On Wednesday 10 March, Dr Thelma Perso (SCEA’s Chief Education Officer) provided the first session of in-house Professional Learning for 2021.
The session was held at the SCEA Office in Midland for first and second-year teachers who are developing their skills and competencies as practitioners of Christian education in SCEA schools.
Dr. Perso’s observation on the session demonstrated her significant experience in working with teachers and administrators over many years:
“This session on ‘Building Relationship with Students’ seemed to be well-received by all. The graduates – oh to be young again! – were so full of energy! It was hard for me to remember that they’d just done a full day of work, and were probably going to do a lot more work later that day preparing for the next morning,” said Dr Perso.
Dr. Perso’s approach to mentoring young teachers reflected her own development following many years in different learning environments, but also touched on the spiritual aspect of teaching, learning and growing as Christian educators:
“I reminded them that their own students would probably not remember anything much about what they taught them, but they would remember a lot about the warmth and caring that they showed as a teacher. We considered the characteristics of Jesus and realised that he taught people by meeting them ‘where they were at’ (in their Zone of Proximal Development), scaffolded their learning and indeed, was a constructivist.”
Recent graduate and teacher at Ellenbrook Christian College, Jonathan Kop, found the session enlightening and informative:
“As teachers, we have a great opportunity to teach students the skills they need to go into the workplace, TAFE or university. More importantly, we get the opportunity to shape who they will become as adults. In order to do that we need to really know our students well – we need to get to know their worldview, what their home life is like, know them as people. Once we have built that relationship, we then get to help them believe in themselves, to comfort them when they are struggling and to celebrate their achievements.”
There will be one session per term for these teachers, and the wealth of training that they will gain from Dr. Perso’s vast understanding of the education sector can only be beneficial for the many years of service to come. The sessions form part of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) provisions and are also a requirement of SCEA’s Graduate Teacher Program policy.