Hello…It’s Me By Melissa Pawluk

11 05 2016

Hello Alumni Champions, Family, Friends, and Followers,

My name is Melissa Pawluk and I am a first year undergraduate champion in Antigua. I am currently completing my degree in kinesiology with an interest in athletic therapy and rehabilitation. I was placed at the Adele School and Victory Center, which are schools that specialize in working with children who have disabilities. Embarking on this journey meant jumping out of my comfort zone as I do not have any experience with teaching children with or without disabilities. Although I did not have experience, I was up for the challenge. I have been lucky to have a great support team of Jade McGhee & Marissa Lucas (teaching partners), and Mandy Rosse (teacher education program aka STAMPer). The team of us together are constantly working hard each day to make sure each lesson is adapted, modified, and ready for our schools. Since teaching at Adele and Victory for these past three weeks I’ve learned that some days our lessons go completely right, and some days they go completely wrong. However, my teaching partners have taught me that even if something goes wrong, you cannot sweat the small stuff! Students cannot tell if your lesson is going wrong. Using music in our teaching is something the students at Adele and Victory absolutely love. I had no idea what Soca music was until I came here to Antigua. For those who do not know, Soca is a Caribbean genre of music that is extremely catchy and lots of fun to dance to!

This past Monday May 9th, Jade, Marissa and I got to go sailing with some students from Adele. I felt so grateful to have been given this opportunity, as I have never been sailing before. It was so exciting to see the students so happy and confident in sailing. They knew exactly what to do! I was so impressed. Each of us teachers got to go out with the students and instructor on the sailboat. We sailed around English Harbour while our students steered the sailing boat. The instructor even let me take the reins of the sailboat. It was a day I’ll never forget.

Today Wednesday, May 11, a couple of us champions were given the opportunity to go to a soccer practice with Luki. We did not know what to expect, but we showed up and were ready for whatever the coach told us to do. We got to coach and play soccer with boys and girls of different ages. It turned out to be lots of fun and I think a little bit of our teaching tones came out throughout the practice.

The end of this journey is coming fast. It makes me emotional to think about saying goodbye to the amazing students that I have been teaching. I have been teaching them, but they have also been teaching me. I have learned that I am a patient person with so much love to give and although teaching is likely not the path I will take, I know that whatever I do, it will involve children. I am so proud to be a part of this year’s program and I would like to thank Dr. Joanna Sheppard for allowing me to be a part of this team of champions. Thank you, Dr. Sheppard for placing me at Adele and Victory. These schools, these teachers, and these students will forever hold a place in my heart. There is a sign at the Adele School that reads: “A child with Autism is not ignoring you, they are simply waiting for you to enter their world.” May we all please remember this when we come across a special child.  

I would like to send a couple shout-outs to end this blog.

Past Champion Sarah Russell, the students at Adele and Victory say hello and miss you.

Dan Northgraves, Happy Birthday!!

Mandy Rosse, It was an honour to get to work with you for two weeks. You taught me a lot about how to teach and how to handle classroom management. I have no doubt that you will make a BRILLIANT teacher.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,
Melissa Pawluk
Adele School/Victory Center

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12 responses

11 05 2016
Lexi

Great post Melissa! I’m happy to hear that things are continuing to go so well at Adele and Victory! You were given a challenge, and you have most certainly risen to meet it! I know we are all envious of your opportunity to go sailing with your students, what a great memory to take home with you. Enjoy the remaining days, they go by much too quickly!

11 05 2016
Jenelle Atkinson

Melissa,
It’s great to hear about the wonderful opportunities you’ve had this week! What amazing experiences! Adele and Victory appear to be incredible schools and it seems like you being there was a perfect fit for both the students and for you. It was a pleasure teaching with you at Pigott’s Unity Games. Trust in your abilities and let your personality shine. Enjoy every moment! Keep up the good work!
PS: love the title of the blog post

12 05 2016
Mandy Rosse

Melissa! Missing you all like crazy!! Keep filling me in on your days at Adele and Victory, and take it all in while you’re there. It was amazing to met you and work with you, you are BRILLIANT!
ps. read your blog 3X…impressive!

12 05 2016
Katie

I am so proud of you Melissa! I cannot wait to hear all about what you have learned through this experience when you get back home!

12 05 2016
Kevin Ruggles

Melissa,
It sounds like you had a lot of fun on the sailing trip as well as at the soccer practice with Luki.
It is crazy to see how fast the days are going by but you are definitely making the most of it.
I enjoyed reading the blog and I especially love the title.
If there is one thing we have all learned it is how to adapt!
Kevin

12 05 2016
Marissa Corea

So jealous of sailing! Great blog Melissa!

12 05 2016
Melanie Pawluk

No sure what happened but I did reply last night to commenting on your blog; So guess what I will send as long one now!! LOL
Hi Melissa you continue to amaze and inspire me. I am glad to see and hear that your time at Adele School/ Victory Center is going well and that you are creating a lot of special memories. Yes time flies so make sure you stop and smell the flowers. I can’t wait until you are back home to hear all about “The Island of Antigua”. You wrote in your blog about lessons going wrong don’t think like that. Think of it as falling down then picking yourself up and dusting off to start all over again. (Perservence) You went to George Greenaway Elementary and Mr Greenaway’s philosophy was that Every Child has a right to an education and support to become their best self. So teach, support and encourage the children to be their best possible shelf and show them your best self and that it’s still a work in progress!! Remember to reach for the stars and shine bright! 🙂 Love Always, Mom XOXO

12 05 2016
Melanie Pawluk

No sure what happened but I did reply last night to commenting on your blog; So guess what I will send a long one now!! LOL
Hi Melissa you continue to amaze and inspire me. I am glad to see and hear that your time at Adele School/ Victory Center is going well and that you are creating a lot of special memories. Yes time flies so make sure you stop and smell the flowers. I can’t wait until you are back home to hear all about “The Island of Antigua”. You wrote in your blog about lessons going wrong don’t think like that. Think of it as falling down then picking yourself up and dusting off to start all over again. (Perservance) You went to George Greenaway Elementary and Mr. Greenaway’s philosophy was that Every Child has a right to an education and support to become their best self. So teach, support and encourage the children to be their best possible shelf and show them your best self and that it’s still a work in progress!! Remember to reach for the stars and shine bright! 🙂 Love Always, Mom XOXO

12 05 2016
Dr. Joanna Sheppard

So happy you sent it again Melanie! We had a malfunction on our end! Cheers

12 05 2016
Melanie Pawluk

Oops, well through Facebook I saw and corrected my Spelling! lol
Enjoy your evening Champions!

12 05 2016
Jade McGhee

Been so amazing working with you!!

13 05 2016
Nathan Lott

I’m glad your having fun over there. Me and yoda miss you back at home. It’s good that your teaching the kids but that there also teaching you. Maybe when you get back you can show me you sailing skills. Can’t wait to see you in Toronto in just over a week.
Love you and keep it up

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