Author Reunites With 2nd-Grade Teacher Who Taught Him English — And Changed His Life.

susannah lung and jamil jan kochai smiling as they pose next to each other for a photo.

When Jamil Jan Kochai began kindergarten in California, he didn’t speak any English. His family had been living in the United States since he was a baby but his household, who came from Afghanistan, all spoke Pashto and Farsi.


His teachers didn’t know how to help an ESL (English as a second language) student, leaving Jamil frequently punished for unintentionally disobeying. He was also far behind his fellow classmates and on the verge of being held back.

Then, in 2nd grade, a kind teacher changed his life forever. The now-author shared his story on Facebook which you can read below!

Once they were able to chat over a phone call, an in-person meetup was up next. As much as they wanted to make that happen ASAP, so many events happened at once, putting an indefinite delay on their reunion. Between the pandemic, the Afghan government collapsing, and the death of Jamil’s grandmother, the two of them lost touch.

There were also good things happening in Jamil’s life that delayed their reunion, like the publishing of his latest book, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories.” In fact, he got the best surprise of all after a reading at the University of California.

Wow, what a special moment for these two! As much as Jamil loves to praise Susannah for being such an amazing person, it’s safe to say the feeling is mutual.

“I wouldn’t have guessed maybe that he would have been a writer specifically, but knew he was going to do something creative because he was full of ideas and just a cool kid,” Susannah said. “I’d read part of the first book, but it came alive at that reading and it was just thrilling to meet him. Every teacher, I think, would want somebody to come back and say, ‘You had something to do with my life.'”

Share Jamil and Mrs. Lung’s story to help brighten someone’s day.

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