songs. I started to worry they would think there is something wrong with me.
Not understanding most of what’s being said makes me very nervous. I felt so much anxiety, I felt so lonely and lost that I started to cry and really hoped for auntie Bertha to come and pick me up, but what happened next made me very happy I stayed in the class.
Miss Patty, my new teacher, remembered the song auntie Bertha told her I love, and she played it for the class. I love music and dancing so much, and my classmates started dancing with me. We all realized sometimes you don’t need words to communicate.
Being new to a country with a strange language is challenging, but my family and teachers have taught me there are some tools that can help me express myself without words, like pointing at things, gesturing and of course, music.
Over the past weeks I have learned so many words and made many new friends. I feel like now I have two new worlds that I belong to: the one I left months ago, and this new one.
And even though I do make a lot of mistakes when I communicate in this different language, I am no longer scared to try again.
Mistake felt lonely, anxious and lost.
Mistake was so overwhelmed that it couldn’t communicate, it started to cry
The teacher paid attention and remembered a song that made Mistake feel comfortable.
Children around Mistake were friendly and welcoming.
Activities & Conversations
What would you do to make Mistake feel safe and welcome in your classroom?
Pretend you are Mistake and you don’t speak the same language as your friends. (A) How would you communicate? (B) How would you like to be treated? (C) Draw or write about it.
Have you been to a place where people spoke a language that you didn’t understand? How did you feel?
Have you met someone that didn’t speak your language? How did you interact with them?