Experience Sharing: Leading With Humility
It was back then when I received an envelope with a letter in it, stating that I passed the first round of interview. I read the letter and grinned to myself. “Thank you, Swami” was what I told silently.
I waited for the Sunday of the week. I could not wait to attend the weekly bhajans and place my letter on his lotus feet and ask for HIS blessings. Sunday finally arrived and I did just that. This letter states that I am one of the thirteen selected out of thirty-eight who went for the interview for our International Teaching Practicum Project. I asked Swami to take care of the next round of selection which was consist of microteaching (mock teaching) and a written test , I was required to sit for.
I have always felt that having Swami is like having some special power within. Everything could be done with HIS grace! I outshined among my other friends and I knew that this was due to the ‘special SAI power’ I possessed and I also knew that with great power comes great responsibility! Just like Spiderman who has to rescue the world for he was ‘gifted’, I too believed that I am like a Spiderwoman who has to carry out my SAI mission!
Weeks passed and I received the results. I was among the six who were chosen to go abroad and carry out seven weeks of practicum teaching. Again, I thanked Swami and instantly I knew that there must be a reason I am chosen. I was representing HIM and that HIS work and my work is one.
Months flew and the time finally came for me to leave. I was going to Maldives, one of the islands famous for its beautiful beaches. Maldives was a four hour journey from Malaysia. My friends and I had one whole week to overcome the jetlag, explore the island and adapt to our new environment.
Swami has certainly played a big role in shaping up my idealistic belief of how should an educator should be. I see an educator as a teacher, nurturer, motivator, an inspirational leader and a role model. When teaching is all about passing down one’s knowledge and facilitating one’s learning, I believe nurturing emphasises on love, care and protection while a child is growing and developing.
Teaching should work hand in hand with nurturing. To simply teach without putting your heart and soul will be of no use. An educator will teach with passion, concern and dedication as well as being alert to the needs of a student, just like a mother.
I also believe that being an educator; I have to be a motivator and an inspirational leader. I have to motivate them to learn and to share with the society what they have gained and inspire them so that they could inspire others. I know being the Spiderwoman I am, I have to incorporate Educare in my job of educating HIS children.
This is where the heavy responsibility of educating lies on my shoulders. I have to educate my students through my own actions. I have to lead by example. If I want my students to speak and act appropriately and be the embodiments of moral values, then I must first practice what I preach. I have to walk the talk for my students will adopt my attitude.
I was placed in a school in Maldives where I was assigned to two classes, to teach English. I was blessed to teach these groups of girls. Most of them were brilliant, energetic, cheerful and loud whereas a handful of them were timid and shy. I had to channel the energy from the ‘loud’ girls to something positive and beneficial while also getting the attention of the timid ones and getting them ‘involved’ in the learning process as well as make them speak up with confidence. As to advocate moral values, I often end my lessons with a value in which my students could ponder upon and give me feedback.
In the classroom, I often tell my students that it is really important to serve their families, friends, society as well as the nature, in every way they can. I intertwine these values with my lessons. I introduced the ‘Go Green’ activities I had been actively involved in, back in Malaysia during one of the lessons related to the theme ‘environment’. I explain to them the importance of preserving the nature and how I put my words into actions and encouraged them to do something for the nature too.
I was really impressed when a few of my students came up to me and asked me to join them in their beach cleanup activity. My students suggested this activity to their Environmental Club teacher and soon, it was approved. I knew that my students were inspired with my ‘Go Green’ talk and I knew Swami was behind this! I complimented them for coming up with such a brilliant idea and enthusiastically made a promise to join them. At that point, I knew it was important for me to be there with them and to be a part of their cleanup team. I wanted to be an example for them.
Even though less than 20 participants gathered for the outing, I knew that this was a chance, to be utilized. I spoke to their Environmental Club teacher and got her permission to handle a slot, before the beach cleanup. During this slot, I played a video on the CCC (Community Cleaning Club) and how the members of this club valued the cleanliness of their neighbourhood.
The main objective of this video was to create awareness in my students. They should understand that cleaning up the beach is not a sheer activity alone. It was the love for environment that mattered the most. I wanted to plant the ‘green consciousness’ in them. I wanted them to digest the fact that it is really important to keep the environment clean as well as educating others about it.
Swami also created an opportunity for me to educate my girls on the hazards of using the polystyrene by presenting them some slides and introducing facts about polystyrene before moving on to an interactive session regarding conserving energy which could enlighten them and reflect back upon their daily practises. I definitely gained my inspiration from the last Zonal Sai youth Conference in Port Dickson.
After the session I had with them, we headed to the beach to put our vows for Mother Nature into practise. We cleaned the beach and I beamed with pride as I watched my girls zestfully picking up the rubbish and realizing how important it is to keep our surroundings clean and green.
As much as it was ecstasy for me to be able to carry out the SAI mission like a Spiderwoman, I knew that Swami was never absent in my journey to carry out HIS mission. I was able to succeed because he was present in my thoughts, words and deeds. I took one step towards HIM and he took the rest hundred steps towards me.
I have come to realise how lucky I am to have Swami in my life. It is such a beautiful bonding that I cannot describe with mere words alone. I know as much as all these seva and prayers are carried out by saying that it is rendered to HIM, it is actually HE who is giving me a chance to purify myself. HE, the ultimate one who is undisturbed and immutable only helps us to realise the true purpose of our existence; to serve others!