Unity Games Success by Aieisha Lukyen

22 05 2015

Well it is official, this world wind adventure has come to an end. To sum things up, we’ve completed four weeks of teaching at our primary schools. We helped out in two major community events with a track and field weekend and a basketball tournament. We’ve grinded through countless hours of lesson planning, squishy van rides and emotional red couch meetings.  Additionally, we’ve performed four amazing Unity Games at eight different schools across the island. I think it is safe to say that we have tested every aspect of our professional and personal development over the past thirty days.

I am a second year champion teaching at Jennings Primary School, as well as, the Unity Games coordinator. My role as Unity Games coordinator was to design the games played out by the students each week, select which champion will teach which game for the day and ensure things run smoothly the day of. Or as the students at various schools put it, I am the “whistle lady” that blows the whistle every fifteen minutes. I’d like to agree with them because at times looking around and seeing my fellow champions run their stations with energy, enthusiasm and poise, all I really had to be was the “whistle lady”. I was so fortunate to work with such a great group of passionate teachers that what could have been the most stressful day of the week for me, turned out to be some of the most memorable days on the island. I will never forget the loud chant of “Na Na Mongoose” and the commands of “Respectful Pirates” being yelled at the top of the lungs of engaged students or the wave of silence and eager listeners as all the champions wrangled their groups together to go through the invaluable Check, Connect and Reflect questions. Each Unity Games Day brought on its own challenges for us to overcome and gave us new moments that brought us closer together as a Champion Family. This morning’s games at Adele Primary School was no exception. This year we hosted not only the loving and inspiring students of Adele, but also a group of equally moving individuals from Victory Resource Center. It was a truly unforgettable site to see all different styles of students come together and play freely with no worries. Their innocence and joyfulness shined through their smiles all morning long. Unity Games at Five Island Primary School was the complete opposite. We had over five hundred students part take in today’s event with stations of almost thirty kids a piece. However, after a month of experience under our belt, we champions put on one of the best Unity Games this year. I am truly thankful that I got to work, learn, grow and get to know such an outstanding group of passionate educators.

Walking into this year’s adventure, I was nervous and anxious to get back to the students at Jennings. Selfishly speaking, I really just wanted to see the students I had taught from last year. I wanted to know how they were, what they had learnt since I last saw them and quite frankly, did they remember me. They did!! Right from the moment I stepped out of the car, I was bombarded with hugs, high fives, waves and students yelling: “Teacher Luyken, your back!” In the first few seconds of arriving at school, I felt all my nerves and worries melt away as I switched my focus over to my new teaching partners Carmen Neil and Erin Heinrichs. I was excited to show them around as well as introduce them to the loving students that welcomed me back with open arms. Our co-teaching group, instantly gelled perfectly and we all contributed different strengths that combined into an indescribable collaboration. For example, Erin taught me how to stay positive even after the toughest lesson with a simple question: “What went well?” After each lesson, before you even had a chance to think of something that went wrong, she would hit you with that. As simple as it sounds, it was a skill I didn’t always use when it was probably most needed and found it a great way to quickly reflect with my peers after a lesson. My fellow undergrad, Carmen, taught me a lot about preparation. This girl knows how to prepare. I would define my approach to preparing for a lesson as laid back. I would have the main plan memorized and then go with the flow of the students for the rest of the class. Carmen, thank goodness, is the complete opposite. She knew every detail of the lesson, she knew exactly how much equipment we needed, instead of a ballpark number, and even had back up lessons ready. She taught me a valuable lesson of how being better prepared enable me to keep more control and a better flow in the class. Having these two by my side definitely pushed me to be a better teacher. The influence of past champions has also molded me into the teacher I am today.

While at school, I can feel the influence and the mark that past champions have left. As I pass a mural made years ago by champions like me, I feel overwhelmingly proud to be a part of such an elite group of outstanding individuals such as Kirtpaul Sandhu, Erin Florko, Jennifer Gray, Ciara Spink and Inderpreet Bring whom have taught at Jennings in previous years. Also, hearing students call me “Teacher Luyken” makes me think of my Dad and my Grandfather who both have unconsciously shown me what it takes to make a difference in a child’s life. The two of them have shown me that the lifelong connections you make with the students through education is why I want to pursue this career. My Grandfather and Dad have given countless hours into doing the little things to ensure their students are succeeding, feel safe and most of all are enjoying learning. I would like to say thank you to both of you for impacting not only my life but countless others that have walked into your classroom over the years. I am proud that I will be able to contribute to the continuation of having a Luyken in the classroom.

Cheers

Aieisha Lukyen
Jennings Primary


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One response

23 05 2015
Erin

Eesh, it was a pleasure to get to teach with you! You’re going to make an amazing teacher! Enjoy your last couple of days on the island 🙂

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