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"We work with the best material in the world, which are human beings"

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Professor Juan Carlos Postigo hung the tracksuit last October, left the whistle and stopwatch stored in the drawer and closed a page of more than forty years of his life at the College San Fernando. Students and fellow students dismissed him and moved him, causing him to show the endearing person hiding under his gesture, usually serious. A few weeks later he conducts this interview, for whose main photograph he chooses the outdoor sports facilities. A declaration of intentions.

Why did you choose this location for the photo of this interview?

This place means fundamentally the most important change of the School since I knew it. A very drastic and not only physical change for the paddle tennis courts, the artificial grass soccer field and the sports center, but it also means changing the specific value that the academic institution gives to sport in the training of its students. 

Because your career in the San Fernando It is closely linked to sport ...

I entered the College for sport, handball, and from there I was assigned some physical education courses of 6th EGB

How were those early days?

Óscar Fleites, now deceased, who honored me with his friendship, calls me to see if I want to train some students who played handball. It occurs when the center of La Magdalena is changed to the current facilities. I start in October and after a few months they ask me if I can teach a couple of courses.

Why does Oscar think of you? 

Óscar Fleites had a good relationship with Rafael Méndez, 'Falo', who was a professor at Carreño Miranda. Falo trained the Handball team of the Honor Division of the Covadonga Group and I did it for the youth. Óscar asked 'Falo' if he knew someone who could train the college's handball players and 'Falo' proposed that I train them.

How was that time?

In a few years there were many people playing handball, with various teams in all categories, despite the inconveniences of that time, when you always had to train abroad. The incorporation of teachers from the School such as Juan Huerga, the late Larrea, Roberto Cuervo, Juan Luis Pardo 'Calis' and the incorporation of Antonio Oliva and Rafael Méndez, who had stopped training at the Covadonga Cultural Group and come to the School to work, is decisive. with students in the youth category. After a few years we have to find a solution for all the players who finished their youth stage in the center, and this involves creating a club in the regional category. Villa de Avilés is created, whose first president is Julio López Peláez and the directors are parents of students, fundamentally. Villa de Avilés is moving up in category and reaches the Division of Honor, which forces them to have a team in the youth category. Some players from the College San Fernando they go to the Villa because the working conditions were very different. Our students trained outdoors. I remember a year in which we started training at six in the morning for reasons of schedules, study, etc. Training outdoors, means progressing at least 50% less than those who train in a sports center. Without the reference in the youth category of good players, the rest of the lower categories lose attractiveness to the students and the handball section goes down in quantity and tends to disappear, as indeed happened. 

Tell us about your facet as a teacher.

I started working with Óscar Fleites and Francisco Doval at the BUP and EGB levels (6th, 7th and 8th). In the Department of Physical Education the only covered facility we had was what the Technology Classroom is now. We try to improve things for our students, little by little they set criteria of requirement, adequacy and qualification to help students in their physical development. It was a process that lasted many years, the great changes in education must be made from below. When I was head of the Department of Physical Education, one of my biggest goals was to get the teachers who taught a few hours of Physical Education class a week to do so every hour. There were many teachers in the department and we got to be less numerous every year, getting to have a department where the teaching staff only taught Physical Education. That took many years, because converting a teaching system to the model we intended is not easy, you have to have staff willing to give up the classroom subjects. I am remembering Álvaro Lozano Sol, who is a teacher who quits Biology classroom classes to fully integrate into the Department of Physical Education. A smaller number of people in the department allowed us to be able to agree on agreements and future goals for the Physical Education of the College. 

What other moments would you highlight in the relationship between sport and school?

An important fact for the Department of Physical Education and sports in the College was that the management opted to implement a cycle of professional training of Physical Activities. Highly qualified professionals were hired who improved the teacher's relationship with the student inside and outside the classroom. I am remembering Carlos Prendes, José Antonio Rodas, Margarita Vaquero, Mari Cruz Vaquero and many others, who in addition to teaching the contents of their subjects, related to them very closely in the classroom, hallways, cafeteria, patios and others downtown spaces. The rest of the students somehow began to see the teachers in another way and began to have similar behaviors. Thanks to this situation, we began to change what we were doing and how we were doing it. Many of the students of the training cycle trained in the School, in different sports disciplines, other much younger students, and put into practice the contents and lessons received. Consequently, in general, the level of the center's sport benefited, and much.

Did you change the way you teach?

So is. In my early years I find myself at the College with classes consisting of a Swedish gymnastics activity and free play. We were redirecting the subject to the students being able to work individually, in pairs or in teams and proposing different ways of working. By taking over Mari Cruz Vaquero, a very prepared person, much younger, who comes from Barcelona to possibly work in the best and largest tennis club in Spain, in turn gives another boost to the whole subject, agreed and based on our experiences . We decided to have less demand when it comes to reaching physical content levels and being much more rigorous in reaching high attitudinal levels in our students.

You commented earlier that at first this was not the case, among other things, because society was different then. How was it?

Students change because society changes, but also because the attitude in families and teachers changes. As an anecdote, in those years someone who did not study well was punished without sport, which generally produces two damages: not changing their attitude to the study, in addition to damaging their physical and mental development. Sport brings to people many values ​​and habits of behaviors that we use in our daily lives. It is the families themselves who turn their children into sports and ensure that academic issues do not interfere with it. The people who played sports in my time, when I was 14-15 years old, we were like weird people; Today the difference is abysmal. Seeing people in the street doing sports is something very normalized. I am remembering, in the early 80's, to leave home in tracksuit to come to the College to train a youth team at 6 in the morning and you noticed that the people who were going to work looked at you. I don't think that now nobody looks at anyone because they play sports, they see it as something very normal.

Was this social change perceived in the College?

The College made many changes from the beginning, but the most substantial came many years later. I remember a phrase that Óscar Fleites used to say, for many years at the forefront of sports at the College, when Sanfer Sports and Activities was created. M used to say that “the difference between your time and mine is that I handled pesetas and you handle millions”. If the College had not invested not only in facilities, but in other issues that are not seen, we would not be in the situation we are in. What Ownership has done is to make different activities available to students that allow and help them in their physical development and social integration with other people. 

In this integrating role the Sanfer club played a great role ...

It's very important. A large group of teachers from the College, who taught primarily in Primary, decided to do extracurricular activities for the benefit of the students. This meant that the student's link to the center was very large, sentimentally speaking. I remember Alonso, Roberto, Adolfo, Varela, Marino Soria and many other people that I have not named but that made the integration of both students and teachers of both centers, San Fernando and Augustinians, be very fast and positive. All these people created Sanfer and made many efforts, efforts that had no financial compensation. The College, meanwhile, enhances all these activities and each year provides more financial resources to try to help Sanfer improve. Society changes throughout this process, and the change in society forces you to adapt and change yourself, pushes you to make improvements to the facilities and provide better conditions and services to students. This whole process has a very significant change with Sanfer Sports and Activities.

All these results have to provide enormous satisfaction, right?

On many occasions I say that we work with the best material in the world, which are human beings. Our main objective is to train good people, regardless of the professional level they can reach. We try to train students with a great content in values ​​and of great human quality. The vast majority of our students have emotional ties with the College San Fernando, and we are part of the College. There are many cases in which you find a person in a place you don't expect and who shows you his affection. We have a great advantage over many other people who do important things, and that is that the affection we give to students makes us multiplied by ten. On the other hand, the College has a prestige and social scope that opens many doors for you. 

What advice would you give a teacher to start now at school?

I still believe that someone who wants to do things well, even if he is wrong, has a lot to do if the relationship with his students starts with affection. Before it began with respect and passed to affection. The first thing I would say is that they like what they do, that they love what they do, that working forty years on something you don't like has to be downright horrible. and frustrating Teachers who work with young children have a great advantage over other levels, and the child who detects affection immediately returns it to you. Someone who loves you is easier to guide, redirect when you make a mistake, instill, etc. It is a matter of attention and time, fundamentally. When they are older they are more distant and things get very complicated, but in high school the student already shows affection and not only respect. Although still in that fight of whether you will benefit or harm the notes. Secondly, to understand that what is really important is the student, that it is not the family, or oneself, that the students should try to be as good as possible, each one as much as possible, because, logically, the circumstances Each one is very different. Thirdly, try to rely on those people who can advise you to have many more experience, because there will be worries before reaching the objectives. Finally, that is altruistic, that remembers the teachers and professors who founded the Sanfer club, whose free time, instead of dedicating it to their children and their families, was dedicated to their students.

What now?

A frequent phrase from Óscar Fleites in the Sanfer Deportes y Activities office when he told me “let's have a coffee”, and I would answer him “just a moment Oscar”, was: “boy, at some point I'm going to Salinas, like, I take a nap and I'm still early ”. Now I want to spend time with Mari, my children, mother, brothers and granddaughter. Also to my friends, who are people with whom I like to talk and who give me new knowledge. And, of course, play golf.