Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Joining the big league

               When I received word from my colleague, Ms. Heidi Padua, asking if I were willing to be a part of LASSO (Lasallian Schools Supervision Organization), I just gave her a casual nod and a perfunctory wink, as I am wont to do thinking that was cute, but not knowing what I have gotten myself into, again.  Then as it really sank in, I said to myself, why not? I can squeeze one more assignment now that I am a little lax with my time.  This was not possible several years ago.  Not only was I a teacher and consequently an administrator, a weekend artist who has to paint and write if only for my own fulfillment, but most of all,  I am also a husband and a father to four growing teenagers with raging hormones. My children have all graduated now and have joined the work force as working class heroes finding their own niche.  So, yes, I do have some extra time.  It was then that I received a call from no less than the Luzon Superintendent verifying from me if I did give my nod. He gave me the name of the school I was to supervise and the name San Francisco stuck in my head.  “California? I was hoping you’d say USA,” I jested. 
                I attended the first Supervisor’s meeting on July 16, wearing an enthusiastic smile with my school uniform. Not knowing what to expect, I eagerly listened to what transpired during the meeting, making sense of what was going on and amazed that I was a part of that august body.   
                I had several qualms during my first visit at Nasugbu.  Nobody knew me from Adam as much as I did not know anyone from there.  All I knew was that the people running the school were a nun and a priest.  A nun for heaven’s sake!  I have grown up with them during grammar school.  I have good memories of them but perceiving them as the “authorities.” That somehow made me feel a tad uncomfortable knowing that I should always be at my best behavior or “I will hear from the Mother Superior!” 
                So, how does one start? Neither had there been an official endorsement coming from LASSO nor was there a turnover ceremony, albeit unceremonious but quite reassuring nonetheless.  So, armed with nothing but again what I perceive to be a charming smile and hopefully a pleasing personality, I introduced myself as the one replacing the former supervisor.  No, I was not asked for my credentials as I feared I would be.  Instead, I was welcomed wholeheartedly and pleasantly, I might add, by the people in charge.  We talked like comrades-in-arms who have not seen each other for a long time.  Smile turned to laughter and I was warming up.  I nonchalantly interviewed them, asked them what transpired during the month and what their plans were for the coming weeks.  We had lunch and a few hours thereafter, I was on my way with pasalubong in tow.  It was then that I knew, this endeavour will be pleasurable and I will be looking forward to my monthly visits.
                The school is very simple, rural and, to a point, nondescript to someone who looks for the intricate operations of a big school.    It does not know the hassles of bureaucracy that sometimes even stands in the way of progress.  It is run like how a mother runs her home.  She asks her children to help clean the furniture, sweep the floor, feed the cat and other mundane chores while she attends to the more important matters.  The school may be small for now but it has the entire community under its wings.  Parents help care for the school as much as the personnel do, for after all, it is where their children learn the intricacies of life.  It is quiet, its air fresh, surrounded by billowing clouds and vast land that  hides in fear from neither the sun nor moon.  Looking at the surroundings and the people with their unabashed, sincere smiles, I know that I am home.