A few years ago I was commissioned to teach English to Franco-African children in the outskirts of Paris.

A few years ago I was commissioned to teach English to Franco-African children in the outskirts of Paris.I'm Argentinian, I have no knowledge of French, and I was quite excited to have been given the chance to teach these children English.Having said that, I was a little confused about how to communicate with them if problems in communication arose.The youngest of the siblings was only 5 years old at the time and he had no idea of English or Spanish. His sister though had an intermediate level of English and I told myself I could always ask her for help if things got "too challenging".My first class with Romain, the 5 year-old boy, was more about observing him. The first thing I knew I needed to do is to establish rapport. I needed Romain to trust me. I took lots of realia along with me with the expectation to deliver my super creative plan and we started the class.Fortunately for me, Romain was very friendly and easy-going. He smiled at me (I knew he didn't know what to do and it was his sweetest way to respond) and I smiled back. He moved around his bedroom, looking for his toys and ignoring me. I followed him, keeping my distance and just looked at what he was doing in an attempt to start playing with him. I always remembered to smile.No verbal language was involved. He noticed I was interested in his toys and he eventually handed in one to me. I hugged the toy and kissed it. Romain laughed. He must have thought I was crazy. We were doing the same for a long time - he grabbed a toy, I looked at it with interest and then he gave it to me. I took the toy, hugged it with love and kissed it.I noticed Romain was very generous and well-behaved. I opened my arms to signal I wanted to embrace him. He smiled and accepted my hug. It was a very moving moment. I said "I'm (pause) Georgi" touching my chest. He imitated me and went "I'm Georgi".I frowned in a smiley way and said, "I'm Georgi" always touching my chest and I pointed at him saying just "Romain" and he followed "Romain" touching his chest. I repeated "I'm Georgi" and signalled for him to say "I'm Romain" and he did.I kissed his curly hair and said "ok" and I accompanied the words with the "ok" universal gesture.That was all I could do on my first day. When I took the train back to my flat, I realized how powerful that meeting was. I was eager to see Romain again. We had accomplished a lot. We had started to build trust
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