Aisha is a Grade 7 student. She and her family recently arrived in Canada from another country. Aisha is having a hard time adjusting to her new life. At school, she has been trying to figure out how to fit in and how to make friends, but there is no one to talk to and no one to explain anything to her. She is trying to figure it all out by herself.
Aisha feels really lost, alone, out of place and kind of invisible in her new school. She has made friends with some other kids who are also newcomers, but she has not made any friends with the kids who were born and raised in Canada. She has tried very hard to approach some of them, but they just don’t seem to be that interested in getting to know her. They’re not really mean to her or anything, but they just seem kind of indifferent to her. She is pretty sure it’s because they think she is too different.
The clothes she brought from her country don’t seem to look right anymore in this new place. She has noticed that the food she eats in her family is different than the food the other kids eat. She and her parents eat lots of curry, but the other kids say it smells funny so she doesn’t let her parents pack that in her lunch anymore. She knows too that her English is halting and sometimes difficult to understand. And sometimes the kids make jokes that she doesn’t understand.
Aisha ends up being left out of a lot of social activities, like birthday parties or eating together in the lunch room. She just doesn’t feel like she belongs in her new school. She has run out of ideas for things to try to do to fit in.
Then half-way through the school year Aisha and her class get a new teacher. The teacher introduces herself to all the students and even has a chat with Aisha, asking her where she is from and how she is doing settling into her new life in Canada. She really seems to want to know about her. Aisha just glows.
The new teacher initiates some projects and activities for her students that give them opportunities to get to know each other and find out what they have in common. Gradually, the climate in her classroom really changes and Aisha feels like some of the other kids are getting to know her and like her a little bit.