|30 A School Is A Home
Or writing school essays such as
A SCHOOL IS A HOME
(The Philosophy of School)
A school is a home, a larger
home, a greater home : its basic structure consists of a mother, a father and the child.
Its primary goal is the preservation and growth of individual and society by way of
imparting knowledge in a structured learning process. To achieve this effectively, it
needs to inculcate into its culture a sense of belongingness and the permanence of such
values as faith, trust, friendship, partnership, sincerity, appreciation, cooperation, in
much the same way that a home should offer the security and constancy necessary for the
sound development of a childs basic character.
As in a home, the health of
the school is sustained by the elements of love and thoughtfulness, caring and
responsibility, respect and understanding, which must be mutually shared by each member
toward the other. No pushing, no grabbing, no disregarding. While every one - the mother,
father and child - will necessarily have its own role to play, everybody, in varying
degrees, must feel responsible for taking care and upholding the general well-being of the
family, knowing full well that the lack of any of these virtues in the soul or bearing of
a family member renders the family and the home less than healthy. The need for health
becomes all the more vital in an academic institution, considering that we are in the
business of developing and molding minds and hearts of the credulous and the innocent. Any
wrong or careless role-modeling on the part of the father or the mother is bound to sow
really-wild oats and fateful consequences that will consume the earth.
The parents of the school,
who must pay for the upkeep of the school, can be likened to the father of the home. Thus,
while the father must make sure that the family is properly provided for with clothing and
shelter and food, he will also expect that the wife and children accord him the respect,
the gratitude, the services and importance due to him. In the comfort of his home after
work hours, he can feel satisfied and rewarded for his days hard work and he can
strengthen his resolve to do better tomorrow; and not otherwise just drop down, an
exhausted couch potato feeling as if he had just been milked dry like the proverbial cow
in the field.
The mother is entrusted
with much of the health and wealth of the home, and as such, her responsibility and role
can never be emphasized enough. The mother, the teacher, the bosom, harbors inside her all
the keys to the doors and windows and crevices of a home. As the traditional keeper of the
house, she must know how to use all those keys properly. Otherwise doors and windows can
remain locked, rooms inaccessible, and a home can be crippled and can easily deteriorate
this way. The lady of the house who preoccupies herself with her own image in the mirror
does not make a home; neither can a self-centered, selfish, inconsiderate teacher claim to
be able to function effectively : remember how the young Snow White almost did not live
happily ever after.
For this reason, the
highest standard and the strictest level of dissection is brought to bear on the teacher.
There is every truth to
the saying that teaching is a selfless and noble profession. It is noble, not because it
is a job suited only for the nobility, but because it requires gentleness, propriety, and
other qualities of nobility to serve as the role model for the children of the school. It
requires level-headed thinking and liberal-mindedness that one cannot expect from the
stubborn, the frantic, the uncouth. Teaching is selfless because it calls upon the teacher
to offer a lot of patience, painstaking attention, the ability to be in the shoes of the
other person, and other ego-effacing capabilities, all in the course of converting
children from being restive and mindless to being refined and mindful.
Teaching, for the
dedicated, becomes a motherhood with a 24-hour work day. A teacher or mother who does not
realize this, or who is not prepared to take upon this selflessness and this nobility
becomes less than a teacher, less than a mother. She simply becomes an instrument by which
education or motherhood is consummated, no more better than the video display monitor or
the test tube.
Among the sectors of the
school, the children are the focal point about why a school is there in the first place.
Take out the children and you take out the need for the moral partnership between the
parents and the teachers, no compelling reason to make a marriage work out. It is for the
child that a home must exist, a school must flourish. A child can be the most blessed or
the most wretched in this setup, depending on how well the moral partners carry out their
A failing in one partner
will be the loss of the child, and for this reason, one partner cannot afford to remain
indifferent to the other partners shortcoming. A family can thus justify its modest
existence even without the luxury of a car or a microwave oven, as long as it assures
itself of a righteous atmosphere for the upbringing of the children, an atmosphere which
encompasses all the shades between doing a good deed and righting a wrong.
As with raising a family,
a school gropes around in a learning process. Academicians, of course, are expected to be
better at this trade because they have been formally trained, unlike the young mother. As
such, higher degrees of expectation and performance evaluation are applied in measuring
the success of a school.
The learning process
however is unavoidably a trial and error experience for everybody. Mistakes are but
natural, and the acceptance and recognition of such mistakes are the next best logical
thing to avoiding them. It is in this recognition and acceptance that the learning process
evolves from a pencil scrawl to a refined essay, that an error is addressed and corrected.
One shoves the dirt under the rug and the cleaning process becomes corrupted; one refuses
to recognize an error and one falls into a trap of rigidness and decay, the complete
anti-thesis of a learning process.
Parents, teachers and
children must take care to nourish this learning process in the school. A harmonious
relationship of father, mother and child which encourages the flourishing of the learning
process as against the acerbity and attrition of a broken family, is like fresh green leaf
compared to a brittle dry one, like a pliant bamboo compared to a thorny cactus. Each of
these - the green leaf, the dried leaf, the bamboo and the cactus - will of course have
its own purposes, its own uses, but some of these are more pleasant than the others.
A school that is a greater
home for the children must choose to be pleasant, while being aware that it cannot afford
to be unpleasant. Otherwise, it can only be less than a school.