The Jungle Story
These are blogs I wrote way back in 2009 and posted in another website. These ones specifically chronicle my experiences when I was working at a Catholic institution.
I owe a lot from that school and the Congregation that operate it. I would say that I spent my best years as an educator in that school. That organization helped me shaped my philosophy as a teacher and as a school administrator. Whatever I learned there still inform the decisions I make as an educator today. It’s one of the best schools, if not the best one, in Bulacan, Philippines.
There is only one thing I regret when I was there. When it was time for the Congregation to re-assign their leaders (they do so every three years), we were unlucky to be given a leader that we didn’t deserve. That’s my opinion.
At that time I did not expect to meet a school administrator whose leadership style and interpersonal skills are plain awful and downright unacceptable. It was the least I would expect from an educational leader and a “religious.” The unspeakable experiences I had with that leader consequently led me to decide to leave the institution. In the process I gave up a chance of receiving a decent amount of money in terms of benefits from the school’s pension plan. All that I needed then to do was to bear another school year with her so I could complete the required 10 years for me to qualify to get that amount. But it wasn’t worth it.
Peace of mind is a priceless commodity… almost a rare item. No amount of money can buy it. Since that “religious” took the reins of leadership of the institution, I felt like I stopped growing personally and professionally. I kept criticizing her and the policies of the school which I know is not a healthy thing to do. I was no longer having fun at work. So, I decided to leave. My other reason for leaving is – it’s against my dignity as a person to say negative things about my employers but continuously work for them and accept their money. It doesn’t make sense.
My wife disagreed vehemently with that decision. She is a practical woman. I was head of the Education department, the pay is more than enough for us to meet both ends and enjoy some of the luxuries of life, and the workplace was just a 20-minute drive from home. She tried to convince me stay for even just one more year for the pension benefits. But I said no. There’s one thing more important than money – DIGNITY.
So, going back to what I said several paragraphs back… the only one thing I regret when I worked with the institution.
That regret is the subject of this collection of blogs that ran from 2009 to 2011.
Why do I consider it a regret?
It is not because the school administrator assigned to us was the embodiment of what a leader should not be. It was my fault. I expected nothing but the best from her because I got used to the excellence and benevolence of her predecessor who brought out the best in me. When her predecessor left and she took over, things changed… not for the better. To cut the story short, she succeeded in bringing out the worst in me. That is what I regret. I came to a realization that I don’t deserve to be a Catholic educator. That realization made easier my decision to leave the institution that was my other home for nine years.
So here’s the series of those blogs. It’s just unfortunate that (probably) the ones who could really understand these blogs (and could relate to them) are the ones I worked with in that institution during those times. But I hope you would read on.
THE JUNGLE STORY
There was once a hallowed forest populated by animals (of course!). The leaves of tall trees were so thick that the golden rays of the sun could hardly filter down. Shrubs and grasses abound effectively hiding the light alluvial soil. Life was abundant in the hallowed forest. Different animals from different species abound.
The forest was ruled by specially-trained and and carefully-bred animals belonging to the “veiled clan.” Only those who belong to the clan would have a chance to lead a forest that belongs to their clan. The members of the “veiled clan” take turns in controlling several forests scattered in the face of the earth.
The animals there worked so hard to make that forest hallowed as it should be and for almost a century that the forest existed in peace, harmony and prosperity. It maintained its pristine beauty through the efforts of the animals and their benevolent leaders from the veiled clan.
Those years were the Golden Age of the forest. But the forest was not meant to stay in the pinnacle of success. Just like different civilizations on earth, it entered into its own Dark Age. It happened when the “veiled clan” decided to bring in the hippopotamus as the new leader of the hollowed forest.
This series of blog-story begins with the coming of the hippopotamus.