His name is Jay-jay. Jay-jay Autida.
Jay-jay positively changed from a super loud takas-boy of III-Dela Cruz to a simple noisy kid. He still misbehaves, but at least not every second of the lesson.
I think he’d be my last visit for January because of a choir contest in school on the 31st.
“Teacher naman eh! Ako naman bisitahin mo!”
He would always tell that to me whenever I would go to visit one of his classmates. That or this “Ang daya naman. Teacher kailan ako?”
“O sige ikaw na Jay-jay ngayon.” I told him. “Malapit ka lang ba?”
“Opo teacher! Malapit lang yan!” One of his classmates shouted.
“Tatawid lang ‘cher.”
We crossed the bridge and after a few minutes we arrived. Unfortunately, his parents weren’t there. His brother said that their parents were still in the market.
So, we went to the market.
We all know that a market is a busy place. People here and there; noise everywhere. When I asked Jay-jay where they were, he immediately pointed to the first stall.
His mother saw me. Her point finger made the ‘lagot ka‘ gesture. She wiped her hands, then went to me.
“Ma’am anong kasalanan nito? Lagot ka Jay! Anong ginawa mo?” She asked.
“Ay hindi po. Talagang pinupuntahan ko lang silang lahat. Pero wala po siyang kasalanan.” I assured her, “Gusto ko lang po malaman kung kamusta siya sa bahay.”
“Ay okay naman ho. Tumutulong. Grabe! Akala ko may kasalanan to. Buti naman!”
The sign of relief was obvious in her.
“Pero ma’am bumaba ho grades ni Jay-jay. Sana po matutukan sa bahay.”
“Oo nga ho. Pasensya na. Ito kasi ang hanap buhay namin. Ay teka ma’am kumakain ng bangus?”
“Saglit lang ho.”
Then she immediately went towards the stall.
“Tumutulong ka sa mama at papa?” I told Jay-jay, “Tingnan mo. Aral ka mabuti para sa kanila okay?”
“Opo. Tumutulong ako pag Sabado.” Jay-jay replied, “O kaya pag walang pasok.”
When his mother came back, she was already carrying a bag of fish! I was surprised, not knowing what to do. I thought I was going to pay for it, and I was too embarrassed not to pay for it of course.
“Magkano ho ma’am?”
“Ay hindi ho! Para sa inyo yan!”
“Ay wag na ho–”
“Please ho ma’am. Para po sa teacher na bumibista at may pake sa anak ko.”
Touched, I got the plastic and said my goodbye.
I would never forget those words–for the teacher who cares for my child. The best words of affirmation I got from a parent yet.
Student number 30, check.