Leadership is a cause, not an effect

My previous entry is a preface to this. That and this were supposed to be one entry but that veered off track into something more philosophical. I was just supposed to tell you how it is now that I’m pulling double duty as Batch 2011 Adviser and AKSIS Adviser.

First off, I am enjoying what I do. My load this year is my favorite ever. I teach four SS2 sections in the morning and I’m usually done by 10am, 10:50 at the latest. The rest of the day is devoted to extracurricular activities which mostly include writing e-mails to parents, fixing schedules and reserving rooms for meetings, attending those meetings, doing committee work, and making sure that everything I’ve got running remains running. I’m off by 12:30pm every day, but most days I go home at 6pm.

I am a fireman, but with greater emphasis on making sure fires don’t happen. That doesn’t mean I can’t handle a fire when it breaks out; I just prefer seeing things unburned. Advising the batch and AKSIS are two very unique challenges that require different responses and approaches to make sure that everything remains whole.

The needs of the batch are more immediate. We are bound by only one year and it is clear whether or not we’ve done our job. There is a greater need to move quickly. Forming consensus, while important in itself, requires someone who can motivate and inspire stakeholders to get things done — that would be me.

Therefore, I had two priorities in working with the batch. First is to form an agenda, and second is to establish links with stakeholders — students, parents, teachers, school administrators — who can help us pursue that agenda. From there we’ll have to work at keeping all of them invested in the batch, and that can only happen by achieving results and nurturing the relationships that bind us. It is often said that there is a trade off between the two, but I realize that if we lose the trust of the people we work with, then anything we achieve is moot.

When the year ends, 2011 will be off to a new batch adviser. They will have new needs to address, new challenges to face. I just hope that when that happens, they can fondly look back at this year for everything they have learned. In contrast to their previous batch adviser, I see myself as a son. The previous was very much the mother who never let her children out of sight. I am the brother who would rather leave them alone. But in doing so, I will remind them of several truths: that I will always be there for you, I’ve got your back, and that if you work hard you will always have everything you want.

AKSIS is a different beast. It is my baby. Like working with the batch, there is immediacy in the club too. We need to recruit members, setup a new blog, organize Humanities Week activities, and stage a concert — all in one school year. At the end, we too can say whether we’ve done our job or not.

But what makes AKSIS a unique challenge (and a real joy) is the opportunity to create something that lasts. Thus, a cornerstone of my advisership this year is not just to tap stakeholders (which we will need for projects), but to create stakeholders. And these are none other than my very own members.

Most of my members last year were sophomores. A lot of what we wanted to do then was bound by the incredibly limited time they had available for extracurricular work. Now they are juniors. With a little more time on their hands and a clearer sense of what they can do in the club, the former time-strapped sophomores now form the bulk of my club’s leadership. Headed by a dedicated president on her last year (I have been very lucky with presidents so far), I am confident that we will be able to establish a social science club which they can truly call their own.

My priority is to take care of them. I’d like them to be in control while I provide the goals and targets we need to achieve everything we’ve set out to do. I hope that, in turn, they take care of the next generation of members they are busily recruiting right now. In a year, they will be seniors on a mission to leave their own legacy in Pisay. I pray that a proud and confident AKSIS will be one thing they leave behind.

Perhaps, it is a great and beautiful paradox that the moment I’ve achieved what I want to do with AKSIS is when I can leave it behind as well. I have to say, working with them is one of the most powerful inspirations I have in continuing what I do. I just hope that in the next two years or so, a young and idealistic teacher would come along and continue the work I do. Or better yet, that the club can endure even without one.

Every teacher will eventually become unneeded. It is our destiny and our curse. I only hope that when they no longer need me, it will be for the right reasons. And that when they find those reasons, they’ll still choose to keep me around. I have my reasons for what I do too anyway. And it is they.

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5 thoughts on “Leadership is a cause, not an effect

  1. Yes, you can. Drop by Rm 312 (that’s your room!) on Monday, 4:10. We’re having our screening there.

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