His name is Djhay. Djhay Dullas.
During the first week of class, I call him “Dj Hay”. His name sounded like a real DJ, so I thought his parents got it from the radio or something. But when I received his birth certificate, I found out that it his name was spelled “Djhay”, but pronounced as D-J.
We were asked to do something at the principal’s office the whole day, so I was not able to talk to my students that much. Hours before that, I told Djhay to wait for me; but he didn’t.
I asked Jaycee if he knew, and he did. I was also aiming to visit C-jay, my student who did not want to go to school anymore even if the school year is almost done.
And so we went.
Jaycee, Kenli, Llyod and Asnor with his sister were with me.
Jaycee, Kenli and Llyod were singing a rap while walking, while Asnor and I were talking. While we were at Litex, Kenli ran to a spot where he saw a five-peso coin. To be honest, the usually Kenli would say “nakita ko to, akin na to” but to my surprise, he ran towards a stranger and said, “nahulog niyo po”.
I was so proud of him so I could not help but give him a tap on his back. He embraced me as I did that.
Even if I still get disappointed at them because they were noisy, and frustrated that they could not get a question right…
I knew that they ALL changed in behavior positively. This alone swipes all the frustration and depression.
I treated them to a tricycle ride, then went down when we were already in Ninada Street. Asnor had to leave so only the four of us were left to go to Djhay’s house.
Djhay’s father, who was guarding their sari-sari store, welcomed us. Djhay went out without wearing his shorts, and his classmates laughed while they saw how surprised Djhay was.
His mother smiled at me, “Ay ma’am!”
“Hello po.” I replied. “Pasenysa na po sa biglaang bisita. Sabi ko kay Djhay hintayin ako kaso hindi po kasi ako nakapaturo sa kanila dahil may inutos po sa amin. Nagpasama nalang po ako.”
His father immediately offered the four of us softdrinks, Sparkle to be specific.
“Hala babayaran ko na po ito masyado na po marami!” I said.
“Okay lang ma’am minsan minsan lang naman po.” Djhay’s mother replied.
“Wag po kayong mag-alala. Wala pong problema kay Djhay, ha? Napakabait pong bata niyan. Gusto ko lang po talaga bumisita sa kanila.”
“Kaya nga po sabi ni Djhay bibisita daw kayo. Kinabahan talaga ako noon kasi baka mamaya hindi siya makakapasa.”
“Ay hindi po! Si Djhay pa? Sobrang galing po niyan sa loob ng classroom!”
We chatted about Djhay’s attitude inside and outside the house. His mother confirmed that Djhay acts responsibly inside the house, like he thinks maturely. I was glad he was.
While we were chatting about Djhay’s grades, Jaycee suddenly said something. Llyod then said, “Hala wag kang sasabat pag may naguusap!”
We both laughed and continued.
“Mga kaklase po niya ito?” she asked.
I told her my observations about Djhay; that he was a very responsible student, but his absences bothered me.
“Kasi maam mahina po talaga si Djhay. Bale, kahit siya yung pinakamalaki, mahina yung pangangatawan niya.”
“Ay bakit ho kaya?”
“Hindi ko rin po alam eh. Mahina lang po talaga resistensya.”
If it’s like me, I thought, it’s because of stress.
“Bale ito pong tindahan yung pinagkukunan niyo ng pang araw-araw?”
“Pati po si mister?”
“Ay hindi ho. Bus driver siya.”
“Ay parang si papa!” Llyod exclaimed.
“O, akala ko ba wag magsasalita kapag may nag-uusap?”
All of us laughed again.
I said my goodbye since I was planning to revisit my other student who stopped going to school. He would pass grade 3, but I wanted to see him go to school again. We found him inside a computer shop, watching a friend play a game.
“Huli ka!” I exclaimed, “Ikaw ha? Bat di ka na pumapasok?”
C-Jay didn’t answer but I knew what it was. Like my co-fellow said, “nakakaadik talaga ang tumambay”.
“Sana pumasok ka na.” I told him. “Hintayin kita sa school ha? Promise?”
It was nice seeing him again, but as an update, he didn’t go back the next day.
I was disappointed and depressed, but nevertheless I shall try again.
Student number 50, check.