I must note this last lesson with my very very first private student last night. She started taking my class when she was 5th grader. It was even before I had my daughter. I remember the little girl with her friend came to my tiny apartment, sitting politely with eager anticipation and a little concern. She was a remarkably well-behaved child but later on I found out her tendency to be perfect. She was definitely A plus student everywhere, at school, at my place and even at home. She didn't skip any lessons unless she had some urgent matters to deal with. And she continued to take my classes for 15 long long years.
She let me see the whole process of personal development of a little girl. I am so grateful for that. We have built a special kind of relationship which is so hard to describe or to label. After a while, we were no longer teacher-student but not friends nor siblings, either. I am not really sure how she would label our relationship but for me I felt like I was her aunt or something. There was a certain distance between us and she remained polite but there were some moments when she showed her vulnerability to me. I wish I could help her a lot to build self-confidence but all I did was to listen and felt her struggles. She is definitely one of my inspirations to be better understander of the modern life of children.
I have a vivid picture of her little face at the moment when she touched my growing belly. I was 8 months pregnant yet still working a bit. The first thing she said on the day was, "It got much bigger!" as she looked at my belly. I asked her she would like to feel the baby inside and she did. To her surprise, my daughter moved. It was the first contact for her with this little creature, Momo. One day she said, "I don't like kids because they are noisy and annoying but I like Momo because she is special to me..." How adorable she sounded!
Now I'm looking back all the memories and time we shared. 15 years is such a long time and I am so thankful for her to give credit to my reliability as her tutor. I perhaps took more than gave but hope she would remember this, "All you can do is to do the best you can." And It may have not enough at all but I have done the best I could to share the joy of discovery via learning English.
She is one of my personal cheerleaders who encouraged me to be the best I can and motivated me to be on Master's course. Without her presence I wouldn't be who I am now.
In the last lesson, not like any other amazing educators, I could give nothing but the same phrase, "Be the best you can. " She is about to leave this country and take internship program at a language school in Toronto for a year. She said she felt strong anxiety and asked me if I did as well when I left Japan in 1995. I told her the true story that I felt panicked from time to time but I learned that things would work out as long as you stay living.
As I told her those old stories, I felt something emerged from me - Will to live for today and hope for tomorrow. I am so thankful for the lesson- the importance of talking. Through numerous conversations with her, I have realized so many important things for my life.
May her day be filled with surprises, discoveries and laughters with new friends.