Tuesday, 15 July 2014

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST HIGH SCHOOL & Jr. COLLEGE - THANE: TEACHERS' ORIENTATION

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST SCHOOL & Jr. COLLEGE - THANE: TEACHERS' ORIENTATION
July 15, 2014
What a lovely experience! Over 150 Teachers from the Primary, Secondary and Junior College sections took part in a day's Value Education Orientation program animated by AVEC. Fr. Michael Pinto, Principal welcomed both Fr. Glenford Lowe and Mr. Rochwyn Fernandes to the school. The session began with a prayer song, Sarvesham Swastir Bhavatu. Unfortunately, the sound system wasn't too good for the sound track. The words of the song, however, put everyone on the right spiritual track. Mr. Fernandes introduced the teachers to a few moments of personal relaxation through a rhythmic breathing exercise. The also briefed the teachers on the various programs being offered by AVEC to the schools affiliated to the ABE. He then introduced Fr. Glenn to them.   
Fr. Glenford started off with these words, "I have come to disturb you and to challenge you to see differently. Perspective changes lead to procedural changes". Citing a number of examples, he enabled the participants to see the value in making 'Qualitative changes' and making important value based shifts, however small, that would eventually have it's ripple effect into quantitative changes. The 'happier, healthier, holier' fruits of teachers responding to a Vocation, was a powerful insight for all. 
The participants were then guided on the importance of knowing their present 'lifestyle'; survival, stability, success, or significance. The power of Word was also touched upon. "Change your words, and change your world" was frequently quoted. The poem, 'Youth: Lost Generation' made greater sense once Jonathan Reed  had the courage to make the necessary value based shifts. Fr. Glenn also enlightened the teachers on the attitudes of the young and the world they live in. We need to respond to them effectively by being 'Value Gurus' in their personal lives. There is no clear cut answer! Value Education is a life long Education to Becoming.
After the break, the participants were taken through two important exercises. The first included a reflection on one's personal values and the institutional core values. We cannot separate the two. One has to align with the core values of the institution. There is no other alternative. "You cannot be in this institution and not imbibe its core values", he affirmed. Management By Values (MBV) stressed on the importance of Values in one's personal life and in one's work place as well.
 Using the Hall-Tonna Value Map, the participants were able to find their place on the Value map. With the help of a brief explanation, Fr. Glenn was able to assist the teachers to make the necessary Value Shifts and to move on the a higher plane of Value consciousness. At the end of the four hour session, the teachers were happy that they had this opportunity to introspect and make commitments to live a life of meaningful contribution. He ended with this question, "When the students hear the word TEACHER, does your picture download in front of their minds? When they hear the word SCHOOL, does a picture of your school download in front of their minds?" To fight for that mind space, both teachers and school have to make important shifts in values!
Mr. Edward Mascarenhas, proposed the vote of thanks on behalf of the teachers. Fr. Michael then invited a number of teachers to come forward and to share what impressed them the most. A good number of them expressed deep satisfaction and fulfillment after this four hour session.
 The following comments were made in the AVEC log book:
"He said he would turn our world upside down and he did so. The session was an eyeopener - it helped us to introspect and try to change our perspective " - Shabina Ahmed, Secondary
"It touched our hearts and really helped us to see the change" -  Monalisa Fredricks, secondary  
 "Never experienced such a wonderful and inspiring session before. It was really an experience and we got to learn a lot" - Dolleres D'Souza, Primary
"A really grace filled session Fr. Glenn. It not only touched our hearts but it also changed our mindset" -  Angela D'Souza, Secondary
 "Hearty congratulations to the AVEC Team for such a wonderful program they set up; with topics that were truly thought provoking and encouraging" - Shanice Castelino, Primary
 "Don't live to die, but die to live. The session has given us great inspiration to keep taking values and shifting them with time. Be flexible and walk with all" - Beryl D
 "Thank you for the inspiring session. i really loved it and will surely put it in practice" -  Sunita Alphonsa
 "The session was excellent and I will go our to be a coach and not a referee" -  Lucia Alphonso
 "Very effective, inspiring, motivational session. requesting Fr. Glenn to please conduct a session for teenagers and confirmation students" - Cynthia Sequeira

On behalf of AVEC, thank you to the Management and staff  of St. John the Baptist High school and Junior college for inviting us to your school. Your participation and attentive listening too was excellent. I pray God's blessings on your all and may your educative journey with the young enable each one to be a Value Guru in the lives of your students. 

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