Lectures/Training at Other Organizations
An Oasis in the Desert
I was facing a sea of faces with different expressions – some curious, quite a few skeptical, some disinterested, and many of them eager to learn. I was facing over 400 teachers of MES Indian School at Doha, Qatar, drawn from all parts of India, other South Asian countries, Africa etc. Initially I was apprehensive, unsure whether they would accept a Resource Person trying to tell them how to be better teachers. A two day intensive Orientation program had been organized, and that too in their holidays (and I know how possessive teachers are about their holidays!)
We began on a light note. The Principal Mr. Sashidharan was brutally frank when in his introductory talk he said that sometimes teachers believe that they know everything, and are not very happy to be taught. But I was very happy that his own teachers proved in the next two days that they do not belong to that category. It was amazing how fast and how smoothly sessions proceeded and rolled into one another. We broke up into groups of high school and primary school teachers, dealt with issues of children of different ages, and then reassembled to discuss issues faced by teachers – balancing their personal and professional lives, handling stress, motivating themselves and nurturing creativity.
At every stage there was a barrage of questions, some excellent suggestions, many doubts to be cleared, and as we went deeper into each issue, the excitement was visible on almost every face. Committed and sincere teachers, majority of them having left their near and dear to live a life of comparative isolation in a desert country, found their enthusiasm and motivation rising to a fascinating level. They participated with total involvement and out of genuine interest to be better teachers and even better human beings. This attitude and adaptability will ensure that tens of thousands of children of expatriates, themselves living away from their homeland and loved ones, will find true friends, philosophers and guides among their teachers, and MES will become an oasis of knowledge and holistic development for its students.
My hearty salutations to the entire team of teachers who participated in the program, and more so to Principal Mr. Sashidharan, Administrator Mr. Manoharan, Vice-Principals, and the very young, dynamic and committed trio of counselors – Ajin, Srikanth and Sheena. May you all be the instruments of positive change and a brighter future for the coming generation.
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Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.
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Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja
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