New Country, New Comfort Zone by Alyssa Theodore

11 05 2015

Dear Friends, Family, Fellow Champions, and Followers of the Champions Program,

We have all had times in our lives where we feel comfortable and confident in ourselves and other times where we aren’t so comfortable and not so confident. The second part describes me to a tee in the first couple days teaching here in Antigua. Having basically no previous experience with children in an educational environment had me so anxious to be a part of something I haven’t done before, yet absolutely terrified since I was completely out of my comfort zone and wasn’t sure what my teacher face was or how to handle all these energetic students. I’ve always wanted the opportunity to work with students and inspire them to believe in themselves so they can strive to become healthy individuals that care for themselves, others and the environment. The Champions program is exactly that and I am thankful everyday to be a part of it. From the application process, to meetings, to lesson planning, to packing my bags and hopping on the flight it all didn’t hit me until I stepped foot on this beautiful island. Then the nerves came and next thing I know I’m climbing out of a small van at Golden Grove Primary School.

Golden Grove stole my heart the first day I was there. Thankfully, the nerves I felt didn’t last long as the children accepted me with open arms (literally), high fives until my hand hurt, huge smiles from ear to ear, and hand games that I have never heard of. My awesome teaching partners Christine McGuire and Marissa Lucas were a huge help by giving me advice and the confidence to provide a fun and educational lesson to the students, and I cannot thank them enough. We work so well together and are always on the same page, I couldn’t have been paired with 2 better people. In a short week I felt the change in myself. With every lesson I felt my inner teacher come out. I went from a nervous champion to a confident teacher. I now wake up everyday and am so excited to go to school to see their smiling faces and their perspectives on life and to teach them the importance of respect, conflict resolution, collaboration and much more.

I never thought I would be here and some days I still can’t believe I am here teaching. It is hard work, and a lot of effort is put into each lesson and it is so worth it. Every drop of sweat filled with dust, sunscreen, and bug spray is worth it and we can see the impact we are making in every student’s face. The island in general is breathtaking and I still can’t comprehend how beautiful it is. The scenery itself has helped me unwind and has taught me to breathe and live in the moment. This trip has also taught me to go with the flow of things (we are on Antiguan time), and it truly taught me the beauty of life and education. These students are so eager to learn and its incredible to see the importance of a soccer ball or skipping rope has on them. Things we take for granted everyday at home, they are more than overjoyed to play with and it is humbling to be a part of that. The decision to apply to this program was the best choice I have made so far in my undergrad. I want to say a huge thank you to the past champions of this program, your hard work is still noticed today in these schools. Thank you for setting the pace for this years champions, and those in the near future.

I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Cheers,

Alyssa Theodore
Golden Grove Primary School

The pictures below are from our Dean’s Adventures on the Island of Antigua!

 


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3 responses

11 05 2015
Rachael

Alyssa as I read your blog from Canada still feeling its all a little sureal having it all be done, I am So thankful that I too got to be a part of this program. I absolutely loved being able to get to know the kids and learn more about myself as a teacher and I loved being able to see everyone on the team grow (and continue to grow)! There is no way you can go to Antigua, be a part of this program, and not be impacted!

12 05 2015
Alyssa

Rachael, I couldn’t agree more! We all miss you here. We were grateful to have you all here to watch us grow and watch you all grow too!

12 05 2015
Shannon Wheeler

Alyssa your blog is amazing, a heart felt message. It takes lot of courage to step out of your comfort zones but as you have learned the rewards are life changing for you and all you have met. To all the champions of ths program thank you for sharing your stories and stepping up to be changed.

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