A Day in the Life at Pigott’s Primary

20 05 2015

Going into the last week of teaching it is slowly coming to our realization that we will be leaving shortly. The last 3 weeks have flown by and I feel like we have barely scrapped the surface of Antigua and haven’t had enough time to soak everything in. That being said, we have learned so much in the last few weeks by continually being pushed outside of our comfort zones. If you had told me a year ago that this morning I would be standing in a class teaching 30 energetic kindergarteners about collaboration, I would have never believe you or believed that I could do it. This experience has taught me so much about myself and my own capabilities, making me realize that I actually could become a teacher. This last week is going to be emotional, as the students, the teachers and us as Champions begin to understand that we might not get another chance to interact with these people who we have made so many connections and relationships with.

One of the only ways that I can think of to help you understand what we might be going through is to take you through what a normal day looks like for us. At 7:30am in the morning we all pack into our white vans or cars and begin our drop off to different schools. For Sam and I, being in Jo’s van means that you get your Antiguan newspaper horoscope read to you before we start driving. Pigott’s is the first school in our drop off, so we arrive around 8:00am, which is an hour and a half before school starts. You may think that this would be unfortunate, but it just means that we get extra time to interact with the students that arrive early to school and being the last week we appreciate that time even more. We arrive at school and are automatically surrounded by children who all want to give you a high five. Now that we have been there for quite some time, the students have become more comfortable with you. That means that all the little ones, especially a kindergartener named Tyrique, will grab on and hug you until you physically peel him off of you. We do not normally bring out equipment before school starts because the students become a little bit too excited, but we only have so much time left with them so I brought out a basketball. Now you just have to imagine one basketball, no hoops, and about 45 students all trying to get the ball and pass to each other. Somehow it worked out and I got to show off my basketball skills that were freshened up over the weekend at the basketball tournament we participated in. Tyrique insisted that I go and get the basketball from the older students and then pass it to him, so I did, because you cannot say no to that face.

School begins when a teacher rings a bell and the students perform their morning prayers that they do every single day. They pray to start the day, before lunch and to end the day. It is amazing to see all these songs and school mission statements and prayers that these students know off the top of their head. Yesterday the principal had a huge smile on her face and told the students that she was happy because she looked over at Ms. Byrne (Sam) and saw that she knew all the words to the Antiguan national anthem. The students then return to their classrooms and teaching begins. Sam and I will arrive at the class we are teaching and greeted by the students who all stand up out of their chairs and say “Good morning Ms. Lee and Ms. Byrne, and how are you today?”. For our PE classes, we bring the students across the street to a large field and begin explaining our game for the day. If the game involves any bean bags, the students insist that they have played this game before with Ms. McKeddie and Ms. Atkinson, the previous Champions. With lots of convincing we are finally able to explain to them that this is a new game and they must now listen up t learn these new rules.

Today we taught health lessons for our Gr. 4, Kindergarten, and Gr. 5 classes.  We taught our Gr. 4’s and 5’s about self respect and throughout the entire lesson I was looking at each and every individual student and started thinking about how much I cared for these students. There are so many faces in those classes that I will never forget. I know I can speak for all the Champions when I say that we are all so proud of our students and that they have made a huge impact on us over a short period of time. I just hope that we have made as big as an influence on them, as they have on us. Kindergarten is a little bit of a different story. In that classroom it is significantly harder to take a moment and step back. Those children take all the energy out of you when you have to stand in a class and have their attention for an entire hour. Mitchell James taught us that the only successful way to do it is to bring out spirit fingers, so even though my fingers aren’t quite as short as his, I did bring them out today. As crazy as those Kindies are, they are the ones that run up to you as fast as they can at lunch or after school and they give the best hugs. Our kindergarten class has triplets and all of the sudden you are surrounded by Natalia, Niyma, and Naderia, all starring at you with a huge smile on their identical faces, asking you who is who. Luckily, Natalia lost a tooth the other day that allowed us to identify one out of the three.

After school when we are waiting to be picked, we just hangout with the students and get to know them. I always show up Sam with my ‘remembering names’ skills. Every single time we get back into that white van, Sam and I have the biggest smiles on our faces and tons of stories to share with everyone. It is impossible to leave that school without feeling excited to go back tomorrow.

Today was a unique day because some of us had the chance to go to a workshop that Brian Justin was teaching. We had the opportunity to observe and participate in his teaching for coaches and athletes. It was awesome to see that the group was very willing to learn and were asking so many questions.  It was very interesting to see the different things that their culture knows about health and wellness, as well as, all of the information that overlapped. Overall, I am so grateful to be apart of this program and having an international experience opens your eyes to see things from a different point of view. Whether I go into teaching or not, I know that this experience will influence my personality and teaching style no matter what profession I choose.

Kirsten (Ms. Lee)
Pigotts Primary

 


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One response

20 05 2015
Andrew

I’m very proud of you!
Love you Miss Lee and see you soon.

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