How to Get Along with Classmates (from my own experience)
Gevorg Mergelyan, 16, Novocherkassk



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When I was six years old, my family moved to Russia from Armenia. When I went to school, I didnt know the Russian language at all, only two words and . Also we lived in the bad district of town. My classmates didnt accept me. I was a foreigner. I didn't speak Russian and I was weak.

They were cruel to me every day, teasing me and wanting to fight. I could do nothing. But in my class there was a boy named Ivan who accepted and liked me. He even taught me Russian. He was also weak physically.

When I told my father about the problem, he played a great role in helping me. He made me go to judo and train there. I became very strong and won some competitions. I made friends
with many peers in two years. Gradually I began to notice that my classmates respected me.

They were even afraid of my best friend Ivan because I stood up for my friend. He was a very clever boy, but he didnt like sports. Ivan liked reading and writing. He was an excellent pupil. He helped me and I also did well at school. There was a fine mutual understanding between him and me.

Soon my family moved from that district to a better one. I was very glad, but I missed my friend Ivan. In the new school my classmates accepted me at once.

My own life story shows how an intolerant attitude turned to respect. It is even good that I had such difficult situations in my life. Now I know how to solve such problems.


I. Understanding the Story
Ask these questions with your partner.
1. What was Gevorg's first problem?
2. What did Ivan do to help Gevorg?
3. Why did Gevorg's classmates insult him?
4. How did Gevorg's father help him?
5. How did Gevorg help Ivan?

II. Vocabulary
Complete these sentences with the best words.
mutual district peers solve weak respect
1. Later he became friends with many of his ______________ .
2. After he learned judo, he was not ______________________ .
3. They had ______________ understanding about many things.
4. They were intolerant and showed him no ________________ .
5. There are many ways to ______________________ problems.
6. He moved from a poor ___________________ to a richer one.

III. Now you Talk
In a group, create three thinking questions to ask about this story.
A thinking question cannot be answered in one or two words, like yes or no.

IV. Now you Write
1. An answer to one of the questions in Exercise I.
2. Write a news report about a competition.
3. Write a character description of Gevorg and/or Ivan.

V. Role Play
1. The writer and two bullies: They criticize him.
2. The writer and Ivan: They become friends.
3. The writer and his father: The father suggests solutions.
4. The writer and Ivan: They talk about their future.
5. The writer and a teacher: The teacher congratulates him for his wisdom.