Sofia Took Bangla Class for Six Months And Here's What Happened!
Sofia is a lovely and smart six year old girl who lives in McAllen, Texas with her parents and her older brother.
Sofia’s mother was originally born in Bangladesh and raised in the US.
Growing up in a multicultural, bi-racial family, Sofia got the best of both worlds in so many ways, but while she was deeply connected to her Bangladeshi cultural identity, her native language was English.
And so it was a struggle for her parents to teach her Bangla and get her to use Bangla instead of English on a daily basis.
Her parents connected with Amar Vasha and Sofia was introduced to her Bangla teacher Trishun.
Sofia started taking her classes six months ago and fell in love with the joy of the Bangla language and culture, her Bangla skills have improved leaps and bounds, and she genuinely looks forward to the time each week with her teacher Trishun Apu who she genuinely thinks of as her friend and elder sister.
Here’s what happened after her six months of Bangla learning experience…
Sofia Connected to Her Bangladeshi Roots
Living in the USA, Sofia had heard a few things about Bangladesh from her parents and grandparents but had a fairly basic grasp of the country and culture. But after joining her Bangla lessons with Teacher Trishun, she now knows a lot more about Bangladesh compared to other Bangladeshi-American children and her pride and confidence in her identity has increased greatly.
Sofia Wants to Visit Bangladesh
Sofia found Bangladeshi culture and her heritage very interesting. She also loves the “difference” in terms of nature, environment, and geography of the two countries. She was amazed when she learned that there are six seasons in Bangladesh instead of four. She wants to visit Trishun Apu and play in the rain together.
Sofia Speaks Few Sentences in Bangla
Sofia and her Bangla teacher found many common interests in their first class, so they have become good friends since the beginning. In the Bangla class, they talk about their daily lives and culture and learn more about each other. They started learning more about how to communicate in Bangla. Now Sofia’s vocabulary has expanded quite a bit and she is starting to speak Bangla in full sentences.
Sofia Found an Elder Sister and Friend
Trishun and Sofia are not just teacher-student in the relationship. Sofia considers Trishun as a friend and as an elder sister living in a different country. She loves doing the sessions with her teacher. Every week she eagerly waits for their class time. Every day Sofia starts her Bangla class saying “Shuvo Dupur!” in the cutest way and ends with a sweet “Abar Dekha Hobe.”
Fear Not, Bangla is Easy
You probably know many Bangladeshi-American, or NRB children, or English-medium school children that all at once take pride in their identity, but also have a lot of apprehension nad fear when it comes to Bangla. Sofia was no different but she embraced the challenge and now sees it truly as a joy. Now, Sofia can make simple Bangla sentences and she is getting more comfortable in speaking and using Bangla.
Sofia Earned a Certificate
Sofia earned a certificate from her teacher for the hard work and efforts she put into learning Bangla. Sofia’s dad printed and bound the certificate for her in a beautiful frame. She also got a bonus ice cream from her dad. She was so excited and proud about her achievement!
Lockdown Days Were Not Boring
The global COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to shut down and go online. This new way of online classes put a lot of stress and pressure on the children and also lacked the engagement that they were used to having with their teachers and their friends. It was the same for Sofia, but Tinkers AmarVasha with Teacher Trishun designed the classes to be engaging and entertaining for Sofia so that they were something to look forward to instead of viewed as a chore. They gossiped a lot, had fun together, played games, and learned at the same time. Through her Bangla sessions with Trishun, she found a way to relax during the global lockdown and had someone to connect with outside of her own family and household.
Sofia Forgets about the Class Duration
Normally a session at Tinker’s Amar Vasha service is 40 minutes long, but teachers like Trishun go above and beyond for their students. So each day, Sofia’s class starts with gossiping. As a very brilliant girl, Sofia loves to talk and tell her daily stories to her teacher. So Trishun waits and listens to everything Sofia says. Children love to talk and they feel honored when someone listens to them attentively. Trishun gradually brings Sofia to her Bangla lessons to ensure learning outcomes. Most days, Sofia does not want to end the session after 40 minutes. So they often end up spending 90 minutes together because she just doesn’t want her class and her time with her teacher to come to an end!.
Sofia Celebrates Pohela Boishakh
Sofia celebrated the Pohela Boishakh (Bangla New Year) and Ekushe February (International Language Day) with her teacher and other kids who are also learning Bangla in Tinker’s Amar Vasha program. Sofia enjoyed those events very much and also participated in the event games happily. They made her feel connected to a community and like she had so many friends and peers that were learning Bangla just like her.
Sofia Teaches her Teacher Trishun
Learning is not a one-way transaction. Trishun encourages Sofia to share her new learnings and experiences with her. And Sofia is very proud to teach her teacher as well.
Sofia Sings a Bangla song
Sofia learned the famous Bangla song – “Amar Bhai er Rokte Rangano, Ekushe February, Ami ki Bhulite Pari…” She sang the song with her brother on International Language Day.
Watching Sofia loving Bangla and being more and more interested in Bangladesh makes her teacher and the whole Tinkers Amar Vasha team very happy. Sofia wishes to visit Bangladesh soon to meet her friend, and both of them are planning to discover more about Bangla and Bangladesh together.
Coming to Bangladesh, Sofia wants to make beautiful placards and go to the Pohela Boishakh Rally wearing a “Saree.” She wants to visit Cox’s Bazar, play on the beach with her teacher and her family. She wants to visit the Sundarbans and see the “Royal Bengal Tiger” and wants to do so much more.
In these ways, Tinkers Amar Vasha is helping parents connect their children to their roots. Every Bengali parent wants their children to know about their history, their culture, their pride in being Bengali. Tinkers Amar Vasha is determined to build a wonderful Bangla universe for them.