“Kanin siya. Ulam ako. Kakainin mo kami.”

Teacher Jessa: Kaya ko kayo tinuturuan nito para matuto kayo magsalita sa English. Hindi lang ito basta wala lang. Kailangan niyo matuto. Kaya tuwing English, gusto ko, English din ang sinasabi niyo.

While I was getting my book, one student grabbed the pencil of his classmate. I smiled as he said, “No! No! No!” and his classmate said, “Yes yes!” I knew the conversation was something to correct, but I appreciated how these students tried to speak in English. Struggle seen; struggle appreciated. They started to say things in English like, ‘That is a notebook.’ (even though he meant, ‘give me that notebook’) and ‘Teacher, urine!’ (Yes, I taught them the word urine, and they were amazed by the word. Though of course, I did not allow them since it was not the procedure.)

The highlight of my day happened during math time.

Jamella: Teacher, sabi po ni Ivan kanin po ako.

Normally, I would ignore those comments and continue. But since we had time, I asked Ivan why he called her ‘kanin’.

Teacher Jessa: Ha? Ivan, bakit mo tinawag si Jamella na kanin?

Ivan: Teacher, kanin siya. Ulam ako.

I was like ‘Whachasaying?!’ Sorry, but I laughed. It was my first time to laugh as in the real “ha ha ha” style, not the smile and shrug-it-off one.

Teacher Jessa: Ha? Ivan? Ano yang sinasabi mo? (while laughing)

Ivan: Kanin siya ‘cher. Ulam ako. Kakainin mo kami.

I did not really understand that, but I was still laughing and so was the whole class. It didn’t make sense, I know, and the student knew that he didn’t make sense too because I asked him what he meant and he said, “wala lang ‘cher'” then he laughed with us.

As we laughed and smiled and waited for everyone to pass their assessments, one student said, “Teacher, burahin mo na yung isang bar.” (The bar is one of my CM strategies that I applied just today. It measures how ‘mad’ I was already. It’s effective since I do not have to reprimand students or clap or say ‘class class’. They knew the consequence if the whole bar was filled already.) And then he added, “Napasaya ka namin.”

I realized that it was my FIRST TIME to laugh with them. So I said, “O sige, buburahin ko na yung isang bar. Pero isa lang! Para behave pa rin okay?” And a ‘yehey’ from the whole class was heard.

I guess, that was the highlight of the week: I could make them happy by telling them they make me happy.

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