Her name is Khrisha. Khrisha Tuballas.
The first time I met her she asked me about teacher Ada, her favorite teacher who she met last Summer School. Her drawings would always include teacher Ada and I with her.
The route was the same as Peter’s, Lisette’s and Luis’, only a little farther. She was clinging to me as she skipped towards their house.
When we arrived, many were actually looking from the outside (and some even went inside the house), wondering why a teacher was there. I laughed when the kids asked if I was Khrisha’s teacher, and of course I had to nod. They smiled with amazement.
This one’s a little different though. I was the first one to talk, not her mother. Normally, the parent would ask if their child was a problem in my class.
I could see the tears in her mothers eyes, only she held it as she said, “Ang hirap ho ng buhay ma’am kaya pasensya na ho kung hindi ko sila maturuan. Kumakayod ho kaming pareho. Kung hindi kami kumayod, walang pagkain… Minsan, salitan ang kainan…”
She stopped to look at her children.
I understood why she could not continue. I just told her that Khrisha enjoys learning in class, yet needs improvement.
“Ito ho ma’am,” she packed three of the rags she made.
“Ay wag na ho ma’am!” I refused. I did because I knew the effort she put into it, and she’d just give those to me for free.
“Ay sige na ho ma’am.” She got a plastic bag and put the three rags in there. “Ito ho.”
She gave it to me without doubt.
It reminded me of the woman who gave her last two copper coins into the temple treasury…
Khrisha walked me home, and she told me that she’d be playing only a little today and study more. She then added, “Teacher sorry ha. Kaya minsan wala akong assignment kasi wala kaming pambili ng papel.”
And I thought, that would be the best gift for her tomorrow.
Student number 12, check.