Exponential Growth by Sydney Hewitson

20 05 2015

It’s hard to believe that less than 1 month ago I was feeling anxious and nervous for my first day of teaching at T. N. Kirnon Primary School. Tomorrow is my last day teaching at T. N. Kirnon and I am again faced with many conflicting emotions. During the short period of time spent teaching here, I have connected with many amazing students. I have learned so much about teaching, through our collaboration with the UFV Teacher Education Program, observing the Antiguan teachers, as well as having past Champions here this week to learn even more from! Through this unforgettable experience, my passion for teaching has grown exponentially.

On the first day we arrived, I did the math – we would have only 13 days teaching in our schools and 4 Unity Games Days and 4 weekends packed full of activities such as helping at track meets and basketball tournaments. Now, looking forward to tomorrow, I am wondering where an entire month has gone, because in some ways, I feel as if I am still adjusting, but in others I feel as if I have been doing this forever. I am in no way ready to go home!
Throughout my time at T. N. Kirnon Primary School, I have been working alongside some pretty amazing people – my teaching partners! I have been lucky enough to have 3 teaching partners – Robert Bauerfind, Kimberley Ainsworth, and this week I have been teaching alongside Carly Wright who is a past T. N. Kirnon Champion and now a full time teacher. I have learned so much from these 3 people; I have learned to relax more while teaching and to have fun with the students. I have had the privilege to  observe 3 different styles of teaching and this has helped me to become a better teacher than I was when I arrived in Antigua. Thank you to each and every one of you!
Today was an emotional day, as we were telling our students that yes, tomorrow is going to be our last day teaching and we will not be back on Monday morning. Its hard to tell students the sad  news as I do not want to see their faces when they realize that we are actually leaving, mostly because I myself have yet to fully believe we are leaving this weekend. After we told our grade five students this was our last class together, the students got a little rowdy and upset and began asking – almost demanding – that Teacher Sydney and Teacher Robert would be back next year to teach them again! Later in the day, we taught our grade three class about bullying. I was pleased that the students were recalling all the life skills we have taught them throughout the month. It made me so happy that these students are learning and remembering what we have taught them while we have been here! During this lesson, students were going around and giving their classmates compliments about how they are good friends to each other. Unexpectedly, I had a line of students in front of me, all wanting to share with me why they think I have been a good friend to them for the past month! I was tearing up until I saw Teacher Robert bow to a girl who curtsied to him. I began to smile and cherish the last moments with our students.
As we were walking towards the car after school, I told one of the boys that tomorrow would be my last day at school. His response was a little heart breaking – he covered his face and turned away from me. It took him a few moments before he was able to turn back to me and smile as I told him we have one more day so we will make the most of it! As we were beginning to drive away, a girl in one of the chaotic kindergarten classes ran up to me and told me that “Tomorrow, you will get my big hug!” Once again I was filled with emotion as we have been ‘Canadian hugging’ (high-fives) all month long  instead.
Tonight the Champions team packed up all of the equipment to be distributed to the schools. I would like to thank all of our friends, family and followers who donated the overwhelming amount of sports equipment and school supplies. These donations help so much with continuing the collaboration between these amazing schools in Antigua and the Champion for Health Promoting Schools Program.
I am so excited to go to school tomorrow, run out of the car and play as many games as possible with all of the amazing students at my school! What I am not looking forward to is getting in the car after school, high-fiving all of the students one last time, driving away and realizing that I won’t be driving to T. N. Kirnon Primary School on Monday morning.
Sydney Hewitson
Teacher at T. N. Kirnon Primary School



2 responses

20 05 2015

As a very proud parents it is an amazing feeling to read these incredible posts and experiencing the changes we are certain we all see in our amazing young adults. Back home it is difficult to fathom the range of emotions the group is feeling and to have the feelings so vividly painted one but cant help but share in the excitment and the angst. What an incredible adventure, these are memories that will form you all as people, teachers, and one day parents. We sit here with anticipation of seeing our daughter again, but cant help but feel that the sweet rambuxious little “Squirt” has become this amazing woman, ready to take on the world and change it for the better one child at a time. We are so grateful for everyone that has inspired her along the way and made this opportunity a reality, Dr. Joe (We hope we got that right) the incredible work you do to create this experience should not go unmentioned, your passion for the students is rare and each and everyone of them must understand the importance of inspiring others from your actions, thank you.
Make the most of the twilight hours of the trip and truly take what you have learned and experienced into your hearts.
We are so proud of you Sydney
Safe travels, see you soon……….
(sorry to embarass you… ) Not really …..

20 05 2015
Wendy Schuttevaer

What a great experience! Very proud of all of you Champions!

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