Sunday, August 10, 2014

On Record Keeping and Memory

"Registrar" is not one of the most glamorous words in the English language. Like its cousin word, "librarian," the word conjures up images of a cranky spinster who sits in an office all day, typing up grades and printing them upon request. To teachers and members of the academe, it refers to a rather high administrative position. Both interpretations imply a certain age brought about by lengthy record-keeping experience.

I was given the additional duties of a Registrar this school year, on top of my other teaching and coordinating duties. Apart from it being recognition of my advancing years (!!), it is both an honor and a huge responsibility, and I have to say that my surviving the first quarter of this school year is a testament to God's sufficiency in supplying much-needed grace!

There are some who think that Registrars are mere glorified clerks/secretaries engaged in mindless reproduction of numbers that sum up the entire life of a student in a piece of paper. I've met quite a few registrars in the past who seemed to believe so, and took no joy in their "mundane" job.

I beg to disagree, and not merely because I happen to be one of them, now.

In all past societies (except, perhaps, in this post-modern, money-centric materialistic one) it was the Record Keeper, the Keeper of Memories, who was held in the highest esteem. In our Filipino prehistoric society, it was the Teller of Stories who held that sacred place, as this was the time before we wrote down what our ancestors passed on from generation to generation.

I am now one of the Record Keepers. I am the Keeper of Memory in my small corner of earth, and it is no small thing. Each grade I input, each transcript I process, is basically the sum of an entire life writ small, compacted in one historic document that will someday be the basis of a person's acceptance (or rejection!) into a college, a path that will lead to a person's job and membership among the productive members of society we all strive to be.

And I suppose it is the same for ALL of our jobs. No matter how "small" or "inconsequential" we think we might be, we actually have a very important role to play in our community, in our office. We live for others, regardless of occupation, and in this light, no job is too small. "There are no small roles, only small actors," as theater people say.

I'd like to think that my typing skills (made considerably faster by further training in piano! Hehe) are being put to good use now. And that my role as Registrar is a natural step for a History teacher such as myself.

This very act of blogging, of adding words to an online record, is not only a way to pass idle time, to practice letting the creative juices flow. It is my way of attempting to control the flow of time in some small way, by marking it, by trying to create meaning from it. The flow of the river of life is very quick. Six years ago I was a novice teacher, and a blink of an eye later, I'm a Registrar inputting high school grades for students I taught in Grade One.

Here's to six more decades of history-making, and history-recording!

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog