His name is Arjay. Arjay Baquiran.
I remember the first time I asked him what he wanted to be, and he told me he wanted to be a bus driver. I heard some of his classmates smirked, but I smiled and told him how lovely his dream was.
Same thing happened to me years ago when I told everyone I wanted to be a public high school teacher.
Arjay may be one of the most challenging in terms of pushing my students towards the big goal. Even though we would repeatedly chant the ‘Kaya Ko’ cheer, he would reply ‘teacher, hindi ko kaya’ in a seat work or ‘teacher, hindi ko alam’.
“Teacher, malaki ang bahay namin. Mas malaki pa sa classroom.”
He told me when we were on our way to their house. It was a three-story building, and he did prove what he said.
I talked to his mother about how he behaved in class. My only problem was he easily quits on a seat work, but otherwise he was well-behaved.
He kept smiling as his mother and I talked, and his mother was a bit distracted by it. She told him to study harder or else he’d repeat like what happened to him when he was in Grade 1.
I was happy that his parents and his relatives were really supportive about Arjay’s education. Although there was a lot to invest on Arjay…
While we were talking on how we could make Arjay into studying, I remember something he mentioned a week ago.
“Ano po yung sinabi niya tungkol sa Japan?” I asked.
“Ah,” His mother smiled. “Sa tita niya ho iyon.”
Arjay then joined our conversation as he sat on one of the displayed boxes, “Pag 18 na ako pupunta na daw ako ng Japan!”
“Paano ka pupunta kung di ka makakapasa ng grade 3?” his mother said, “Kailangan magaling ka magbasa sa English.”
I nodded with agreement.
“Eh di kapag ganon, magtatrabaho ako hanggang sa makapunta doon!”
I smiled; I was happy to hear such innocent thoughts of a child. I hoped that life was just as easy as that.
Student number 4, check.