Understanding Southridge by Dr. Paul Dumol 3

Pages 1 to 40        Pages 41 to 80        Pages 81 to 133 

CHAPTER 13

 

THE HEAD OF THE SCHOOL

            The head of the school is, I had said, primus inter pares, the pares being the officers in charge of teachers and tutors.  Nevertheless, there is something he can and should do, worthy only of the head, which is to inspires and encourage.  The head, I said, plays the role of arbiter in case of disagreement between the two top officers of the school.  This role, I think, justifies his making the goals and dreams, disappointments and hardships of these two officers his own.  Thus, he can inspire and encourage.  And he need not be tied dow2n by what these two officers are actually working on.  Like them, he can dream and discuss these dreams with them and so inspire them to do things which had not even occurred to them.

            The third officer then, by virtue of his responsibilities, has a vision of the whole school which no one else has.  He has to share this vision with others.  He has to clarify it to them.  In the process of doing so, especially with the first two officers, he enriches his own understanding of the school, of its limitations and possibilities.  If the officers constitute the motor that makes the school run, then the head must be the oil that makes the motor work.  He trains officers when he can, and when he cannot, he looks for the people who can.  He resolves problems, disagreements.  He takes care of all the officers.  He teaches, he clarifies, he cheers up people.

 

THE OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF TEACHERS AND TUTORS

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            I have said “equally involved” because it is possible to have a topic that basically concerns academics or tutorials but which affects all areas in the school.  Such a matter is still the concern of the officer in charge of academics or tutorials, and so long as no harm is done other areas which is not the same as inconvenience), his decision should carry more weight.  (The others adjust.)

            The officers in charge of teachers and tutors are the brains of the school.  (The head of the school is like the cranium and the nervous system: he protects the two officers and links them to the other areas of the school.)  More than any other persons in the school, those two officers have the duty to think - - locking the door, telling their secretaries they will not receive calls or visitors, pacing about the room and thinking; putting down ideas on paper, not in any particular order, calling up an officer they trust and arranging to have lunch with him, or making an impromptu visit to his office, to discuss a new idea that has occurred to them; reflecting on something they have seen or heard, along the corridor, from a parent, in a meeting over lunch to understand why; quick to see exceptions to the rules they make, quick to see patterns of events that may guide: always trying to understand human nature, the society in which they live, the students the school has, the teachers they have to work with: reading literature and watching movies sensitively.

            They are the artists.  They have the goals of education clearly in mind.  They know the instruments they have at hand: the teachers, the facilities.  They know the path to take: the PAREF philosophy, the programs of education.  They know the raw material they must work with: the students and, in some or many instances, the parents.  And they must set about working, like an artist, working continuously for a spell, then stepping back, criticizing, making the necessary corrections, studying the goals more, sharpening the instruments, preparing the material in another way, then continuing to work again for another spell, and once again to step back, criticize, and repeat the whole process just described as the year unfolds.  And the years unfold.  The two officers keep their eyes on the product which takes twelve years to produce.  It would be a huge mistake to limit one’s attention to the year at hand.  The years have to be strung together.  Last year’s mistakes have to be corrected.  This year’s mistakes have to be analyzed.  Last year’s successes have to be studied.  This year’s successes have to be seen in the context of the future, of what yet remains to be done.  The good artist never sits on his laurels.  He knows he can never produce a perfect work (which is why failure never upsets him).  On the other hand, the goal before him is so vast that it can be achieved in many different ways.

            The two officers have to train their men.  They have to look for them.  They have to separate those who will not do.  They must convince those with talent to stay.  At the moment, most of their time is taken up with training—training teachers or trainers.  That will always he so while there are new teachers or trainers.  They must be patient in the work of training.  It takes time, perhaps at least a year.  (At the end of which, the fellow may leave, and one must start again.)  The work of training is most akin to art, to sculpture.  What one wants to make of the trainee is clear.  What is not clear is the way the trainee will be what we want to make of him.  Each person is a teacher or tutor (or trainer) in his own inimitable way.  The trainer must discover the way of that person, and that discovery to itself slow, gradual.  The way that person is a teacher or tutor is intimately related to his personality.  The personality marks the limits and possibilities.  To a certain extent the personality can change, but it is the person, not the trainer, who must change his own personality.  The trainer must never force the trainer to change his personality.  If the personality proves to be unpropitious soil for being a teacher, tutor, or sought for that person in the school (or outside of it).  The process of discovering the right way for someone to be a teacher or tutor is tentative (in the Latin sense of the term, pakapakapa).  Its path is strewn with mistakes, but if both trainer and trainee tread it with patience, they will be rewarded.  The trainee must be docile (in the Latin sense of the term, nagpapaturo).  At a certain point, the trainer can let go of the trainee: he will make his own discoveries, he will grow by himself.  And the trainer must not expect thanks.  That I think is the right attitude for the teacher (any sort of teacher, e.g., the trainer) to take.  Any other attitude will result in bitterness.  On the other hand, the trainer who can train without the trainee realizing he is being trained is a great trainer.

            The two officers must be in touch with the students because the students are the material they must work on, the clay they have been given.  Ultimately, what one can do with a piece of clay is determined by the clay, by its quality.  The two officers must reflect on the students.  They must see them grow.  They must be in touch with the students’ parents and must reflect on them, too, insofar as the parents are often the explanation of why the students are the way they are.

 

THE OTHER OFFICERS

            The other officers exist for the first two.  They are under the head, but they don’t exist for the sake of order.  They exist for the sake of the teaching and tutoring that has to take place in the school.  They must have the mentality of always trying to see how they can help the teachers and tutors, coming up with suggestions, imaginative solutions to problems.  Theirs is a silent work.

 

THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF ORDER

            Order, we have seen, is the primordial task of the head of the school insofar as he is the Third Officer.  Can he pass on this task to someone else?  I suppose he could, but I really do not know what he would do then.  His work with the first two

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            Everything I have said here applies to the Chaplain insofar as he is the head of spiritual formation.

officers is occasional.  He would, I suppose, spend most of his time coordinating the work of the officers in charge of order and those in charge of administration and finances.  As a matter of fact, when I was ED, I did pass on the task of order to others, but that was because in my first year I was busy with the restructuring of the school and in my second year I was also the officer in charge of teachers.  Dr. Torralba was in charge of order and, I fact, of the administrative and business office.  Personally, I think it best for the head of the school to be the head as well of a specific area in the school (ideally, of the area of order).

            It is good for the head of the school to see himself as especially tasked with maintaining order; if he does not see himself thus and there are no other officers with that specific responsibility, order may be neglected altogether.  To be especially tasked with maintaining order means taking the initiative in this area, so that more often than not, when the head brings up a matter related to order in the Management Staff meeting, he likewise proposes a possible solution or solutions.

           

 

ORDER

            Order is the concern of everyone; for the most part, this means following the order established by persons in authority.  It also means being concerned about violations of this order.  I say order is the concern of everyone because its maintenance is not easy, and to persons who may occasionally find themselves pressed for time, like teachers and school officers, the maintenance of order may distress persons of a certain type of personality, not because they dislike order, but because maintaining order means confronting people and being firm with them.  And so, for various reasons, people may turn a blind eye or deaf ear to violations of order, very much like witnesses of a vehicular accident who, scurry away so as not to have to bother with giving testimonies to the police.  The officer in charge of order may find himself waging a lonely battle.

            When order becomes a one-man battle, it will never be won.  The harder the officer fights the battle and appears to win, the more he loses, because he convinces everyone else that they are right—that they don’t have to get actively  concerned about order since anyway Mr. So-and-so is there.  The first step towards order is to see that all the teachers are concerned about it.

            Concern comes when one appreciates the importance of what one should be concerned over.  The importance of order must be

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            I recall a young gentleman who substituted an absent Grade 1 teacher in the first year of Southridge.  He quit after a day, finding himself unable to discipline the children.  The task, he said, conjured unpleasant memories of his childhood.

explained, and here one is faced with a problem similar to that of the goals of educating will agree to what is said without really knowing what they are agreeing to.

            Order begins in the classroom.  If there is no order in classrooms, there will be no order outside of them.  If a teacher cannot keep order in the classroom, he cannot outside of it.  Order in the classroom is the concern of both the officer in charge of order and the officer in charge of teachers.  The latter is in charge of what is called classroom management, which involves above all order and discipline during the teacher’s class.  When a student refuses to be disciplined or has committed a serious offense, then he becomes the concern of the officer in charge of order.  The classroom rules and regulations may be formulated by either the officer in charge of teachers or the one in charge of order or by both.  It would be good to include experienced teachers in the task.

            What I said earlier about classroom rules and regulations and classroom norms of conduct applies.  A teacher who continually punishes students for violating norms of conduct, who never explains the way of thinking at the heart of the norms of conduct, will never win them to the way of acting and thinking at the heart of the norms of conduct.

            Order in the environment encourages the students to be orderly.  We must be wary of repair or construction work being done in school.  The workers must observe order.  We must be wary of instances when students work publicly, e.g., for a Christmas production.  A mess encourages messy behavior.

            The second important step towards order is to see that students practice it of themselves.  If students practice order only because a certain teacher is around or out of fear of punishment, then those students will look at the school as a

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            Perhaps it begins in the faculty room.  If teachers cannot work in an orderly way or if teachers can work in a disorderly place, it will be very hard to expect them to exact order from their students in the classroom.

            Explaining what lies at the root of the norms of conduct is the job of the class adviser, but teachers must be ready to repeat the explanation when advisable.  The advisable moment comes unforeseen, and the teacher must be quick to recognize it.  He stops class and gives a quick explanation, which is appreciated by the class—perhaps more than it did the class adviser’s—because of the chosen moment.  They experience an “epiphany,” for an understanding of which please read James Joyce’s short stories.

            Obviously, class advisers and teachers must have the same explanations.

military school or as a prison.  Order in the school must come first within the students.  That means the battle for order must first he waged in their homes, and we must not be afraid to bring it there.  As with teachers so with students: they must see why they should observe order.  It must be explained to them.  They must be persuaded to practice order, not bullied into it.

            From everything said above it is obvious that maintaining order in the school is a “fulltime job.”  The person in charge must never forget, however, that the only reason for order is to make teaching and learning easier.  Thus, regulations which make the teacher’s job harder or more complicated are misconceived.

            Under order falls procedures.  The person in charge of order must look into all procedures in the school to check if they, indeed, promote order.  A good procedure is fast and uses the minimum number of men.  It is, however, realistic; we can be fast and thrifty with men, but also be messy.  “Fast” means to take the minimum time needed by all the steps necessary, and these steps determine the minimum number of men needed.  There are no areas in the school exempt from order.

            There is a way in which order can work against the goals of education.  We may become so pleased with rules, regulations, norms of conduct, and procedures in the school that we become loathe to change them, and so combat changes in the academic or tutorial programs just so that rules, regulations, norms of conduct, and procedures in the school remain the same.  Sometimes we hear objections like the following:  “You will complicate things.  You will make a mess of things.”  If something has to be done, then it is done, and if it is complicated but cannot be done in any other way, then we do it in that complicated way.  Thus, complicated ness of implementation is no reason to reject a proposal to improve school programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 14

 

FLEXIBILITY IN STRUCTURE

            I spent three days in Gaztelueta, two of them copying their praxes in a large gloomy conference room.  After finishing, I was surprised to find out from a school officer that the organizational structure described in those praxes had been abandoned.  It was a powerful lesson: the organization structure of the school is not a straight-jacket.

            The organizational structure of Southridge has changed a lot in its twelve years of existence.  This has been criticized.  I recall a former Management Staff member regarding it as a sign of disorganization of not knowing what to do or where to bring the school.  I do not think so I always saw it as something to be expected of a new organization which was discovering details about what it had to do and how to do things better.  In general, when someone makes a criticism like the one I just cited, it is a sign of a weak practical understanding of the objectives of the school.

            Another Management Staff member reacted with reluctance to changes in the organizational structure.  He gave no specific reasons but mentioned how this could produce confusion.  That is true.  And changes must be done so that they clarify rather than confuse.  If they are good changes, they always clarify.  That particular school officer on the other hand, seemed scared of

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            The praxes were written ten years after the school was founded.  I visited the school in their twenty-seventh year.

changes simply because they were changes.  He had worked everywhere before and understandably never experienced changes like those I was suggesting.  His reaction I felt was wrong.  It fitted more an old organization “which had found itself.”  This is something Management Staff members should realize.  Southridge is a new organization.  That its structure changes frequently is to be expected.  The changes constitute an effort to improve.  Admittedly, though, this period of frequent changes is coming to a close.  I suppose it will end soon after the school reaches peak enrolment.

            The organizational structure of Southridge reflected at times either the scarcity of qualified men or the limitations of those available.  This situation, I think, will continue for some time certainly, one important lesson from the past is.  “Never appoint someone for the sake of having a position filled.”  I refer to an appointee we are not really confident in.  Removing someone from a post he has held for a year.  I have, perhaps naively learned, and may be traumatic.  It shouldn’t be, but I have observed that it cannot be.

            It is important to know what has to be done in the school, rather than what posts have to b e filled.  If we lack men for the posts, then we have to see which diverse tasks may be shouldered by the same person and which tasks may have to be left unattended to during the current year.  If a person has to occupy two posts, clearly he will not be able to do all the tasks each post brings with it.  Therefore, which tasks he should do and which he may neglect should be clear.  Holding more than one position should always be seen as intolerable and therefore the search for an additional officer should continue and an end put to the intolerable situation as soon as possible.

            Ideally, officers should be appointed from within the school.  But it can happen, and has, that none is available or no one is qualified.  In that case, we have to look for officers outside the school and we must take this search seriously.

 

APPOINTMENTS

            Appointments must be made carefully, if only because appointees feel bad upon being removed from office after a year.  It would be wrong, however, not to remove someone from a post he is doing poorly in only to avoid wounding his feelings.  Although the tendency these past years has been to rely more and more on committees to recommend appointments, I would strongly suggest the Management Staff retain our customary practice, which continued even when we accepted recommendations from committees; to leave final decisions regarding appointments to the top three officers.  If in fact there is only one or two top officers, then let that one officer or those two make the final decisions.  This does not mean that we are encouraging “tyranny.”  Let us assume there is only one top officer.  He has the duty of consulting all the persons he can about the appointment of a specific person.  These persons could be people who no longer work in the school or who have never worked in the school but know the person well.  The duty of determining whether or not a person is worth appointing to a post is especially incumbent on the Executive Director.

            Any Management Staff member may recommend the appointment of a specific person, but it is better that he does so initially in private to the Executive Director.  This avoids any embarrassing situation of a recommendation having to be withdrawn because of information only the Executive Director or one or two others are privy to.

            Appointments to the Management Staff are made but the Board.  Recommendations of such appointments have usually originated from the top officers of the school.  Appointments to all other posts are made by the Management Staff.

           

 

            I am more and more convinced that an officer be considered on probation for at least one and at most two years.  By “probation” I mean that he should not be immediately given the salary, at least not the full salary that corresponds to his post.  Otherwise, if he is removed after a year, we may feel bad about the large salary he continues to receive just because he was tried out for a year.  The probationary status will also prevent the appointee from becoming attached to his post and soften the blow of his removal, if he is removed.  I would not extend the probationary period beyond two years because two years are enough to reveal a person’s potentials.  Note that I have said “potentials.”  The probationary period is not a period in which the new appointee learns what to do in his post.  Three years may not be enough for that.  To be able to fairly assess a person’s potentials one of the top three officers should be in frequent touch with the new appointee.  The latter reveals his potentials in the way he reacts to crisis situations, the way he organizes himself, the way he deals with his men, the way he solves problems.

            The evaluation of an officer must be—the word that comes to mind is ruthless.  What do I mean by that? I use the word ruthless to emphasize how important it is to be especially frank in our evaluation of officers.  An officer must be told clearly what his deficiencies are.  The important word in this observation is clearly.  This is a very important lesson Dr. Torralba and I learned.  Sometimes it can be difficult to tell a person what is wrong with him, especially if this involves his personality.  But he must know it for the sake of the school and for his own sake.  I have met teachers who were supposed to have been told what was wrong with them, but who were talked to so delicately that they never realized there was something wrong with them.  I have been accused of not speaking clearly early enough for the person accusing to have changed.  The ruthless evaluation should be followed by a concrete pan to do something about those deficiencies.

            If the appointee is not able to do something about his deficiencies his attention should be called to this.  Never take it for granted that what is obvious to you is obvious to him.  He may think he’s doing a great job.  After the period of probation, if he is still unsatisfactory, he should be removed.  It does no good to speculate that perhaps he will do better or to observe he is already very close to improvement.  I have seen people re-appointed who have not done better or who never crossed the border to the desired improvement, and these people continued to be a cross to the Management Staff for another year.  A deadline is a deadline.

            There is really no way to say someone who has been teaching many years in the school is qualified for any position.  Teaching is very different from administrative work.  Every appointment is a gamble.  Administrative responsibilities demand many skills and personality traits which teaching does not demand.  I have seen a lot of good teachers appointed to administrative posts who do not do well because they do not have the right skills.  We try to develop these skills but some people just cannot develop them.

            The sooner a person until for a position is removed from that position, the better it is for the person.  I was told this be a parent seven years ago and have verified its wisdom for myself through the years.  We sometimes think letting a person continue in a post even if we are discontented with him to be an act of charity.  It is not, and often it is an act of injustice to the school.  We will, of course, never be completely dissatisfied with an appointed, but it would be tremendously naïve to think we should remove from posts only those persons we are completely dissatisfied with.  We will always be satisfied with something in an appointee, because no one is appointed who has no good points at all.  When should we, therefore, “give up” of an officer’s competence to know when to remove someone, just as high evaluations of mediocre persons are a sign of an officer’s incompetence.

            Why is it better for a person unfit for a position to be removed from his position as soon as possible?  The longer we let someone stay in a position, the more he thinks he’s good, and therefore the harder it will be for him to believe that actually he has been bad all these years.  It reveals a lack of sincerity on the part of management.  It would mean that management has

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            This is true even of the post of academic director.  One would imagine that a good teacher would make a good academic director, but in fact, such a teacher may not be able to see what’s wrong in the way a colleague teaches, or if he sees what’s wrong, he may be reluctant to mention it, or if he does mention it, he may not know how to train that person to rectify what is wrong or learn what is right.

been using him in the sense of exploiting him.  Is it alright to let someone know he’s unsatisfactory, but that we will make do with him indefinitely until we find someone better?  I would personally find such a proposal humiliating.  It is best in any organization for the people to find their niche (meaning the best way they can serve) there as soon as possible.  That is what we deny someone who doesn’t fit a post but whom we keep there for our own convenience.  It don’t do to say we pay him good money anyway, since we do not want people to work in the school for money but because they want to serve.

 

TRAINING

            I have been accused of appointing people to posts for which they have not been trained and of unjustly complaining afterwards when they did not do well.  The accusation is valid in ordinary circumstances, but given a beginning organization, where there is a dearth of officers and a dearth of time to train officers, there was no choice for many years but to appoint people to posts and hope they could figure out for themselves the details of how to fulfill their responsibilities.  Hopefully, this period of Southridge history is over, but I mention it because it could recur.  In such a situation, it is fair to remove a person from a post for doing poorly even if the person had not been trained for the post because appointment to the post assumes the skill of figuring out for oneself what one should do.  Needless to say, appointees have always known, at least in general, what was expected of them.

            Since 1989, it has been possible to train officers.  Officer training is IMPORTANT.  There is no difference in technique between officer-training and teacher-training, but officer-training is more difficult.  It is more difficult because it includes subtler goals, like teaching the appointee to deal with people or how to solve problems.

            An important aspect, I’d even say a prime aspect, of officer-training is getting the officer to understand the goals of the school and the relation of his position to the goals.  A painful discovery I made before leaving this year was how many officers did not yet understand school goals I thought they did.  I now realize it is not enough give an occasional talk to officers and teachers.  Talk on goals should be given regularly every year. The goals should be explained at every opportunity that arises.  Repetition must be employed to make sure people develop a practical understanding of the goals. Discussions on

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            I was never trained for the posts I was appointed to and never had previous experience either.  The same thing is true of all Management Staff members until DR. Raul Nidoy.  Dr. Nidoy is to date the first Management Staff member to have received thorough training.

them should be held regularly.

            A lesson I have learned is not to assume an officer has understood the explanation you have made of what he has to do.  You may need to sit down with him to concretize what he must do.  Sometimes this concretization must descend to the smallest details.  After doing this, you have to follow up his progress and help him deal with obstacles, with unforeseen twists of events.  One must be ready to encourage, to teach him to be patient.  One must be ready to demonstrate how to do something complicated.  If you yourself have never done what you are asking him to do and he doesn’t know how to go about it, then do it with him.  For many people expecting them to be able to solve things for themselves too much.  There should, however, be a limit to the amount of help one must extend an officer.  There does come a point when one realizes that the person learns too slowly, e.g., one sees that he lacks common sense, or that he is too cautious and will never do anything by himself.  In that case, it is better to cut that fellow’s term short.

            The ideal officer is one who understands a lot with just a few ideas.  This sort of person is rare.  Most need many ideas, and not just many ideas, but many examples.  For still others, examples are not enough; one must demonstrate and watch closely as they act alone for the first time.  The last sort of officer is time-consuming to train and should usually be given up if there are officers of the first two sorts.  I fear, however, that we cannot avoid having officers of the third sort because of a scarcity of the other sorts, and so we must patiently train them.  Once this third sort is trained, they can perform as well as the other sorts.  We would have problems only when a new situation arises, because then officers of this sort would not know what to do.  Heaven forbid that they become stubborn or think they are better than they actually are, because then they will make poor decisions that they will insist on and sulk if they do not get their way.

 

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            The importance of understanding the goals is explained in the first part of these notes.

            This is true as well of teachers.  One must demonstrate, explain, follow up personally.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 15

 

CHARACTERISTICS

            It is conventional to call a school “an academic community.”  When we would call Southridge that, what was novel was our including the parents in the community.  When we would call Southridge “a family,” then we were being novel.

            The term academic community is usually applied to universities and the world of scholars.  When we apply it to Southridge grade school and high school, we want to stress two things: that parents, teachers, and students form a body and that the bond linking everyone is education, specifically the education of the child.  When we call Southridge a family, I think we wish to stress that parents, teachers, and students all share the same values and that all (not only parents and teachers, but also students) are committed to help ones another in the education of the children (the older students help the younger ones classmates help one another).

            Although we call Southridge an academic community and family.  Southridge is just one thing. We may describe it as an academic community whose members are linked by affection to one another, making it a family as well, or as a family united by the desire to educate the children, making it an academic community.  Its characteristics are unity, concern for the education of the children, common values, affection, and mutual help and collaboration.  It is possible to exaggerate one characteristic at the expense of others.  Thus, it is important to understand what these characteristics of Southridge and their relationship to one another mean.

            Unity in Southridge has many aspects: unity of parents, teachers, and students to each other; unity of parents, teachers, and students to the school officers; unity of the school officers among themselves; unity of the Management Staff to the Board.  Disunity in any of these aspects is, to say the least, unpleasant; in some of these aspects, it is dangerous.  For the purposes of these notes, I distinguish lack of unity from disunity.  By disunity I mean hostility or antagonism; by lack of unity I mean indifference.  Although lack of unity appears less dangerous than disunity, it is, I think, just as dangerous, and since the danger it poses is less apparent, it is in that sense more dangerous.  School officers should foster unity, and not limit themselves to avoiding disunity.  The benefits of unity are not too obvious, because when there is unity, then things function as they should and we tend to think that things are going well because we are doing them well.  The truth is they are going well because the indispensable condition for things going well is present—unity.

            Disunity between parents and teachers is dangerous, and lack of unity just as dangerous.  Let me talk about the latter.  There is lack of unity when parents regard teachers as paid functionaries.  Such parents do not bother themselves about the education of their child because they have entrusted this to someone they have hired—the teacher.  There is lack of unity when teachers forget the PAREF philosophy of education and try to educate the students by themselves.  They may succeed, but the education they will have imparted is not what PAREF wants to give.  In the long run, that character formation PAREF education promises, which is imparted in the very way we impart intellectual formation and which distinguishes PAREF education from other types of education, will not be achieved.  The solution to these two instances of lack of unity is to remind parents and teachers of the PAREF philosophy of education, to explain it to them and show them concretely how it works.

            We must help teachers gain the respect of parents.  We must teach them how to dress and how to converse in polite society.  We must correct their English, both written and oral.  We must broaden their culture.  We must, if necessary, teach them table manners.

            Lack of unity among parents is dangerous.  It means the PAREF philosophy is not being practiced.  It also means a greater burden for teachers and tutors.

            Disunity among teachers is very dangerous.  In general, the formation of cliques is dangerous.  Academic directors must see to it that teachers under them do not form a clique.  A clique is “a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons.”  The key words in this definition are narrow and exclusive.  It is hard to get into a clique, which usually defines itself by a way of speaking, a way of acting, specific interests, specific pastimes.  When the teachers of a module contrast themselves with teachers of other modules, we are witnessing the formation of a clique.  There is nothing wrong if the same group were not to invite others or if that group would find it hard to talk about other topics than those they usually talk about when someone new joins them, then a clique is forming.  If there are faculty games, it is best to have teams that cut across modules.  It is good to have optional activities (e.g., music appreciation classes) open to the entire faculty.

            Lack of unity among students, especially among students in the same class, does not reflect well on the character formation program of the school.

            Disunity between school officers and parents is very bad; between school officers and teachers, especially bad.  In my experience, the latter is usually brought about by a few teachers (one is enough).  A teacher who spreads disunity in spite of having been told not to should be removed from the school, no matter how talented he is.  A parent who spreads disunity is best out, no matter how many children he has and no matter how intelligent or good they may be.

            Lack of unity between school officers and parents or teachers is bad, and in the long run very bad.  This is not a situation officers should simply accept or protest against feebly or ineffectually.  It vitiates the best efforts of officers to run the school.  It must be addressed forthrightly.  Solving it may be very complicated, as it involves attitudes.  Often the apparent indifference of teachers or parents is the result of their absorption in their work.  In the case of parents, we must see if this is a case of excessive professional concern.  If it is, it probably affects family life badly as well.

            Disunity among officers is extremely bad.  The head of the school must take measures immediately to rectify such a situation.  Lack of unity among officers is, I suspect, just as bad.  It reveals a “telephone-booth” approach to the government of the school, by which one’s area of responsibility is transformed into an independent kingdom.  It means officers do not have the entire school in mind.

            Disunity between the Management Staff and the Board is sad, and lack of unity bad.  In the first years, the newness of both school and PAREF meant the need to define the areas of responsibility of the two committees.  I must say that these remain undefined on paper to this day.  In practice, I believe the areas of responsibility are much clearer than they were, say, five years ago.  I was informed in 1987 by a PAREF consultant, that the Management Staff could decide freely in matters such as the curriculum and syllabuses and even more basic things like the goals of the school.  He said that the Board recognized the experience and expertise of the Management Staff and its own lack

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            I am not saying teachers or parents should not dissent.  I have written two papers that should dispel this impression, one on how parents should dissent (a letter addressed to Grade 2 parents many years ago).  A second on teachers’ dissent (a memorandum dated 1988).

            The scheduling of parent seminars always trips on this problem.  The work schedule of our parents should, needless to say, be considered a given, and if it is necessary to hold the same seminar on different days to accommodate different groups, then we do so.

            In response to requests from Dr. Torralba, the Board sent us a paper in 1987 delineating the areas of responsibility of the Board and Management Staff.  We did not agree with it on several important points.  We sent the Board our comments.  In addition, Dr. Torralba proposed a revised version; I wrote a personal paper listing objections.  We never received a reply.

of experience and competence in these matters.  This was a welcome piece of news.  The tacit proviso was that this situation would obtain while PAREF did not have its own technical men.  I recall an attempt to set up a Technical Committee in PAREF in 1987 or 1988.  We sent recommendations to the PAREF Board of Trustees., but no committee was ever formed.  A paper delineating the areas of responsibility of PAREF and Southridge should, of course, still be written.

            Although relations between the Management Staff and PAREF have not always been sweet (growing pains, I think we call them).  The Management Staff has never been indifferent to PAREF.  Indifference I find more dangerous than antagonism, for the simple reason that it can be tolerated by both parities.  Antagonism aches to be resolved, and it soon is, especially since both parties agree on the goals and disagree only on the means.  In the end, we are all friends.  Indifference, however, could endure for years, each going his own way.  The indifference of PAREF is not necessarily going to be harmful to the school if it has a good Management Staff, because the Management Staff will start moving on its own in order to survive, but should it ever happen that the Management Staff is itself not doing its job, then its indifference to PAREF could be harmful.

            Unity in Southridge is not observed for its own sake, but for the sake of educating the students.  This is important.  If it is not kept in mind, we will become intolerant of criticism and harsh in reacting to dissent.  The desire to educate the students will ensure that we are open to change.

            Is there any need to say that concern for education is the primary characteristic of Southridge?  Isn’t it so for any school?  It should be, but in my eleven years in Southridge, there have been so many opportunities to betray this concern,: to make decisions to remain popular with parents or students, to admit students who are not qualified for the school, to retain students who should leave the school, to pass students who should repeat, to give students a passing grade in the report card when they should receive a failing grade, to lower standards, etc., etc.  We have always held that we cannot betray education to save education that one cannot bend one’s principles in order to teach children to fight for their principles.

            Earlier I mentioned that a family is characterized by common values.  What I meant by this was that parents and children usually value the same things.  When I say that the members of the Southridge family have common values, I refer above all to the parents and teachers and values that have to do with education.  These values are direct consequences of the goals of education.  I will not identify them.  But I will give and example of how they may be figured out.  Based on the goals of education and the PAREF philosophy of education, parents and

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            And we have never yielded.

 

teachers should value wisdom and virtue more than anything else in a human being.  Thus, to them studies should be more important than sports.  This should be reflected in school in the greater honor given those who do well in their studies.  At home, this may be manifested in a parent requiring his son to get at least passing marks before allowing him to play in an international competition of, say, squash.

            We have the right to assume that parents and teachers hold certain values implied by the goals of education and the PAREF philosophy of education.  At the very least, we expect them not to have values contrary to these.  The mere fact that a couple has enrolled their son in Southridge or that a person has applied to teach in Southridge demands that we assume this.  Nevertheless, we may need to make them aware of these values.  (The tutorial conferences and parent seminars are very important in this regard.)  The values should be presented so compellingly that awareness becomes, at least, the beginning of a struggle to possess them.  More importantly, they must be able to glean those values from the very life of the school (its rules and regulations, its celebrations, its awards, its policies, its decisions).  What we value must be transformed into life.

            Our common values will reinforce our unity and strengthen our resolve to educate the children properly.

            I mentioned affection as a characteristic of relations in Southridge as a family.  I use the word in contrast to cold professionalism.  One cannot be coldly professional in educating children, and that is equally true in our relationship with parents.  The reason is that the object of education is not some animal or thing, but a human being.  A doctor might be justified in his cold, professional attitude because he deals with the body: we deal with the soul.

            There are many ways of misunderstanding what I have just said, so let me now explain myself.  We should always be professional.  This is an important rule.  Some people equate coldness with professionalism and therefore think that to be warm with others is to violate professionalism every now and then.  Professionalism is the framework within which we decide and act.  We

 

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            We must always act assuming that what is good is attractive of itself.  If it does not attract certain persons, we assume this is because we have not done a good job of demonstrating what makes it good.  After a few more unsuccessful tries, we try to see if there is an obstacle to those persons’ perception.  We try to remove that obstacle.  If we still fail, we continue repeating how good something is and wait patiently.  More often than not, our patience will be rewarded.

never violate it.  There is a way of being professional which is warm and another which is cold.  Warmth has to do mainly with sensitivity to the feelings of the other person.  (It assumes understanding.)  This means that when one has to deal a blow (and this is usually the occasion when professionalism seems identical to coldness).  One deals it in the way which will cause the least pain.  We do not expect to eliminate the pain, else it would not be a blow, but we try to mitigate it.  Occasionally, we will need to be firm to the point of severity.  In that case, our sensitivity to the person’s feelings will bring us to find a way to show the person at some later time that we hold nothing personal against him or that we continue to respect him.  This last point is important.  I have nothing against not smiling as a technique to get one’s students to behave, but then one must find some other way (e.g., telling jokes deadpan) to communicate warmth.

            It is very important to let parents realize that we understand them; if we can show them, in addition, that we sympathize with them, so much the better.  After we show parents that we understand them, then we do what good judgment dictates, asking them to understand us, if necessary.  The way we talk, the expression on our face is important.

            Do we need to show warmth as well to fellow teachers?  We don’t need to, but if we could, it would make it easier for our fellow teachers to work.  I say because working in the school can be hard and tiring.  Our colleagues’ warmth helps us bear our burden better.  This reason applies all the more to officers in their treatment of subordinates.

            The PAREF philosophy of education demands mutual help and collaboration from parents and teachers.  Mutual help and collaboration among parents is also demanded by the same philosophy.  Mutual help and collaboration among teachers is an old ideal of the school and I say “ideal” because I don’t think it has been achieved, except perhaps in Module A.  This is the idea of team-teaching, recommendable for many practical reasons.  Mutual help and collaboration among students is likewise en-

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            Are there exceptions?  I suppose so.  But they should be rare and justified by the special ness of circumstances.  At any rate, one should never violate professionalism without first consulting.

            The dictionary identifies warmth with affection, gratitude, cordiality, or sympathy, all manifestations of sensitivity for others’ feelings.  To be sensitive is not enough; one must show it, and it is not true that this can only be done sentimentally.

            The parent coordinators tell this to our parents: there are some things that need to be corrected in parents which are much easier for fellow parents to point out if they are friends rather than school administrators.

courage for purposes of character for formation.

            If I were to rank these five characteristics in order of importance, I would say first place goes to concern for the education of the children.  The second place would go to mutual help and collaboration, a demand of the PAREF philosophy of education.  The third place would be shared by unity and common values, both consequences of the first two.  The fourth place would go to affection.  Is there any significance to this ranking?  Yes: the more important characteristics can never be sacrificed for the less important.

            There are certain customs and traditions in the school that embody these characteristics:  they should be preserved.  The officers of the school, and in particular the Management Staff, have the duty of making sure these characteristics are truly present. They must be sensitive to them.  They shouldn’t move only when it is clear that one of these characteristics is missing.  Usually, that means something unpleasant has happened.  Looking after these characteristics is like smelling the air or detecting a taste; one must develop the nose or tongue.  When something seems wrong, we watch more keenly.  We talk to other officers, to teachers, to parents, perhaps to students.  Ensuring that Southridge is a community and a family is the special onus of the head of the school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 16

 

THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY AND FAMILY OF TEACHERS

            Southridge as academic community and family is like a two-layered onion.  In the center is the academic community and family of teachers.  Around this is the first layer:  the students and school personnel who together with the teachers form a second academic community and family.  Finally, there is the second layer:  the parents who together with the teachers and students form a third academic community and family.

            If Southridge is to be an academic community and family, then first its teachers must be both.  Only then can we expect the second academic community and family to become a reality, which is itself a condition for parents, teachers, and students to form an academic community and family.  Officers and the Management Staff in particular, play a special role in ensuring all this.

Teachers as Academic Community

            To describe the teacher of Southridge as forming an academic community is to underline the fact that Southridge as an institution is composed first of all of teachers and only secondly of teachers and officers.  One’s appointment as officer is of secondary importance to one’s being a teacher.

            The first three officers should teach at least one subject each.  This has been a rule in the school from the start.  There have been years in Southridge history when it was not followed, but these were exceptional.  During those years a particular officer had to devote the entire year to administrative work.  This was understandable since Southridge then was being established.  I do not think it will be repeated in the future.  A few years after Southridge opened, I remember a consultant telling us that the head of the school should not be a tutor.  A few years later, the first officer may have been included in that stricture, but I am not sure.  The stricture was never followed because we found ourselves always lacking tutors.  I do not recall our being told that the head should not teach.  I mention all this to stress how teaching, but not tutoring, is part of the top officers’ work in the school.

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            Thus, officers continue to attend the midday get-togethers of the module in which they teach as one more teacher.

            This rule comes from FOMENTO schools.  As far as I know, it is also true of Gaztelueta.

            In the beginning, I saw the teaching assignment of the officers as having strategic significance.  It would give officers experience in the field.  Indeed, I remember some teachers attributing the effectiveness that they thought characterized Southridge management to the fact that Southridge directors taught.  Later on, it became clear to me that the teaching assignment did not have a merely strategic value.  It was the answer to the question.  “What does an officer do when his term is up?”  (The idea of being an officer forever is terrifying.)  The officers should be first and foremost teachers, and good teachers at that.  From teaching they come and to teaching they will go.

            The supreme importance of teaching was further impressed on me the first time I worked on the salary scale of the school.  We realized then that we were willing to pay a very high salary for a good teacher, as much as and perhaps even more than for an officer.  That year, five years after the school opened, we saw clearly as we still do how much the school depends on good teachers and how rare these are.  Good teachers are the treasure of the school.  At that time, we did not try to solve the problem of how to pay teachers salaries as high as officers.  The few good teachers there were then were appointed as officers.

            The establishment of the rank of Master Teacher solves likewise another problem.  This problem involves the career path a teacher follows in Southridge.  The conventional career path in companies involves promotions to higher posts.  Such a career path in Southridge would strike many as narrow:  posts are few and those promoted usually stay in one post or another for many years.  Moreover, and this is a more important consideration, what would happen to a teacher who lacked the skills needed to be an officer?  The rank of Master Teacher, therefore, opens another career path in Southridge; in fact, the career path, as most officers, if not all, will at some point have to leave their posts.

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            This is not true of the fourth and fifth officers, although both may come from the ranks of teachers.  This shows us that they are not part of the teachers’ community that is the core of the school.  They do form part of the school community, the next larger community that includes students.  This makes the auxiliary nature of these officers’ posts clearer:  they exist for the teachers.

            The first was done by Dr. Torralba.

            If the career path in Southridge becomes the attainment of Master Teacher status, this will hopefully avoid that bane of many institutions: jockeying of positions and hard on its heads, clinging to positions.  During my term as ED, I pushed for the observance whenever possible of the three-year terms all officers have.  I did this because it assures everyone who has the skills to be an officer that he has a chance to be and officer.  The upshot of this, I hope, will be the development of a pool of teachers who can take on administrative posts.  These teachers would alternate at the administrative posts.

            The officers of Southridge have been from the start among the best teachers in the school.  I have told people that if all the officers of Southridge were to quit their posts and teach fulltime, perhaps two-thirds or more of the problems of the school would disappear.  The jewels of the school are, I repeat, its good teachers, and it is a huge sacrifice on the part of the school to appoint them to administrative posts.  At the same time, the mark of the true teacher is the desire to teach, and do nothing more.  When the true teacher consents to be an officer or class adviser, it is because he sees these two posts are necessary for the school to function well and someone has to take them; they are “unavoidable evils,” so to speak.

            Teachers as members of an academic community are united to one another by their love of teacher.  At the root of this is the love of knowledge.  The teacher’s love of teaching implies two other loves, the love of learning and the love of children and the youth.  As members of a community, teachers foster in one another these loves; they help one another cultivate them.  This defines teachers as an academic community, not playing sports or going on excursions together.  I emphasize this because, if we initiate activities for teachers like the two examples just given, but initiate nothing related to the four loves, then we are not uniting teachers together as an academic community.  Is that so bad?  It isn’t bad, it’s wrong.  For certain parents and students, teachers will have to be the source of the love of knowledge that should bind these parents and teachers to all the others in a single academic community.

            Isn’t everything the school does in relation to teaching and learning a way of fostering these three loves?  It should be, and yet it may not turn out that way.  Everything the teacher does with students is related to learning, and yet this does not make the students love learning.  Many students see learning as a

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            Although new ones would probably appear.

            When I say “teach,”  I include in it the tutor’s work.  It is certainly possible, however, to have teachers who do not want to be tutors, and this does not count against them in Southridge.  It is not, possible, however to be a tutor or class adviser or officer and not teach.

chore, as a duty:  what they love is basketball or singing or being with their friends.  In much the same way,  a teacher may perceive everything related to teaching and learning as part of a job, as a means to earn a living, and not, in addition or rather above all, as something he loves.

            There are some professions or occupations in which one does not need to love what one does to do it well.  Not so with teaching.  The teacher who does not love his profession will either not work well or will be a cause of dissatisfaction later on.

            We must not reinforce the mentality that teaching in Southridge is solely professional work that moments of leisure in which teachers are together should be spent on things as distinct as possible from teaching, learning, or anything that has to do with thinking.  That is to adopt the student’s mentality and is wrong.  That is to cultivate a bourgeois weekend mentality.  It is good that get-together are about students and classes and teaching techniques; it is good to talk about science and history and the psychology of kids; it is good to have guests playing the piano, to watch intelligent films, to have poetry readings, classes in music and art appreciation, casual gatherings on current issues, documentaries on education.  Teachers must like each other’s company because they love the same things.  They cannot be like factory workers or bank clerks viewing their everyday work desolately, pining for Saturday night to do all the things they would rather do.

            The teachers who form an academic community are sensitive to one another’s professional problems and are ready to help each other in any way they can.  It means that when they discover a new pedagogical technique, they are eager to share it with their fellow teachers.  It means that, without having to be prodded by their superior officer, they take it on themselves to work together to make teaching aids or additional exercises or handouts.  It means that when they discover an interesting book or article, they tell other teachers about it.  It means they enjoy listening to older teachers recount their teaching experiences.

Teachers as Family

            A family is established by a father, who is the center of that family.  In the beginning, Dr. Torralba played the role of father to the school, while Mr. Nazareno plays father to the top officers.  I mention this because I think today the ED is what Mr. Nazareno was.  Dr. Torralba’s equivalents today, insofar as the teachers are concerned, are the academic directors.  The Southridge faculty had, in effect, always comprehended two

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            He may teach well, for example, out of vanity or because teaching makes him feel powerful.  Such teachers sooner or later prove difficult or unpleasant to work with.

faculties: the larger family composed of teachers, the head of which before 1988 was the Director, and the smaller family composed of officers, the head of which before 1985was the PAREF president.  What about the Principal and Vice-Principal?  Do they not play the role of father in any way?  They do, for the parents and students.  Isn’t this multiplication of fathers indicative of a mass?  Time will tell.  Understood broadly, a family may comprehend several fathers with their own families, all united under a patriarch.

            Father as used in the preceding paragraphs means “whoever exercises paternal care over a particular group of teachers.”  All Southridge officers go about their duties paternally.  Not paternalistically, that is, never violating ethics or the tenets of professionalism, never trying to win loyalty to their person instead of to the school, never trying to establish a clique.  The paternal care means warmth and affection.  It does not exclude firmness, which is proper to fathers.  And like any true father, the officer treats his men in a way intended to make them independent of him, i.e., capable of acting alone, making decisions by themselves.  Like any true father, he allows them to suffer and make mistakes (while hovering in the back, making sure they will not burn down the house), because that is the way human beings learn.  It is the particular joy of parents to see themselves dispensable in their children’s lives.

            The officer is sensitive to the feelings and needs of his men.  With common sense: it would be wrong to give in to everything a teacher wants, especially if a teacher starts sulking or shows anger; it would be wrong to be moved by pity or compassion to extend privileges or do favors.

            An officer is a father only in the context of the school.  This is VERY important.  It may happen that a teacher opens up about personal matters that only indirectly affect hi work.  We should never forget that help in personal matters not directly related to the teacher’s work is best given by someone who is not the teacher’s superior officer.  We cannot establish a special relationship with a subordinate which may affect the way we treat him.

            Officers show affection to their subordinates especially through their sensitivity to the latter’s fatigue, and in particular, fatigue due to work in the school.  Not all fatigue is praiseworthy.  Someone may be tired out by work in the school because he does not know how to work or because he invents work for himself.  In that case, paternity is shown in teaching the fellow how to work or making him realize that half of what he does is unnecessary.  If the fatigue is, however, because of hard work, then the officer may do something extraordinary to show his appreciation of his subordinate’s hard work.  He may tell the teacher to take a day off or to go home early, or he may take the teacher out to lunch or dinner or bring him on an excursion.  The manifestation of gratitude is important.

            Affection is shown likewise in the concern we show for a teacher’s health or in our sympathy for a teacher’s family or in our honest efforts to help teachers in a fix.  The latter should be understood correctly.  The officer always represents the school to the teacher, and it is possible that there is nothing he can do as a representative of the school.  Celebrating the teacher’s birthday is important, as is marking important events in his life, like his wedding or the birth of a new child.

            Affection is compatible with being very demanding.  In fact, the more demanding one is, the more one must show affection.  The minimum and most important sign of affection is understanding.  In our culture, affection is identified with smiling every time officer and subordinate cross each other in a corridor, having a few pleasant words with the subordinate normally about his family, a friendly grip on the arm, or even a fatherly arm around the shoulder: and officer may feel all this falls outside the boundaries of his personality.  Fine.  He need not force himself into the behavioral patterns so thoroughly mastered by our politicians.  The minimum demand, as I have said, is understanding.  Affection is not sentimentalism.

            If understanding is the mark of affection in the officer, gratitude and loyalty are the mark of affection in the teacher.  The teacher has one official chance to show his gratitude, and this is the birthday of the officer.  The officer must allow himself to be fussed over on his birthday, not for his sake, but for the sake of his subordinates.  It is very healthy to allow people to express gratitude.

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            Sometimes, Dr. Torralba and I treated all the teachers of a module to dinner if we felt that the teachers had passed through a trying year and had weathered it well.  Sometimes, we would bring out a set of officers.  We were never stingy in this gesture.

            On a teacher’s fifth year in the school, the teacher is brought out to dinner.  In the past, Dr. Torralba and I did this.  Today, perhaps it should be the principal (or vice-principal) and the academic director.  A teacher adjudged the Best Teacher for a given school year receives a monetary token of gratitude.

            The seventh birthday of the teacher in the school is important.  The school gives the teacher gifts.

            Sometimes the officer will have to let a subordinate know that he should not expect the conventional signs of affection evolved by our culture.  Silly problems may arise because an officer fails no notice subordinate he crosses on the corridor.

            The family spirit of Southridge is engendered by the officers.  If they are successful, they will “infect” their subordinates who will treat each other fraternally.  This fraternal affection will manifest itself in that mutual help described earlier.  All the caveats about cliques should be kept in mind.  The fraternity we encourage in the school is bounded strictly by our professional relations.  We should not encourage meddling or interfering.

            We used to have faculty outings in the school.  These stopped when a sizable number of teachers started begging off for various reasons.  Occasionally, module faculty outing have taken the place of the general faculty outings.  In my last year as Executive Director, my birthday was celebrated as Faculty Day.  I personally think that way of celebrating the Executive Director’s birthday is singularly appropriate.  I felt teachers enjoyed themselves on that Faculty Day.  Perhaps it is an appropriate replacement of the general outings we used to have.  The idea is to have one event during the year in which teachers are together for at least one entire day, relaxing and enjoying themselves.  Often, the important activity would be, not the football or volleyball game, but rather the get—together after lunch.

            The faculty Christmas celebration is, of course, very important.  I have always enjoyed it, perhaps even more when it was held in the inner court of the school. In previous years, it was held in restaurants, but the strange surroundings were never propitious for relaxed behavior, aside from discouraging some priests from attending.  The Christmas raffle is great; and I don’t think it would be a waste of money for the school to buy some of the raffle items; just to make some of them is good.

           

            The celebration of the Director’s birthday used to be an important occasion to stress the family spirit of the school. The Executive Director’s birthday should continue the tradition, and the celebrations of all the other officers’ birthdays should be continuations of the same tradition.  We should continue having teachers perform.  The first two officers’ birthdays are other occasions to bring all teachers together.

            The teachers do not celebrate Foundation Day in any special way.  That, I think, is wrong.

            The special lunch for new teachers just before classes open is like their introducing into the Southridge family.  We should take care of our new teacher, helping them to imbibe the Southridge spirit.  I would encourage the older teachers to take them out for dinner or invite them to their homes in the weekend.

            That the teachers make up a community and family has ethical implications.  No teacher criticizes another; on the contrary, we defend one another.  Teachers may correct one another.  There are ways for teachers to correct officers.  Out of loyalty to the school as community, a teacher should report to the rightful authority anything that may endanger the school.

            We never tarnish a teacher’s reputation.  If a teacher has to leave the school or an officer his post because of a reason that may tarnish his reputation, then we keep silent about that reason, even if silence may mean all sorts of unfair speculations about us.  In fact, we go out of our way to keep the public reputation of a teacher or officer unsullied.  We offer excuses to the public for teachers or officers; we defend them or show their side; we do not publicly admit that a teacher or officer has made a mistake unless we have to.  (It is better for that teacher or officer to make that admission, if at all.)  If someone in the school opens up in confidence to an officer about a matter that would mean that person’s dismissal, that person’s confidence cannot be betrayed.  We may take all the measures we can to neutralize the harm that person may cause, but we observe silence over what he has said.  The best thing to do is to convince that person to talk frankly to the right authorities for the good of the school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 17

THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY AND FAMILY OF TEACHERS

AND STUDENTS

            The teachers and students form an academic community and family.  Part of this larger family is the school personnel.

            When we say that teachers and students form an academic community, we mean that both are united in a common purpose:  the student’s education.  This assumes that students are aware of the reason why they are in school.  This awareness matures as the student himself matures.  Or rather I should say that it should mature, because when students turn pubescent, they sometimes rebel at having to study.  They appreciate school once again when in 3rd or 4th Year.

            That teachers and students form an academic community hinges on the students’ desire to learn with the help of the teacher.  This desire itself depends on three persons, the teacher and the student’s parents.

            Every human being has a natural desire to learn: this we know from Aristotle.  What we know from teaching pubescent and adolescents is that this desire is easily numbed or twisted.  The home has a very important role to play in fostering this natural desire and keeping it alive and healthy.  Parents need not do anything wrong to produce a child indifferent to learning.  By precisely doing nothing  to foster this natural desire at home, they may end up with a Holden Caulfield, given the anti-intellectual bias of contemporary teenage culture.  Thus, the importance of parents to the child’s desire to learn, much more, I would say than a teacher’s.  In fact, it is having parents who are interested in learning that often saves a child from the deadening influence of pseudo-teacher.

            It is the teacher, however, who will make Southridge what it should be—and academic community.  I have not forgotten some of the essays that the first group of Southridge high school graduates wrote on the ideal teacher.  Many described the ideal teacher as being like and older brother.  That they did not compare him to a father is probably a reflection of the youth of most of the teachers they had.  But the comparison to an older brother is revealing of what they valued in a teacher:  his patience, his understanding, and I suppose, his affection.

            The students should be enthusiastic about knowledge.  That enthusiasm will come from their teacher.  Clubs and competitions could, I suppose, help in fanning this enthusiasm, but in the long run, the teacher’s pedagogical method, his personal excitement over the subject matter cannot matched.

            The school should foster a culture in which learning is admired.  This is revolutionary today.  It goes against the inclination of modern civilization.  Today the learning that is admired is practical (learning directed toward the production of objects), not theoretical (learning directed toward the attainment of wisdom).  The learning that enables one to earn much money is much admired.  We have reached the stage in which the athlete or artist who earns the most money also earns the most admiration.  There is little admiration today for the theologian or philosopher, historian or humanist.

            The heroes of the school should not only be those who play basketball well or those who sing well, but also those who are intelligent.  We deliberately did not give special importance to intelligent students for many years –mistakenly, in my opinion.  The reason was the fear of fostering intellectual vanity.  Thus, the highest award of  the school, the Student Award, was not for scholastic achievement but for hard work, and achievements in sports were given as much attention as the Student Award.

            As the years passed, we noticed an indifference towards learning among students.  This was a problem that was not peculiar to Southridge and could be blamed on the cultural environment.  Three years ago we started publicly recognizing scholastic achievement.  The School Board felt the awards could act as an incentive to the lethargic students.  I was happy about the awards because I fell then that the school was not giving any special importance to learning and was in fact making a bigger

 

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            I now think this reason to be naïve.  The school has been careful not to foster intellectual vanity, but has turned a blind eye to other types of vanity which it can foster through its awards.  At the same time, intellectual vanity could flourish just as easily in the classroom even if no public recognition is given to learning.  I think we should have established wards in school on he basis of what we value, regardless of whether this would foster vanity of not.  The problem of vanity is solved in other ways.

            It is difficult to transform the hard worker into a hero.  Marx and Lenin tried their best, but never succeeded in identifying the Hard Worker with any specific person.  Many of the hard workers who are admired by their classmates are actually intelligent fellows who are admired more for their intelligence.  Today, the only hard workers popularly exalted as heroes are persons like the founder of McDonald’s or gentlemen like Mr. Gokongwei.  Obviously, it is their wealth that has made them admirable.

funs over achievements in sports.

            Awards reflect what a community values.  At the moment, Southridge has four types of awards: awards for sports, for academic contests, for scholastic achievement, and for hard work.  I would like to question the Student Award.  As the highest award of the school, it reflects what the school values preeminently.

            The idea of the Student Award came from Gaztelueta.  It is an award granted students who work to the best of their abilities.  Insofar as it is considered more important than awards for scholastic achievement, it is an exaltation of work over actual learning achieved.  I now question this.  I do not know if this is right in a school.  We made this the highest award in the school because we thought it was an award within anyone’s reach.  We felt that scholastic achievement awards were usually received only by students who are intellectually gifted and who would often not need to exert an extraordinary effort to get good grades.  We felt that the level of knowledge on actually reached was not as important as reaching the level one could.  The Student Award I public recognition for trying one’s best.

            No one may question the intention behind the Student Award, but many questions have been asked about how one determines whether or not a student has tried his best.  The most frequent criticism is that the criteria for determining awardees are subjective, as in the following example.  Occasionally, we have bright students who do not try beyond a cer4tain point.  From the point of view of the teacher, the student can do more; from the student’s own point of view, he is already doing a lot.  Both use the school’s teaching regarding best efforts to justify his own view, and neither view may be conclusively proved or disproved.  The result is confusion on the student’s part.  He is exerting his best as far as he is concerned; why should the teacher insist he is not?  In answer to the student we have always maintained that the teacher, like the parent, has an intuitive knowledge of his student’s potentials by the sheer experience of working with the student.  Does he?  Potential is known with some certainty only when it has shown itself.  Granted that the teacher has knowledge of a student’s potentials based on the student’s performance, this knowledge is useful only if school work continues to use those same potentials after they

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            I take the blame for this, having pushed for the multiplication of awards for track and field events, with distinctions of kinds of records.  The track and field competitions were limited to the best in school, and so the contestants constituted an elite.  The same thing was not true of the academic contests.

            The prestige of the academic contests is, I think, damaged by public knowledge that contestants are frequently inadequately prepared.

have been evinced.  When subsequent school work uses different potentials or when it uses known potentials at a much higher level then the teacher’s knowledge of the student’s potentials is useless.

            Work in 2nd Year is an example of school work that uses potentials a student had not used previously; grade school work in general with its progressively higher goals is an example of work that uses potentials at increasingly higher levels.  In these two cases, the teacher cannot demand from the student according to his potentials.  Rather, the teacher tries to discover the student’s potentials by continually demanding from him.  So long as the student tries everything the teacher demands from him, the teacher is happy.  The student may fail, but the teacher feels he (the student) has tired his best.  If we were to reward the student at this point, we would be rewarding him not for trying his best, but for having done everything the teacher has asked him to do.  The Student Award is actually an award for docilitas—teach ability.

            This is, of course, the student’s virtue par excellence insofar as the student is a student.  If my analysis is correct, then we should stop describing the Student Award as an award for working according to one’s potentials.  That description is inexact and confusing.  Described as an award for docilitas, I think may complaints about it would disappear.  My fear, though, is that we might encourage toadyism, a caricature of docillitas, and conversely, be more vulnerable to accusations of favoritism.  I can imagine someone accusing a teacher of never having demanded anything personally of him and so of never having given him the chance to show docilitas.  On the other hand, docilitas is what we expect of all students; so why recognize them publicly in students? If we say that we will publicly recognize only those who are exemplary, what constitutes exemplary docilitas?  May it not happen that a student is docilis without being noticed by the teacher?  These are questions which should be answered.  At the moment, I do not see why students should be publicly recognized for being what they should be, and I see no way of determining what constitutes exemplary docilitas.  Certain rules we follow at the moment minimize the dangers I allude to above.  (One such rule is reserving votation to the permanent teachers.)  In the quarterly meeting on the Student Awardees, teachers should take not of the students nominated by their colleagues.  If they have only a vague impression of these students, they should observe these students in the next quarter to be able to confirm their colleague’s nomination.  They may even “test” these students, that is, personally advise them on their studies to see how they respond.

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            A teacher knows the student’s potential only after the student had done work, not before, and he can use this knowledge to judge only the student’s subsequent work, and only if that work is similar to the preceding one.

            On the other hand, I do not know if it is right to reserve the highest award in the school for a means to an end, whether these are hard work or teahability.  The end of both is learning.  If the goal of Southridge is learning (one learns to be wise and virtuous, to be patriotic; one learns professional skills).  Why shouldn’t the highest award in Southridge be granted for learning?  We may reply that to achieve learning, hard work or teachability are necessary.  That is true, but it doesn’t  answer the question: why reserve the highest award in Southridge for these two qualities?  Why not reserve it for learning?

            The reply may be made: is it good to give a student public recognition for wisdom or virtue?  In fact, can a student be seriously given recognition for wisdom or virtue?  I don’t think so, wisdom and virtue will come later on in life.  Isn’t it more realistic, therefore, to publicly recognize hard work or teachability.  Perhaps, but my fear is that hard work or teachability will be perceived to be more important than learning, if either is the criterion for the highest award of the school.  Sometimes students come up to us claiming they should get a passing mark for and examination they had failed.  The reason they give for deserving the passing mark is that they had studied several hours for the examination.  We reply that the passing is not for effort but for knowledge and wonder where they could have gotten such an odd concept of the passing mark.  Could they not have gotten it from us?  Could they not be merely drawing conclusions from what they have heard so often from us: what is important is to try your best?  If doing one’s best is what is important in a school, then a student should pass because he has tried his best; but that is not true.  He passes because he knows what he should.  Therefore, what is important in a school is learning.  We say one thing; the system says another.  The result can only be confusion.

            We may cry foul and say that what we preach is: try your best all the time, not just the night before examinations; thus, the Student Award has been described as recognition of constancy.  But is the student who studies faithfully every night practicing the virtue of constancy?  Perhaps he is simply being obedient.  Perhaps he is doing it out of blind habit.  Perhaps he studies nightly out of fear.  My point is that it does not do to – encourage a virtue in isolation from the reason for practicing it.  If we want to extol hard work or teachability, we cannot do so for their own sake.  In a school, hard work or teachability are valuable because they make learning possible.  Unless we exalt learning in the school.  I fear the hard work or

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            By learning I do not mean the act of learning, but rather its fruit: wisdom, virtue, patriotism, or professional skills.

            That is, without knowing why he does it.

            Neither, of course, is absolutely necessary to learn.

teachability we extol is actually conformism.

            Do we need to exalt learning in a school?  Isn’t the exaltation of learning built into the very system?  As a matter of fact, a common reason given for denouncing schools in what we may call today’s “counterculture” is that school knowledge is irrelevant and all schools teach is blind conformity to the establishment.  In other words, we cannot presume that learning is exalt in the perception of the child just because he goes to school.

            How do we exalt knowledge in the school?  I am afraid there is no other way except that practiced by all other schools: to publicly recognize those with excellent marks.  Are we not praising students for what they should do?  No, because in a school what they should do is achieve a specific level of knowledge, i.e., enough to pass, but what receives public recognition is not the passing mark, but the highest ones.  (Public recognition for passing marks is given on graduation day.)  Of the four types of awards Southridge gives, I would make those for scholastic achievement the highest wards.  If we do this might we not then give public recognition to students for doing what comes easily to them, in this case, bright students who get excellent marks?  (In fact, the sports awards do exactly that.)  The answer is that the awards exalt knowledge.  In the long run, it doesn’t matter how we acquire knowledge; what matters is that we acquire it.  If as happens now at year’s end, to get a scholastic achievement award one must reach a certain cut-off mark, then the point is made that it is being at a certain level of knowledge, not the mere fact of excelling, that is praiseworthy.

            Another reason why the highest award in Southridge should be for learning and not for docilitas is that it is possible to get excellent marks without following the teacher.  I have in mind an Einstein who has original solutions to problems or

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            At this point, we return to topics treated of in the first part.  A child could view knowledge in a utilitarian way and ask what use it to study certain subject matter.  It would be a mistake to relate knowledge to money-making.  The teacher should relate it to wisdom and virtue, then to patriotism, and finally to one’s profession.  In fact, if the teacher knows how to teach his subject matter, so that he elicits wonder or even fascination and is able to sustain interest, the utilitarian questions about knowledge never arise.

            I do not mean that knowledge should be exalted over, say, piety, but certainly we exalt piety based on doctrinal knowledge over sentimental piety.  We aren’t saying being bright is better than being good, but we are saying that being good without bothering to know any theology, natural or otherwise, is mere goodishness.

someone so bright he is usually left on his own by his teachers.

            What do we do then with work, which the school has exalted these last twelve years?  We continue exalting it.  Should any award be given for work?  I don’t think so, only because it is difficult to determine who should be publicly recognized for it, and on the other hand, we don’t want people to work in such a way that they are noticed.  The Docility Award is already an award for work—work as directed by the teacher.  The idea of recognizing work according to potentiality should be given up as humanly impossible.  The idea of publicly recognizing only those achievements attained through effort and not those accomplished effortlessly is, I realize, silly; it is a kind of reverse snobbery, I would abandon it.

            The Mass on the occasion of the new school year is an important event as it emphasizes to everyone that we are beginning a new school year.  Every year the academic community is new, since students and teachers have left the school and there are new students and teachers.  Perhaps the priest who celebrates the Mass should welcome the new members of the academic community.  Even the non-teaching personnel should attend the Mass.

            Just as the work of the academic community has a formal beginning, so it should have a formal end.  This is the awarding ceremonies on Foundation Day.  It may be better to bid farewell to the graduating high school students on behalf of the entire academic community on this day rather than during the graduation ceremonies.  The Foundation Day ceremonies are attended as well by the parents of awardees.  Thus, the ceremonies are an expression of the Southridge academic community, insofar as this comprehends not only teachers and students but also parents.

            On the tenth year of a teacher in the school, a dinner is held attended by the entire faculty and alumni to honor the teacher.  He receives a token of appreciation from the academic community.  I could have mentioned this in the section on teachers as an academic community, but the presence of the alumni at the dinner is important.   It is a reminder that the teacher works for students, not for the sake of teaching well (a senseless intention).  These dinners are important celebrations of the academic community.

            The school personnel, I said, are part of the school as academic community.  Under school personnel I would include janitors, maintenance men, couriers, cafeteria personnel, and all other employees at their level.  All non-teaching personnel should know the relation of their work to the activities of the school.  Only thus will they appreciate their work and be correctly motivated to improve.  Students in particular should know the relation of the work of non-teaching personnel to the education they receive in Southridge.  Only thus will they appreciate the work of these people.

            The Social Studies program for the Primary School used to include a study of the school, in particular its non-teaching personnel.  Perhaps students should take charge of gathering the items that will be raffled among the personnel on Christmas.  We should continue  insisting that students address non-teaching personnel politely, that they try to lessen the work of these people.

 

Teachers and Students as Family

            The father is the cornerstone of the family.  In the Southridge family, the Principal and Vice-Principal play this role.  Thus, it is right that the talks on virtues in monthly assemblies be given by either of these two as it is right that the father be the teacher of virtues in the family.  The occasional paternal notices the Principal gives to the whole school holster this image.  It is right that he encourage students to support the various projects of the school.

            The Principal should see himself as the father of students and the school buildings and grounds as his home.  This will help him react correctly in situations.  It will give the right tone to his conversation and actions.  With this in mind he can say and do anything he wants.  He should care for the children, and it would be good for this to be obvious.  Let him have brief conversations with the students.  Like a father and mother, he should be concerned about the appearance and behavior of students.

            By now, the reason why the Principal’s birthday is and important event in the school should be obvious.  It should be given the importance due the father’s birthday in a family.

            Earlier I mentioned how the first graduates of Southridge described the ideal teacher as being like a brother.  Just as the teacher is crucial in making the students conscious members of the academic community, so too they are crucial in transforming them into members of Southridge as family.  They are an important means to communicate to the students that perception of the principal as father.

           

            The teachers, and in particular the class advisers and tutors, teach students to respect and have concern for one another.  That a student is being bullied by others or ostracized or teased or persecuted is a matter of concern for every teacher who witnesses even a hint of this in his class.  They teach students to be understanding—not only of one another, but of

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teachers as well.

            Understanding, concern, respect among students and between teachers and students; these must be present if Southridge school is to be a family.  Class advisers and tutors play an important role in ensuring this.  Extra-curricular or school activities which involve students from different grade levels help.

            We should avoid generalizations or sweeping statements, rash or harsh judgments, about particular students.  There is nothing wrong with relating a humorous anecdote about a student, but poking fun at him is another matter.  When jokes about students become nasty (when jokes about teachers become mean), the school has ceased to be a family.

            The test of the school as family is the manner in which the correction of students is handled.  It would be wrong not to make any corrections at all.  It would be equally wrong to limit-corrections to grave offenses:  the little offenses pave the way for the big ones.  It would be wrong to delay correction.  It would be wrong to impose punishments that are not commensurate to the offense, i.e., too soft or too harsh.  All punishments (even institutional ones), all reprimands, should have a personal touch.  Weakness in any authority figure, whether teacher or officer, in the matter of discipline should not be tolerated.  It will lead to lack of respect and mutual respect between teachers and students is the bedrock on which Southridge as community and family stands.  (Unduly harsh sanctions also lead to lack of respect.)

            The family spirit in Southridge refers only to the way in which we do thing; in the school.  It is not the go-signal for teachers to cultivate personal relationships with students and their families.  Teachers address one another, even the highest school officials, by their first names.  In front of students, however, we call each other “Mister,” and we do not allow students to address us by our first names.  Familiarity is not a manifestation of family spirit.  In general, any realationship that could compromise the professional relations between teacher and student should be avoided.  It would be wrong for the teacher to delve into the personal life of the student, even if he is the class adviser.  The tutor may, but with much delicateness and for purposes of character formation, certainly never out of curiosity.  If a teacher, tutor, or class adviser realizes that he has “crossed the border” and is becoming emotionally involved with or attached to a student or groups of students or a class, he should take measures to disengage himself from this involvement or attachment.  It is best he seek the help of a superior officer or the chaplain in this matter.  If we notice anyone call the attention of the rightful authority who will then move to help the teacher.

            What if a student opens up about personal matters to the class adviser or teacher?  This is not unusual.  The class adviser or teacher should not brush off the boy.  He should direct him to his tutor or the chaplain, if the matter he brings up is better handled by either of these.  If he can help the boy, he should: if he is not competent to, he should tell the boy.  In general, it is best not to get involved in very personal matters in a student’s life, especially if one is not the tutor.  One must be extremely prudent about giving advice.  One should never put oneself in a situation which could compromise the school.  If we notice that a student is becoming emotionally attached to us, we should act in a way that discourages this attachment.

 

CHAPTER 18

 

THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY AND FAMILY OF PARENTS,

TEACHERS, AND STUDENTS

            Parents, teachers, and students in Southridge form an academic community and family.  I have already said something about collaboration between home and school and about the duty of the parents to foster the natural desire to learn.  I have also said something about the relation between parents and educators in Southridge.  These points are all one need know to understand how parents form an academic community together with teachers and students.  In Southridge we encourage parents to interrelate with one another as well.

            I recall a letter we received from a Southridge parent on the third or fourth year of the school.  She complained about the tone of the letters the school was sending parents; they sounded, she said, too official, too formal.  From then on letters to particular parents addressed father and mother by their first names, and the letter writing style change from  a formal one to a gently casual one.  Parents and teachers form part of the same family.  Thus, we address parents by their first names.

            The Southridge family spirit is clearest in the two family celebrations the school holds yearly—the Christmas celebration and Father’s Day.  In a rather unexpected way, they have helped hold the school together and given it an identity.  Here are some observations on them.

            Obviously, it is to the school’s advantage to get as many children as possible involved in these two celebrations.  Otherwise, it may be hard to convince parents to come to the school.

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            This is not an absolute rule.  It is much better to address mothers as “Mrs. So-and-so” when we talk to tem without their husbands.  The reason is to avoid familiarity for obvious reasons.

            The Christmas celebration has drawn huge crowds mainly because of the creativity and imaginativeness shown in the Christmas plays and concerts.  If the plays are messy, poorly produced, and clumsily amateurish, we may expect the audience to dwindle as the years pass.  The concerts have to be very professionally done, e.g., good choice of repertoire, fast succession of songs, good singing.  Poor singing will make sure future concerts will be poorly attended.  Order is very important.  If the crowd is noisy and inattentive, it will be very hard to appreciate the play or concert.  It may happen, of course, that Southridge has no teacher who can produce a good play or concert.  In that case, I would not force the issue.  Better not to soil our good record with lousy productions.  I would suggest that classroom exhibits and productions be stressed instead.  The winning numbers for the Principal’s Day could still be presented to a huge crowd, again assuming these are worth presenting to the parents.  The way the Christmas celebration is organized, form classroom exhibits to the Christmas play, speaks volumes, rightly or wrongly, about the way we run the school.

            Father’s Day is a sure winner only if the children themselves insist their fathers come.  The after-lunch variety show is another sure winner only if it is well-prepared.  I would remove the teachers’ game.  It is our of place, does not attract a crowd, and does nothing to increase the camaraderie between teachers and fathers of the respect of students for teachers.  Besides, the more games involving students and fathers, the better.

            These two activities are held for the parents.  This should never be forgotten.  They are not held for either the students or teachers.  They should be impressive.  They should overflow with good will.  They are truly the expression of Southridge parents, teachers, and students as both community and family.

            And the awarding ceremonies on Foundation Day?  Another true expression of the Southridge academic community and family, but with a reduced number of parents participating.  Nevertheless, for obvious reasons, these are the parents who have collaborated with the school as PAREF envisions parental collaboration.   The program should be very professionally managed.  The graduation ceremonies for Grade School and High School and the high school graduation dinner are three more such expressions of unity.  They should be very professionally managed as well.

            I have bothered to mention the school celebrations because they serve an important purpose.  We are not angels and so understand only through the senses.  We also tend to forget what is important in our absorption in what is urgent.  The celebra-

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            Never give the impression that winning numbers will surely be produced for the Christmas show.

tions remind us of key and even radical aspects of Southridge.  They remind us of what the school is.  They are not breaks in the work schedule; they are not excuses to eat and drink well.  The care we take in observing these celebrations reflects the seriousness with which we consider what we celebrate.

 

            Are these notes on Southridge as academic community and family so important?  To say Southridge is an academic community in to say what it is.  It is possible to do everything being done right now in Southridge and yet not be an academic community.  The school could become, for example, a convenient way for people to earn money or a convenient place for people to get diplomas for their children.  I think it is obvious that if we do not conceive of Southridge as it is, it will deviate from the path it should take, subtly at first, grossly afterwards.  To say Southridge is a family is to speak metamorphically.  The metaphor refers to the way we do things in the school.  I believe this aspect of Southridge is a direct influence of Opus Dei.  It is a good reminder of the main tenet of the PAREF philosophy of education—that the family is of primary importance in education, and it certainly makes the task of education in Southridge more pleasant.

            Looking after these two aspects of Southridge demands a deep understanding of what an academic community is and much reflection on what an academic community as a family would mean.  Looking after them is not easy.  They belong to the scents and tastes category.  Ordinarily, one learns how to take good care of them after years.  The Management Staff obviously has this task as its own..  no officer is exclusively in charge of it, although the head of the school should shoulder a generous part of the burden.  Since it takes years to understand Southridge as academic community and family, the officers should seek the impressions of those officers who have been with the school for many years.

            I have not said anything about the mentor, who is the key person in the integration of a new teacher into the Southridge academic community and family and in something out kinks in the teacher’s relations with everyone in Southridge, whether parents, co-teachers, or students.  If the identity of Southridge as academic community and family depends on the teachers, then we see just how important the mentor is.  His key responsibility also requires that he be a person of many years in Southridge.  We have fixed this at five.  The lack of teachers with five years or more in Southridge has forced us to appoint mentors from among the “younger” teachers.  We should not forget that this is an extraordinary situation, and we should be very careful about whom we appoint.  I would not appoint as mentor any teacher who has shown disunity or lack of unity, even if that teacher has taught many years in Southridge.  We should explain the reasons very candidly but paternally to such teachers.  I have written a paper on him to which I have nothing to add.  I only wish to reiterate how important the conversation with the mentor is.  Sometimes the busy officer may postpone or even cancel this conversation, under the mistaken notion that he has more important things to do.  That officer should be reprimanded.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 19

 

WORK TO DO

            There are five types of work which officers have to do in Southridge and which should not be confused with one another.  The head of the school should classify all the work actually being done in the school according to these five types.  To neglect any type would be wrong.  An officer may need to do all five types of work at the same time, which may not be possible.

 

            What are the five types of work?  They are the work of:

(a)    establishing

(b)    polishing

(c)    adapting

(d)    stabilizing, and

(e)    what I would call The Real Work

The first four types of work may actually be lumped together as The Work to Set Up Southridge.  They correspond to three stages in that Work.  The work of adapting refers to the adaptation of what has been established to the increasing student population of Southridge.  This deserves special mention because it may entail changing structures.  I discuss this at greater length below.  The work of adapting is followed by the work of polishing; this latter, by the work of stabilizing.  The work of stabilizing while part of the The Work to Set Up Southridge, is also part of The Work to Keep Southridge Going.

Each type of work is distinct from the others.  The work of establishing is based on the long period of reflection—on the goals of the school and the relation of the work to be done to those goals.  This is followed by a period of planning, then by a period of implementation.  The period of implementation may last several months or years.  It includes regular checks, revisions, and changes.  Its results are the general outlines of a strategy or program.

The work of polishing is a work of minutiae, less exciting than the first, but just as demanding, although in a different way.  In the work of polishing, one looks at everything through a fine lens.  One scrutinizes from all angles.  One covers everything, even points of aesthetics, even details like the type of

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            It is if he has enough people to delegate the work to.

            Current practice considers anything experimental till at least five years have passed.  I would identify everything in the school (practices, rules, structure, etc.) less than five years old and monitor them.

folder to use.  Its result is a manual.

            The work of stabilizing involves establishing a routine, a way of checking statistics and reports, regular analyses.  It is concerned about greater efficiency and effectiveness.  It is even duller work than that of polishing but it is necessary for the Real Work.  The link between it and The Real Work is the analyses.

            All this work is thrown out of kilter by any significant change in the school’s student population.  A change in the number of students would mean a change in the number of teachers, and both of these could entail a change in the school structure.  I discuss this below.  What is important to note at the moment is that the work of establishing will have to adapt itself to the new circumstance, and the work of polishing and stabilizing may have to give way to the work of adaptation.  Adaptation can be like a new work of establishment, but all the initial work of reflection will pay off: if the reflection done was good, then adaptation will pose no problem.  The solution will be found quickly.

            While all of this is going on, the Real Work goes on as well.  The Real Work is the work of making sure the goals of education are being attained.  I distinguish the Real Work from the work of stabilizing.  It is possible to have a well-run school from the point of view of reports and statistics which yet, unknown to the school administrators, does not achieve the goals of  education.  Reports and statistics can mask the Real Work of the school.  The Real Work involves the effectiveness of teaching and tutoring, the training of the teachers and tutors, making sure parental collaboration in the deep sense of the term is going on, seeing to it that the students are truly learning, that teachers love teaching, tutors tutoring, and students learning, that everyone understands the school goals, that officers know what they’re doing.  The Real Work includes making sure Southridge is a community and a family.

            Much of this work is directly under the first two officers.  Nevertheless, the Real Work is not solely their responsibility.  The other officers observe keenly, listen well, as they go about their daily routine, all the while they are in school.  (We are once again in the scents and tastes territory.)  If there is something wrong, it will strike them.  (IF it does not, that’s a sign they have to reflect more on the goals of the school and related topics.)  They make the opportune observations.  They ask the right questions.

            There will come a time when the Work to Set Up Southridge will end.  It is essentially different from the other. .  In theory, it precedes the other work, but in practice both may need to be done simultaneously.  We must be careful because an “unfinished situation” is uncomfortable.  For the sake of psychological peace, we may regard (tacitly, even unconsciously).

whatever we establish as definitive without regarding its first years as a trial period.  That would be a mistake.  I should warn officers as well of the temptation to ignore defects of something newly established on the grounds that these are slight.  That would be wrong.  The time to criticize something is when its defects are still small.  One may decide not to act for the meantime, but one will be more observant from that moment on, ready to act when necessary.  One must not be afraid to change something experimental; I do agree, on the other hand, it is more prudent to hesitate to change something of proven value.

            The Work to Set Up Southridge is important for obvious reasons. It is harder to undo something the longer it has been around; thus, anything in the beginning stage should be observed critically. At the same time, we should not let this work distract us from the Real Work. We should not be so caught up in systems and procedures, for example, that we neglect the most important thing in a school – learning. This can happen. The work of establishing, pioneer work, is exciting. That of ensuring learning is less so. It is subtler, more difficult. It needs patience, observing things over time. For these reasons serious problems in learning may escape our notice until they reach serious proportions.

            The five types of work may be present in Southridge simultaneously. Work goes on in the school in different areas, and in one the work of establishing may be going on, while in another, it is the work of polishing, and in a third, the work of stabilizing. The head of the school must keep clearly in his head, because then he will know what work to pay attention to, what sort of attention he should pay to it, and when to pay attention to it. It will not do to say he will concentrate on the work of establishing. The work of polishing is important because its result will be what will be done permanently in the school. The work of stabilizing is important because it is directly related to the orderly management of the school in order to pay attention to all three, the head of the school will have to schedule days when he checks on each specifically. He must also be in a continual state of vigilance. He must know the danger signals peculiar to each type of work, so that it can react even if it isn’t time to check on a specific work. It will be important for him to set a rhythm, to know when to begin one work and suspend another, to know when to resume. The simultaneous supervision of all the tasks in all the areas of the school, insofar as this means deciding which tasks should be begun, which suspended, which resumed, which ended, which reviewed, is the special job of the head of the school working with the management staff. In management staff meetings, the head of the school be the logical source of proposals in this matter. Once the Management Staff has set targets for the school year, I think it is alright for the head of the school to see Management Staff members individually during the school year to persuade them (in the case of the first two officers) or to direct them (in the case of the other officers) to begin, suspend, resume work, etc., so as to meet deadlines. If either of the first two officers refuses, then the head of the school may bring up the matter in a Management Staff meeting.

            When a radical change is initiated in the school, it tends to absorb all our attention. That is wrong. It may be right to give it most of our attention, but that does not justify neglecting any of the other work. The work of establishing in its less dramatic stages, e.g., observing to see if it works, should continue otherwise, we will lack data later on to decide whether or not what was established is good. This is where the head of the school is valuable—not to supervise work which everyone excited about, but to make sure that the attractive but important work continues to be done.

 

Some Impressions of Work Done and Work to Do

            Let me go over these notes and give random impressions of work that has been done and work that remains to do.

 

What the Founding Parents Wanted

            Southridge has all the characteristics of FOMENTO schools.

            The distinction between the educator and non-educators is followed in Southridge. The educators have done a lot of work this past twelve years to ensure that the school offers good education.

            The school has good academic standards. Its students have performed very well in the NCEE in language, reading, and mathematics. They have not as well in abstract reasoning. I don’t know y. I suspect it is because there is no subject that develops this skill systematically. If the performance of the boys in abstract reasoning is a reflection of their intellectual abilities as uncultivated, then their good performance in the other tests speaks well of the work the school has done with their minds. The standards of the school are neither low nor high: most of the alumni are average university students. Their training in English seems to be better than most; their training in Filipino seems to be not as good. Their training in Mathematics and Science is just as good as other students’. Their training in History, Literature, Philosophy, and Religion is unmatched by any other school.3 Needless to say, at the moment we are the school in the country that teaches Latin, and a number of alumni have personally told me that the subject has proved to be an unexpected boon in their readings.

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            Which is not to say we have extraordinary courses in these subjects.  What it means is that most schools have deteriorated in the teaching of these subjects.

On the Goals of Education

            In general, I think much work needs to be done to make sure parents, teachers, and officers know and understand the goals of education. Perhaps to have to do spadework as well on the implications of the goal of Christian education on everything we do in the school.

On the PAREF Philosophy of Education

            We have lately done a lot of work to clarify what this means to officers and parents. We have done something to explain to it teachers, but I think isn’t too clear to them yet. The parents we have clarified this philosophy to are not many, and I fear we have to help many parents figure out the practical implications of the PAREF philosophy.

 

On the Objectives of Grade Schools and High School

            I think the division of the school into modules has been extremely important to clarify pedagogical approaches. We have just begun. In the future, paper should be produce describing the differences of children in these various age groups and the repercussions of these differences on teaching methods. I suspect that once the school has established a tradition in teaching children of specific ages, the division into modules will not have to be strictly observed structurally. Of example, modules A and B could me merged, or eventually the divisions could follow the conventional once—Prep, Primary School, Intermediate School, High School. I will give up the modules, however, only when the differences in teaching methods for the different age groups are clear to academic directors.

            We are giving our student basic ideas in theology and philosophy. Some understand these so well they have even changed their professors in the university for presenting contrary ideas.

            The enforced disappearance of Philosophy from our curriculum is a great loss. From conversations with alumni I gather it is one of the subjects that has proven most helpful to them in college, not so much because it has prepared them for philosophy courses, but because it has provided them with a knowledge of reality with which they can compare what they are taught in various courses in college. For many, I think it is, the very experience of having taken philosophy that they value, in the sense that it has taught them to think deeply and carefully and made them realize how superficial popular notions can be. This is an experience they do not get in any other subject.

            With the SEDP in force, our plan is to teach philosophy in the Values Education classes. The philosophy the students will learn will be limited to rational psychology, but that branch of philosophy is probably more relevant to students than the metaphysics they used to be taught as well. The students have been taught logic have also been most appreciative of it. If and when the official curriculum is changed allowing us to restore philosophy as a subject, we should. The suspension of Values Education classes this year is unfortunate.

            Theology and philosophy should affect the teaching of history and literature this is why the teachers of these subjects should be eventually required to take courses in theology and philosophy even if only in summer courses offered in Southridge.

I have found the composition classes very effective in teaching the students to reflect. This is very important to develop wisdom. What I use to do was to insist that the student find something worth writing in the general topic given to him. It was in search for that worthwhile point that the student learned to reflect.  I insisted on sincerity of expression.  I fought against romanticism or melodrama.  I encourage elaboration of what was good.  I think much of what I say here is applicable to grade school.

            Wisdom, I said earlier, should be taught by the tutor.  I suspect this does not happen frequently, mainly because many of the tutors are inexperienced.  I insist on the power of literature to speed up the maturity of person’s power of judgment.  This should go hand in hand with formation in theology and philosophy.

            It is noteworthy how our school is paired the three scourges of most other high schools—drugs, pornography, violence. This is, I think, attributable to the character formation program. The boys know what they’re doing, and they know it with common sense, with common sense, with their feet on the ground, that is, without complexes.  I am disturbed by the number of alumni who abandon order and discipline in their first year in college and consequently perform poorly.  A few drop out of courses or even of school because of neglect.  I don’t think the school can be blamed for this, but I would have thought our program in developing virtues could have helped alumni to avoid this.  I hope the new program to develop virtues is more effective than the old one.  Two years ago I received an unexpected visit from an alumnus.  This fellow was in 2nd Year College and dropped by to thank the school (he was never a tutee of mine) for the character formation he had received.  He said he could see the

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            Our problems with students bringing pornographic material to school or reading or watching pornography is, I think, considerably less than in most other schools.

difference between him and his classmates in college who had not had the benefit of such an education, and he was thankful for that education.

            We could improve much in teaching our students about the Philippines as a political community.  Their knowledge of Philippine history is fine, but I don’t think we deliberately educate them for citizenship.  The school could improve in translating patriotism from theory into action.  I find the classes our students give to Barrio Buli children an excellent instance of patriotism in action.  National celebrations should find an echo in the school.  There is a dearth of exhibits on Philippine history and citizenship.  I am very optimistic over the Economics classes being planned for 3rd Year.  The patriotism we want from our students is not ostentatious, much less jingoistic.  It should be based on a few well-understood and firmly held convictions.  It should be realistic, that is, unafraid to criticize the Filipino for his defects, while not being blind to his strengths.

            We may not be paying enough attention in high school to the way our students think.  Classes in high school should be a constant challenge to the intellect.  High school teachers should know how the mind works; if not, how will they challenge students reasonably?  It is not a matter of being difficult.  It is being sensitive to the reasons why a student commits a mistake, why he doesn’t learn, why he finds it difficult to understand.  It means pointing out jumps in reasoning, non-sequiturs, vague expressions, the failure to define.  It means insisting on organization.

            Occasionally, tutors have discovered that students do not know what they are supposed to have learned (and in fact were taught) in Religion class.  I think this is a good reminder that merely having the boys memorize the catechism is insufficient.  The Catholic schools were doing this for years (as they used to exhort their students to virtue), but it seems without much understanding or appreciation from the students.

            The Reading, Science and Social Studies classes in the grade school can be powerful preparations for wisdom.  Reading forces the students to reflect; Science sustains their wonder at reality; Social Studies introduces them to complex human problems.  Frankly, I do not know if this is in fact what these subjects are at present in Southridge.

            As regards the acquisition of good habits, we have certainly not been lacking in exhortation, but again I don’t know how effective we have been.

            We can improve much in teaching the verbal skills and critical judgment.  We should start by improving the skills of the teachers themselves.  Most of our teacher do not speak or write English well.  They do not read much.  All this is true as well of Filipinos.

            I think much remains to be done to show teachers the interconnections of objectives—of grade school objectives among themselves or high school objectives among themselves or between grade school and high school objectives.

On Collaboration of Home and School

            Much has been done in recent years to clarify what is meant by collaboration between home and school.  I think more has to be done, e.g., of the points mentioned in the notes which to my knowledge have never been discussed before.  There may be yet more dimensions of this topic that we will discover as the years pass.  The ways of concretizing it must be legion.  The task of explaining it to all the parents and teachers is huge.  I don’t see how we can avoid producing at least a booklet on it.

            The footnotes I have written on what the school does to help teacher and parent practice this philosophy state what more we have to do.

 

On Teachers and Tutors

The existence of at least four teachers-trainers in Southridge is, to say the least, revolutionary.  We will probably continue to have few teachers staying on beyond two years, and most of our teachers will probably continue to be persons who never took Education courses in college.  This is why it is to the advantage of Southridge to develop many teacher-trainers.

The teacher-trainers themselves have to be trained.  The objectives of teacher-training.  There is an importance difference: the teacher-trainer can watch his training in action; the senior tutor cannot.  Because of this is find our current strategy for tutor-training unsatisfactory. I don’t know exactly how tutor-trainer should go about their work.  We would also have identify the objective of tutor-training. A manual for the tutor is even more urgently needed.  The tutor should reflect often on the contents of that manual.

At present, we continue to have a seminar for tutors every summer.  I think that is right.  (I wouldn’t think so for teachers.)  We begun using some methods for tutor-training (discussions, commentaries on books) during the seminar held in 1990 that, I think, we should refine and continue to use.  We should discover other, similar methods.  We have tried lectures for many years, and they aren’t very effective.

The new program for developing virtues will demand formation programs for teachers and parents.  It will also means training tutors in new skills.

Teacher trainers need to trained, much more so do we need to train tutor-trainers.  In default of anyone who can do this (because there is literally no one) I think the few senior tutors should meet, discuss what the tutor-trainer has to do, and come up with a tutor-trainer’s manual.

Tutors need to be taught how to develop their tutees in the goal of education.

I thought our quantification of the teacher’s and the tutor’s work three year ago to have been another revolutionary development in Southridge.  Previous to that, complaints from teachers and officers about overwork were rife. These complaints were also frequently the reason given for much work being neglected or poorly done.  Thus, the elimination of overwork was necessary for us to be able to demand quality work. The week before I left this year, however, I was chagrinned to find out that (this was at least my impression and I would be happy to know I was mistaken) efforts to keep teachers’ work down to acceptable levels has been half-hearted and that some officers themselves have been silence about their overwork.  This is a grave mistake. The limits to the teachers’ work should be scrupulously followed, even by officers.

The limits placed on the number of hours teachers are is expected to work should be scrutinized.  I fear we may be giving new teachers more time than they need.  The time needed by the class adviser and the school officer to do their respective work needs to be looked into as well.

On the Educational Program

The present grade school academic program is on the last year of its experimental stage.  It was, If I am not mistaken, first implemented in 1987.  Although much more complicated than the previous one, I find it more realistic that is, students have a better chance to learn well under this program than under the previous one.  (It is much more meticulous about the mastery of specific skills.)  It is Adler’s Paideia Proposal, but is not identical to it.  I think the answer to many questions about it may be found in the two books which followed the Paideia Proposal.  The  “Paideia Bulletin” could also answer questions.  The last meeting I had with the Academic Council showed that there were many points academic directors were unclear about.  If the academic director despair of making sense of the program, they can always go back to the one the school used to follow.

As I said earlier, I am dissatisfied with the present high school academic program only because I don’t think it attempts to systematically teach students how to think.  Theodore Sizer’s book should prove a great help in improving it. 

Regarding the auxiliary programs, I would say the following.  I am afraid the talks on virtues are not very effective, that’s students do not pay too much attention to them, that students are getting accustomed to giving little importance to the talks.  Id o not mean that they despise or belittle what is said, but rather that they habitually regard the talk as a speech from a Polonius, to be much admired but not acted upon.  It is important to give the speaker feedback, to tell him that his talk is boring or full of clichés or too abstract or too vogue, lacking in examples or anecdotes or fire.

 

On the Academic Council

The Academic Council has served the school wee, even very well.  A number of its functions have really been functions of the first officer.  These functions cease whenever there is a first officer.  I have mentioned to the present officer in charge of academics that the main function of the Academic Council is to formulate policies affecting academics.  I think that it should, in fact, perform the functions as well of the Technical Committee PAREF was thinking of forming four years ago while no such committee exists.

 I don’t see anything wrong in the Department Heads eventually sitting in the Academic Council.  I don’t see anything, wrong either in the Department Heads not sitting in the Academic Council and acting as consultants of the first officer.  It is also possible for the Academic Council to be formed of the High School Department Heads and Grade School Academic Directors.  The latter would be, in my opinion, the most important academic officers in the complete school.  And I do not see anything wrong either in the Academic Council being eventually composed of only five persons appointed by the Management Staff, who may be anyone they think is especially competent in academic matters, whether or not an officer.

On Teachers

            Present hiring procedures are in my opinion good.

            I will describe briefly the evaluation procedures Dr. Torralba and I used to follow and the reason why we abandoned some of them.  The Management Staff used to evaluate each and every teacher.  We stopped doing this when we could no longer observe every teacher.  We used to give more weight to the evaluation of the Management Staff member who had actually observed the teacher.  In fact, I do not see why someone who never observed a teacher should evaluate him at all.  We used three criteria for evaluation: teaching, classroom management, and the teacher’s grasp of the spirit of the school as shown in his behavior; there may have been a fourth criterion which was his professionalism.  At first, we gave weights to each of these criteria.  We soon realized, however, that the first far outweighed the others, that is, if the teacher was a bad teacher, good ratings in the other criteria were useless.  The same thing was true, though to a lesser degree, of the criterion of classroom management.  We soon gave up the idea of weights and tried evaluating “in sequence”: first, the teaching abilities; second, classroom management abilities; and so on.  We tried to identify what constituted teaching abilities, planning to give weights to each of the constituents.  We realized a detailed list of what constitutes good teaching was impractical: the list was too long.  A short list posed the same problems we encountered earlier regarding weights.  A poor performance in any major aspect of teaching far outweighed a good performance in any major aspect of teaching far outweighed a good performance in other major aspects.  We then started to distinguish two questions in evaluation: first, did we want to retain the teacher; and second, if so, what sort of teacher was he (fair, good, very good).  The point is that we found it quite difficult to quantify the evaluation of teachers, while on the other hand, we could often give an evaluation on the spot: a poor teacher and a very good one were obvious; the difference between a fair teacher and a good one was also often obvious; disagreements in evaluation were threshed out in discussion.  In time, the evaluation of teachers passed on to those who observed him:  seven years ago, the head teacher; now, the academic director.  At first, each evaluation was reviewed collegially.  Once the faculty had grown to fifty members, we saw this was impractical.  We gave up the idea of evaluation by weighted criteria for evaluation by “total effect.”  Assuming that indeed the qualities of a teacher as teacher were obvious.

            I find current practices in evaluation on the whole good.  I think the changes proposed by Dr. Jose Sandejas (incorporating comments from other officers than the academic director) good, as it reminds the teacher that his concerns are not limited to teacher.  The suggestion has been made to specify the criteria for teacher evaluation and assign weights to them.  Form the above I think it should be obvious why I don’t agree with this.  On the other hand, with the increased frequency with which academic directors observe teachers, I find they have and easier time judging a teacher to be poor of good.  When in doubt, they can always consult the first officer, who should, on his part, make sure that academic directors are neither lax nor overly strict.

            I would suggest that newly appointed officers be evaluated quarterly in their first two years, less often than that only exceptionally.  As I mentioned earlier, I think the first three officers should evaluate one another and submit their evaluations to the President of PAREF.  It is the latter who should then make final evaluations and communicate this to the three officers.  Each may, of course, question the evaluations of the other two, but only through the PAREF President who should never reveal which officer said what.

On Salaries

            My objection to the changes made in the pay scale are known.

            Following my description of officers, I would suggest the following ranks for the pay scale:

I.                    the first three officers (today the ED and the ADAS)

II.                 the officer in charge of financer (the Business Manager),  the delegates of the head of the school (the Principal and Vice-Principal)

III.               the officer in charge of administration (the Executive Secretary), the chaplain, the delegates of the first officer (the academic directors and the department heads)

IV.              the delegates of the second officer (the senior tutors), non-academic department heads, the Director of Students

On Admission Standards

            I feel our admission standards are good.  The manner of communicating results should be looked into.

On Structure

            The appointment of and officer in 1988 who would take the minutes of Management Staff meetings and follow up pending matters was revolutionary in Southridge history.  Much more can be done through this person’s position, e.g., the perpetual calendar and culling the minutes of Management Staff meetings for policies and precedents.

On Art Education

            The one gaping hole in Southridge education is education in the arts.  The situation of the latter at present is limited to music and is precarious.  In the past, I had not done much in this area only because I had planned to act in the future—once the problems of structure, training, and educational programs were solved.  Now is the time to plan art education seriously.  As I said in the introduction to these notes, there is much that may be learned from the arts.  I think students should be taught the appreciation of the arts—something not done in many schools, but which, from the point of view of the education of the mind, is much more important than education in artistic creation or performance.

            And, yes, the school should have, as soon as it can, an art club, a glee club, a drama club, a band or rondalla, and a literary journal.  The arts are the only area in which Filipinos have achieved any international renown so far.  (We are nobodies in sports, the sciences, philosophy, theology, or policies.)

 

The Future

            The maximum number of students Southridge is intended to have is somewhere between 1000 and 2000.  At present, the school has some 620 students.  The doubling of this number would mean changes in organization.  Regarding this, the most important question is, “Will Southridge be one school or two?”

            This question does not mean two schools in the sense of a grade school and a high school: the official documents of Southridge already make reference to that division.  What the question means is, “Will Southridge have two governing bodies, one for the grade school, another for the high school?”  At present; Southridge has only one governing body.  The question means, “Will Southridge ever have two Management Staffs?”

            I am inclined to think it is impractical to have two Management Staffs for a simple reason:  the two schools share the same facilities and the same non-teaching personnel.  To have two sets of third, fourth, and fifth officers, i.e., the officers in charge of order would pose problems of coordination.  Is there any disadvantage to having just one first officer and one second officer for both high school and grade school?  None.  In fact, with one person in charge of teachers and one person in charge of tutors, we make sure of consistency between the grade school and high school.  The size of the school, however, demands its division into administrative units.  The reason for this is that an administrative officer can handle only so many disciplinary cases and cases of boys repeating the year.  (It is these cases that have occupied most of the time of the head of the school.)  These cases start multiplying in Grade 6 and continue doing so till 4th Year.

            It is possible to divide the school according to academic modules or according to the official division of Philippine schools (grade school and high school, and within the former, primary school and intermediate school).  Personally, I would opt for the first.  Parents, however, could get confused, as they

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            It has been the practice in Southridge from the very start that the head of the school and not the first officer should be the officer parents of failing students talk to.  There is no reason wh6y it should not be the first officer.  I welcomed the practice; however, because it left me time to work on the many concerns of the first officer.  Dr. Torralba, on the other hand, saw the conferences with parents as part of his job as head of the school.

tend to think of their children as being in grade school or high school and one module (Module C) straddles grade school and high school.  Thus, it is probably more practical to divide the school into a grade school and intermediate school.  The head of an administrative unit in Southridge was originally called the Head Teacher.  At present, the two administrative units that compose the school are headed by the Principal and Vice-Principal.

            The title of Principal may give the impression that the officer that bears this title is the head of the school.  He is not.  He is the head only of his administrative unit.  Why give him the title of Principal?  There are three reasons.  The first is that he functions as the principal would in his administrative unit.  (The same thing is true of the Vice-Principal.)  We have always told Head Teachers, teachers, and parents that the Head Teacher was the Principal of his administrative unit.  The second reason is that I had wanted the parents to see the Principal and not me for ordinary matters when I was ED.  I wanted to spend most of my time on administrative matters.  I was then busy reorganizing the school and training officers.  The third reason is that I thought it would allow the school to have a legal head and actual head.  The reason I say this is that the legal head of the school should be someone with Education units to his name.  I was afraid that the Board would not always be able to find such a person.  Historically, up to 1988, the only Management Staff member, aside from Dr. Torralba, with Education units was Mr. Leon Gonzales who left the school in 1981.  giving the head of an administrative unit the title of Principal could allow the Board to appoint someone without Education units as head of the school, while we made sure that the head of the administrative unit bearing the title of Principal had the required Education units.  Of course, this posed the problem of the title of the actual head of the school.  This was solved by giving that officer the title of Executive Director.  I was emboldened in proposing two heads for Southridge by the example of Gaztelueta: in that school, the legal head of the school is the Director Tecnico, the equivalent of the first officer, but the actual head is the Director.  The fourth reason for giving the head of an administrative unit the title of Principal is that we had always conceived of Southridge as eventually having a High School Principal and Grade School Headmaster under an overall head.  The overall head, following Philippine practice, should be called the President.  At present, however, he is called the Executive Director.

            The last reason is probably the best.  It needs an important qualification:  Southridge Grade School and Southridge High School are not independent schools, but two administrative units of one single school.  Of course, it is always possible to give the title of Principal to the Executive Director and regard him legally as the Principal of both the Grade School and High School.  The heads of the administrative units could be called Head Teachers, as they are in fact called in Gaztelueta.

            School year 1990-91 was important because it brought out problems of coordination between the delegates of the first three officers.  (The Academic Directors are delegates of the first officer, the Senior Tutors of the second, and the Principal and Vice-Principal of the third.)  Coordination should have been solved at the level of the Management Staff, but was not, probably because the coordination involved matters of policy implementation which are not normally taken up in Management Staff meetings.  Thus, this school year a council was organized in each of the administrative units consisting of the academic directors and the senior tutor in charge of the teachers and tutors of the administrative unit, with the head of the administrative unit as chairman.  What difference is there between these councils and the Management Staff?  The work of  these councils is limited to policy implementation.

            Should the heads of the administrative units sit in the Management Staff?  At present, the Principal sits in the Management Staff.  The reason for this was to have five Management Staff members in 1989.  The reason for his inclusion therefore was extraordinary.  I would say that as soon as the term of the present Principal is up, the Principal should no longer be on the Management Staff.  The Executive Director and the heads of administrative units, however, should form their own committee

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            I do not know if this, in fact, can be done legally.

            Like their superior officers, the academic directors, senior tutor, and Principal are all equals.

            In May, 1989, it looked as though we would have only four Management Staff members: the Executive Director, Business Manager, Executive Secretary, and Chaplain.  With only four members, it didn’t look as though collegiality could be practiced well.  Thus, I proposed the inclusion of the Principal in the Management Staff.  At that time, I had also wanted to have Mr. Severino Estrera on the Management Staff, but did not know whether he would accept the position of ADAS (he did not) or whether the Board would approve his appointment.  I also proposed that Management Staff be composed of persons appointed specifically to it, not ex officiis.  This proposal was rejected.

            If the heads of administrative units were to sit in the Management Staff, then one area of the school (order) would have more than one representative in the Management Staff.  I feel this is unfair, especially when something is to be voted on.  If it should ever seem practical for them to be involved in deliberations.  I would suggest they be included in deliberations but not in votation.

that should set regularly to insure consistency in policies on order in the school.

 

On the Organization of the Academic Department

            At present, the teachers of the school are organized under four academic directors. The teachers under each academic director teach boys of the same age range.  Eventually, department heads should also be appointed who would be the heads department heads should also be appointed who would be the heads of teachers insofar as teachers teach specific subjects.

            I feel department heads in high school are more urgently needed than in grade school.  In grade school, the relative simplicity of the subject matter means the academic director is more needed than the department head, since the academic director make sure one is communicating with the children.  In high school, the subject matter is complicated, necessitating its careful study and dissection into learning units.  Instead of department heads in grade school, subjects area consultants may be sufficient.  (By subject area is meant a group of subjects, e.g.,  An argument for having department heads in grade school is that department heads insure consistency and continuity through Modules A, B, and C.

 

On School Wide Activities

            With a school of 1100 students, we may have to divide students into grade school and high school for certain activities.  I cannot imagine all the parents and their guests watching Christmas play.  Fathers’ Day would be a mess, and the number of fathers and students actually playing would be a small proportion of the fathers and sons in the school.  Awarding ceremonies on Foundation Day could still take place in the same amount of time, but the venue would be a problem.  We would have the same problem with Masses for the whole school.  The location of the Grade School Principal’s birthday celebration may also become a problem.  I think that we have, in face, already begun to feel the problems of space and organization in some of these activities.  The solutions to them should be thought of now.

 

On Alumni

            They will support Southridge in the future.  Teachers and tutors should come from them.  Their children should be our future students.  We should cultivate their loyalty now, especially of those among them who are now professionals.

 

Southridge in Its Cultural Context

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            Multiple bosses again:  We can’t avoid having them in a school.

            I am on record as saying that the task of Southridge is family formation.  That statement does not mean that the goals of Southridge are not the goals of education.  The statement takes those goals.  I believe I made that statement keeping in mind what’s going on in the world today.

            A school, of course, exists in a definite time and place, and while its goals are timeless, it should consider helping society solve the concrete problems it faces in the course of time.  This duty arises from its being part of society.  Is it not making a very imp0ortant contribution to society merely by doing its job?  It does, but if, over and above this, it could help solve specific ills plaguing society, then so much the better.  The underlined words are important.  It would be a mistake if the school were to concentrate on solving social problems of the moment.  (Some people think this is education.)  it would also be a mistake to teach the students without paying heed to the culture in which they live.  (We cannot teach English, for example, without keeping in mind that the youth today are speaking English less and less.)  Contemporary culture influences what we emphasize in the education we offer.  Obviously, this emphasis changes as the culture changes.

            With contemporary culture in mind; I think it is obvious why Southridge should emphasize family formation.  It should also be obvious why Southridge should continue to take care of its standards of English and of its teaching of Religion, Philosophy, and the humanistic subjects.

            Earlier I had mentioned that when we began Southridge the Management Staff was aware of launching several revolutions in Philippine education.  The innovations we initiated twelve years ago are still revolutionary.  We should not lose sight of this, as it helps us appreciate more deeply what we are doing in Southridge and can help us to persevere when we feel discouraged.  I have always tried to get teachers to view Southridge in the perspective of Philippine history, Philippine culture, Philippine society, and contemporary culture.  In that perspective, what we are trying to do in Southridge is amazing.  We have to get parents to share that amazement.  I gave a parent a copy of an essay I wrote on Philippine history, and the next time we met, he told me he understood better what we were trying to do in the school:  we are trying to produce no less than a civilized human being, an endangered species nowadays.  The insight excited him and he insisted we should not spare any effort to share it with parents.

            In the night school, the good Southridge is doing Philippine society comes out more clearly.  I do not think there is any other school in the Philippines offering children from the lower middle and lower classes an education that can match what we offer them.  And in Tagalog!  The language of the educated Filipino of the future!

            Our character formation program is revolutionary.

            Our obedience to the Church Magisterium is revolutionary.

            The lay spirituality we follow is revolutionary, especially in Philippine society giver our history.

            We are, at the moment, unusual for reserving “education to the educators; everything else to those competent in them.”

            Our standards in English and our care for the humanistic subjects are exceptional in the Philippines.  In fact, our pedagogical methods in Composition and Literature, Reading and Writing, are revolutionary.

            We are probably unique among Philippine schools for having wisdom as our main goal, and in the context of contemporary civilization, this is revolutionary.

            We are probably the only school in the country that insists so much that its teachers understand the goals of education.

            We may be the only school deliberately including philosophy in our curriculum.

            Our program for developing virtue, if its assumptions are right, may be very revolutionary.

            We may be the only school in the Philippine which has the development of thinking skills as an objective of high school education.

            We may likewise be the only school in the country with love of reality as a goal of grade school education.

            The academic program we follow in grade school is revolutionary.

            Our parent seminars are revolutionary.

            The care we take to diagnose failing students is revolutionary

            Our insistence on the dignity of the teacher is unusual.

            The attention and work we put into teacher-training is unusual.

            The tutorial system is revolutionary!

            The parent-tutor conferences on virtue are revolutionary.

            The mere fact that we exhort students to virtue and pronounce the word virtue publicly is today revolutionary in schools!

            We are most unusual for including the students’ parents in the academic community and for conceiving of the academic community as a family.

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            Or one of them, the others being all Philippine languages as well.  English is best as a second language.  It is already functionally that at best among the majority of educated Filipinos.