The short story “My Polish Teacher’s Tie” by Helen Dunmore follows the narrator, Carla Carter, a woman who works as a part-time catering assistant for a school. She is half Polish and remembers speaking her native language with her mother when she was a child. She also recalls her father forbidding it before she started school.
One day, Carla overhears the school’s headmaster saying that some Polish teachers want to correspond with British teachers to improve their English. The headmaster also announces that a teacher exchange program will be possible in the future. Carla asks the headmaster for one of the Polish teachers’ addresses and starts writing.
The Polish teacher Carla communicates with is Stefan Jeziorny, but he calls himself Steve in his letters. After a while, Carla and Steve begin w...