Well, I'm busy packing up and finalising the last bit of business at the Dormitory. On 29 June 2008 I will be flying to Heathrow, and then if the friendly officers at the British Imigration and Border Agency allows me to, I'll fly onwards to Belfast in Northern Ireland. I will be settling in a small town Banbridge and pastoring two congregations for a few years.
I have been so busy packing and making arrangements that I have not had a lot of time for reflection on my time at Helderberg. I will try to make some time to write about that shortly before I leave, or perhaps when I adjust to my new, hopefully slower paced life.
There has been many farewells. Last night the high school learners organised a fabulous programme to celebrate the fact that I am leaving and Dr. Letseli was there to take some photos. He promptly posted them on Facebook.
We got a photo of several members of the team that has done such a fabulous job of runnign the dormitory. From Left to right: Peter Webster (Resident Assistant), Simone (my wife), Myself, Mrs Isabel Louw (The fabulous new girls dorm dean), Salvador Cena and his wife Luciana (Adventist volunteer workers from Argentina who are helping out in the dorm), Pastor Eddie Appollis (Chaplain), and Dr. Letseli (Vice President for Student Services).
I want to thank the dormitory students for being so kind to my wife and patient with my daughter.
My closing thoughts were that the dormitory job taught me that a person should have a sense of humour about life. This is also a strong theme in scripture. We just should not take ourselves too seriously. When we worry, scripture says that the Lord will provide, When we think that we have arrived, Paul reminds us that this righteousness that we are so serious about is really just filthy rags. And when we think too seriously of ourselves as important people, we are reminded to have the attitude of Christ who thought nothing about becomming a servant who died on a cross. These values all set the basis for a wonderful sense of humour. I ended of with the joke of an Irish painter who was used to cutting corners. Until one day in a terrible thunder and lightning storm the Lord spoke to him and said: "Repaint! Reapaint! And thin no more!". And then Dr. Letseli took the photo.
A few weeks ago the entire RAD team and Worship Committee met at another restaurant to say good bye to us.
What is going to happen to the blog? If I find any more information that is relevant to Salisbury House I will update it. The College is busy migrating to a new website and that website will have some functionality that will allow the new dean to post relevant information there.
It's really been great to work at Helderberg. I have learned so much from the students and the staff. I am going to miss the place.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Edit: I realise that the attached images are not clearly legible, So I 'll quickly type out the main sections of the article:
Adventist education includes boarding schools (9-12 and college level) with dormitories directed by professional personnel known as "residence hall deans," a job description with complex challenges. For the dean, every day is different and unique, but there are also predictable routines. Successful deaning requires a high sense of maturity and responsibility, flexibility, commitment, and skills development. While many have found great satisfaction in deaning as a long-term career, others have become disillusioned and quickly left the profession.
Historically, the abbreviated careers of deans have been a problem. In a 1969 study, Weir found the average tenure for an academy dean of boys to be about 2.5 years, and for a dean of girls, about 1.5 years. I do not know of any recent study about tenure and attrition, but there is still a sense that deans, especially academy deans, have short careers. It is also true that many deans were hired with the expectation that they would not last long. They were worked hard and much was expected of them; but not much value was placed in pre-service or in-service training. Many have believed that "deans are born, not made"; and while there may be some truth to that, both natural abilities and training are needed. ... (Article by Donald W. Murray in "The Dean's Column" Journal of Adventist Education. October/November 2007.
This is a perspective and the statistics might be a challenge for College administrators. It might also be important for prospective deans to keep this in mind as they plan their career. From my experience the work of a dormitory dean is an incredibly enriching work and it poses tremendous opportunities for personal formation and growth. Don't let the statistics put you off!