The events described by Helen Dunmore in the short story “My Polish Teacher’s Tie” take place somewhere in England. Carla, the main character, lives in England and works as a part-time catering assistant for a British school. Stefan Jeziorny, Carla’s penfriend, lives in Poland. Poland is important because Carla feels the need to reconnect with her Polish roots, which is why she decides to write to Steve in the first place.
The school where Carla works in is the place where she first finds out about the Polish teachers’ initiative of finding British penfriends. The focus is on the school cafeteria, and there are some mentions of “tea and buns” (p. 100, l. 2) and of a serving-hatch (p. 103, l. 25). Carla also describes her job ...