“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.” -- Lao Tzu
One of the things I could think of the great skills of men is their ability to manage an institution and its people. The management of school with 30 to 60-ish different teachers with different personalities and traits seems to be one of the challenging and difficult responsibilities in producing great teachers to be looked up to by students and their parents. Someone with the capacity to handle the basics of school management to run a public learning institution is a great one but what is greater is someone who can inspire and penetrate to the hearts of his subordinates. I am writing this piece not to tackle about the ideas and views on leadership and management but to express my gratitude to someone whom I think is deserving of my very first semi-biography, a piece of appreciation.
I am really not sure but, in my observation, teachers are overwhelmed by praises and recognition whenever they receive an award or their smartest pupils win in a contest. Am I against it? Definitely not! In fact, I am one of those who congratulate and celebrate the victories and achievements of my fellow teachers. But how many of us congratulate the figure behind all these successes? In one of the instances, have you tried to congratulate the school head for a teacher’s success? ‘’Great leaders produce great members.’’ Is it not? I am not saying these things to tap anyone’s conscience but to make a realization that there is a figure behind the teachers’ successes who gives the opportunity and reposes trust and confidence on us.
I have been in two public schools as a teacher for four years now, a miniscule experience if I compare it with the seasoned teachers who have been with Sir Lloyd Tulaylay for a decade or two. A four-year teaching experience in two schools in San Juan City under the watch of one principal, but this very short period of time is more than enough for me to tell others a hundred stories about the man whom I owe things which are not unknown to some. In July 2017, I became a public-school teacher. ‘’You are to report to the school where you are designated.” This voice from San Juan Division Office personnel retained in my memory. With the very least teaching experience from a private school, I ranked fourth in the school ranking. On the very day I received the designation letter, I walked alone with excitement heading to Salapan Elementary School (SES) to report to its principal. I was in my blue long-sleeve, ready to meet my new boss. I was expecting an unapproachable-looking principal sitting on a comfortable chair, leaning on an elegant table in a cold and tedious office, talking in authoritative manner. ‘’Sir Lloyd is not here,’’ said by the stout lady in the office when I inquired. I had waited for several minutes and met Sir Tulaylay in stairways in unexpected manner. I was about to sit to rest but someone was coming down. As I looked up, I saw a tall man in a white polo barong wearing his big ID with a strap. An unexpected meeting, different from what I expected. My worries were suddenly gone because he was so approachable.
‘’Buti na lang at dumating ka… kailangan namin ng teacher ngayon nagdo-double period na isa naming teacher.’’ This is what I remember when I was on the office talking to him. He told me things about the school and as I was listening to him, something made me worried because that year I was on the second semester of my first year in my law school studies. ‘’Baka ilagay ako sa pang-hapon,’’ I told myself. I was hesitant to ask a favor because in my mind, I expected a straightforward answer ‘’Kabago-bago mo! Ano pipiliin mo, trabaho o pag aaral mo?’’ ‘’Baka ganun ang isagot’’ I told myself. It really made me worried. I was on the verge of dilemma on choosing my dream or my bread and butter. In my mind, if I would not tell him, he would not know, so I decided to ask him a favor. ‘’Sir, nag-aaral po kasi ako, Pwede nyo po ba ‘ko ilagay sa pang-umaga?’’ I asked. I remember he answered, ‘’ Panghapon ang kailangan na teacher.’’ I was so nervous that time I thought I would give up my studies. ‘’Anong pinag-aaralan mo?Masters?’’ ‘’No, sir… undergrad sir.’’ I replied. ‘’Engineering?’’ He asked again. But I was reluctant to tell him that I was studying law. ‘’Sabihin mo,’’ he uttered. ‘’Sir, law po.’’ I answered in a low voice. ‘’ So, nagte-take ka ng law?Sige, tingnan natin ano magagawa ko’’ he said. I was relieved that time. ‘’Baka pabayaan mo ang pagtuturo mo.’’ He followed up. “No sir, Teaching is my bread and butter. Without it, I would not be taking this course.’’ I responded. On the first day of my teaching, he asked me to handle a morning class even though some teachers were reluctant to handle the afternoon classes. That time, I was touched and so much appreciated sir Tulaylay’s kindness to me which formed part of a significant portion in my memory timeline.
A leader with a heart…
I am a living witness to his performance as school principal of SES and San Juan ES (SJES) and no one can deny that he is an outstanding principal evidenced by schools’ achievements in the last four years. However, I am not going to talk about all these things for what I want to tell you is him being a principal to his teachers. What people say about him are all good: he is dedicated to his service, a hard worker, an energetic principal, excellent public servant, among others, but the things I can say about him are different. I see him as a leader with the heart. I’m not lying when I say it. Sir Tulaylay can attest that I am not ‘sipsip sa mga boss’, in fact sometimes, I was called out by him for my mistakes which needed professional confrontation. Sir Tulaylay is the kind of person who can scold you for your mistakes and praise you for your good works at the same time. All the conversations we had ended up with lessons and with a slight joke, ‘’Oh si Cody ilan taon na hindi nyo pa ba susundan?’’ He is not easy to get mad but sometime, like most of us, he is emotional when things get more serious. He is mad when he is mad and when he is happy, he makes fun to relieve the stress of the teachers. To me, he is a strict principal but a good friend of teachers. He always understands you like a father every time you tell him your situation. That is what he is. He cried when he knew that he would be transferred to the biggest school, from SES to SJES. I felt his sincerity to his great services he rendered to the school and to teachers. For the second time, I became a witness to his admirable leadership as I got transferred to SJES a month after.
A problem solver and great motivator…
Apparently, Sir Tulaylay is a grandmaster when it comes to resolution of problems within the school affairs. He listens and likes to assess the situation quickly, determine the necessary resolution, and judge it with caution. He recognizes what needs to be done and what is fair. When one of the grade leaders complained about her members, she told him her struggles and troubles being a team leader of her grade level. Sir Tulaylay remained composed yet focused on the problems which needed a good judgment. He was attentively listening to her grievances and showed her that he understands her predicament. The conversation ended up with a resolution between the grade leader and teachers and the situation came back to normal. He would positively encourage you to keep up as he’d say, “You are doing great and excellent works for the learners.” This is a good character of a leader. In fact, teachers may be less effective when tough criticism is always given without encouragement. But Sir Tulaylay would bombard you with all the good things and encouragements to uplift your self-esteem and confidence and that makes SJES teachers excellent in their own ways. He is two years older than I am. I thought he was joking when he told me his age when we were in SES, not because of his receding hairlines but because he became the father of teachers who are almost twice his age. What an admirable character being a father figure of an institution.
A leader we look up to…
Whenever I enter the principal office, I will peek at the door or look quickly in a furtive manner where his table is located. If his face frowns, I would think twice if I am going to enter or not but I always choose the former. ‘’Oh Mark, pasok ka or Mark, nadalaw ka, pasok ka.’’ This is what his constant response. Lo and behold his frowned face would quickly turn to a bright face then, he would talk to me. We rarely talk to each other but I am always very observant whenever he speaks to us. Copying and pasting to my memory his strategies for making his relationship with teachers healthy, vigorous, and professional as well as his qualities of being a great father of SJES.
‘’Do not make me define you by your achievements and accomplishments in your school because that is expected of you as a principal. You will be defined by your relationship with your teachers and how you treat them. Better teachers mean better school.’’—Dr Malcolm S. Garma.
Sir Tulaylay holds the key to strengthening the relationship with anyone to enhance and increase the performance. He can communicate clearly to the teachers he supervises, whether verbal or through his acts, which shows that he is passionate about his work. He would always think for the teachers’ benefit, an indirect message to everyone that he cares for his teachers. I can write down all the good things he did to me and to all the teachers that made me admire him as my school head but if every one of them were written down, I suppose San Juan website would not have enough room for all the words that would be written. This feature article wishes to inspire others with this kind of leadership that connects well with the teachers like myself. With a great gratitude for being a father of SJES and on behalf of all the teachers he inspired, I would like to thank Sir Lloyd T. Tulaylay.