The Education Wing of SSIO Australia held their first National Teacher Enrichment program virtually on 12 July 2020 on the theme ‘Unity is Divinity, Purity is Enlightenment’. It provided SSE teachers from all over Australia with a blessed opportunity to come together and share their passion and dedication for Sai Spiritual Education (SSE).
Purpose of the National Virtual Teacher Enrichment Program
The current global health crisis has required the organisation to take extraordinary steps to connect members and continue with Sai Spiritual Educational programs across the country. During these unprecedented times, the Education Wing have been offering virtual programs for SSE students and their parents with the primary aim of keeping them connected to SAI’s teachings. The continuity of these programs has been made possible only by the loving contributions of SSE teachers across Australia. The annual face to face teacher enrichment programs conducted in regions could not be held this year. As such the team wanted to provide SSE teachers across the country an opportunity to come together after a hiatus to share their invaluable knowledge, experience and skills with each other.
The program consisted of a guest speaker address by Mrs Geetha Mohanram followed by workshops in breakout rooms. The introduction of google jamboard by workshop facilitators enabled SSE teachers to learn, collaborate and engage in active new ways to bring their ideas to life and made the workshops super fun and interactive.
Guest Speaker Address
We were blessed to have Mrs Geetha Mohanram join us from the United States. She was selected by Swami to be an SSE teacher at the tender age of 15 and has had a rich association with the SSE program over many years.
Mrs Geetha Mohanram’s speech addressed the following:
- Introduction to Balvikas teaching by the Supreme Guru and lessons learnt under the direct guidance of Sathya Sai Baba
- Exploring the relevance of the theme ‘Unity & Purity’ for an SSE teacher
- Role of the SSE teacher in making the SSE program attractive to students and parents
Her incredibly uplifting speech on the role of an SSE teacher resonated with the SSE teachers and equipped the teachers with simple tools given by the Lord Himself to become the transformational teachers Swami wants us to be.
The teachers were allocated to workshop rooms based on their preferred topic for discussion. Nationally a teacher feedback survey was conducted at the beginning of 2020 and the workshop topics selected were based on the responses received from this teacher feedback survey. The following topics were addressed by the teachers in the workshops.
Workshop 1 – Evaluate and Elevate SSE Groups 3 and 4.
In this breakout group the participants discussed the needs of Group 3 & 4 students, how SSE teachers can tailor the lessons to address their needs to make SSE relevant and engaging for Group 3 & 4 students, challenges faced by teachers teaching this group and the role of an SSE teacher in stimulating an interest for SSE by overcoming the challenges.
Workshop 2 – Teaching vs Teacher.
By embracing lifelong learning and a student-like mindset SSE teachers can turn ongoing self-development into a daily habit, hone our current skills and develop new ones to improve the learning outcomes of SSE students. In this breakout group the participants identified areas for self-development and possible steps SSE teachers can take to address these to improve the learning outcomes of students.
Workshop 3 – Creating A Captivating Lesson Plan.
In this breakout group the participants discussed the constraints faced by SSE teachers in creating captivating lesson plans and came up with practical tips to make the lessons more engaging and inspiring for students.
Teachers were also given an opportunity to ask questions from Mrs Geetha Mohanram. Many thought provoking questions covering a wide variety of SSE related topics were submitted by the SSE teachers and Mrs Geetha Mohanram responded to the questions with ease reflecting on the invaluable lessons learnt from Sathya Sai Baba through all the valuable interactions she was fortunate enough to have had with the Divine.
The feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and the teachers have requested for more such sessions in the future. The time given for the brain storming sessions was considered inadequate and this feedback will be considered when planning such sessions in the future.
We thank all the SSE teachers who participated and provided us with their valuable insights for future action. We thank Swami for this unifying and rare experience presented due to Covid 19 to come together nationally as ‘One Team’ and collaborate and work with each other. We are grateful to Swami for giving us this opportunity to be inspired by Mrs Geetha Mohanram,
We take this opportunity to share with you the following two videos.