Hi! What’s your name? /Mayneymizteyo/

Theo, not his real but he prefer to be called that, is my first zero-English student this year. He is an 8-yr old boy whose family moved from Russia to the Philippines midyear due to the career movement of his father. 

He and Petr, his brother were our first summer class clients on June 2016. Until Japanese kids started coming in the middle of month until early August. His first few days were a real struggle, both for him and us, his teachers. Group classes work for him, however since he needs in depth lessons, an hour and a half is dedicated to one-on-one classes with him. Though I don’t handle him on everyday basis, just twice or once in a week, I make sure to keep track of his progress. How the other teacher handled him, how he behaved or if he threw some tantrums or if it was a good or bad day for all of us. 

His enrolment to this big school was held off for a while because they were afraid that he might not be able adjust quickly. Thus, him and his 4-year old brother were enrolled to an intensive English course with us. At first, I really had no idea how that would work. Good thing that my former work buddy is an experienced ESL teacher with cases like that of Theo and Petr. Also, Theo is a very intelligent boy. 

After 4 months and 2 weeks, his mom confirmed that he had been accepted in an international school as a regular student because of the great improvement in his English conversation skills, phonics, and comprehension adept for his age. His writing is still something that can be improved over time. 

Days with him will be down to a day, an hour every week after this week from the daily 3-hour morning sessions. I am not even sure if he will still be my student starting next week. 

If they have learned a lot from us, I definitely learned from Theo as well. I always believe that he is one great student. He is also very polite, he never forgets to say “Thank you.” and would always take time to say “Hi.” There were even days that he would try to run away from my attempts of hugging him but would always try to hide his smile and giggles whenever I get to catch him. There were even moments that he would try to get my attention by saying, “Look, Teacher Katkat!” and happily wave whatever he had drawn on the board, the table or the paper. I bet he would be a very good illustrator someday. 

I never stopped believing in him. I know that he is a great student, it’s just that change in residence, moving to another continent is not something easy to adjust to. He was willing but due to the language barrier, we often misunderstood each other, but taking time, big movements (TPR=Total Physical Responses) and focus, made it all possible. 

Though I will not be there anymore to see his day-to-day improvement, I am excited for him as he starts going to the big school. I am excited how communication, learning English in particular, can open many opportunities for him in the future. He may always ask why the need to learn Angliyskiy but I know that he knows every reason behind it. 

As his teacher, I am ready to let him go. I will surely miss him and he may forget about me someday, but he will always be one of my great stories as a teacher.