Cantiguan BBQ by Christine McGuire

14 05 2016

Dear Friends, Family, Alumni Champions, and Followers,

Hello, my name is Christine McGuire and I am a second year champion teaching at Five Islands Primary School and also one of the Curriculum Coordinators for this year. My experience has been very different compared to last year, with emotions, and reflecting on my self and how far I have come as a person. Last year, I remember being so nervous about teaching, and scared, but as soon as I got out of the White Knight (our van we travel in), all the nervousness and being scared melted away. This year, it was a completely different feeling. I was a little nervous, being that I was now at a different school that has 450 students compared to 319 at my old school, but I was ready. I was ready for the challenge of teaching a class of 28 by myself on a field with the wind blowing and the ant hills and all the excited faces looking up, or in some cases, down at me. Their warm good mornings sometimes consist of them running up to me with arms wide open yelling,“Good morning teacher Christine!”. It puts the biggest smile on my face knowing that they want me here just as much as I want to be here with them. Five Islands Primary has been apart of the program since the beginning and it shows. From the collaboration with the teacher and feeling like one of them, to seeing the murals painted by past champs, it’s like all of those past champs are on that field or in the classroom teaching with me. It is such an incredible feeling and honour, to be continuing what so many before me have taught and instilled in those amazing students at Five Islands.

Now today was a very busy yet exciting day. We had the pleasure of helping out again at the 4th annual Wings Youth Basketball Festival. This festival is a great way to bring the community and sport together as well as share in the love of basketball and show off their skills. Some of us refereed and others kept score, or organized teams and mad sure they were ready for the day. There were skill competitions that included, speed dribbling, relay races, 3 point shoot outs and of course games. The ages ranged from under 10 to under 19 and the skill levels were amazing. The amount of skill that some of those players have and they are only 10 is incredible! There was a boy who was 14, and he was easily 2 feet taller them me, who was getting 3 pointers all day. I am always impressed by those kids, and some of them actually remembered me from last year. The champs got in there to play in some of the skill competitions as well as a girls game, where I accidentally tried to tackle a player (I am a rugby player so I got a little mixed up), but in the end we got our butts kicks respectfully. During the medal ceremony, the smile on some of the kids faces was so big, as they are given their shiny trophy or heavy medals. Everyone in the tournament did a fantastic job and deserves to eat some ice cream after wards, they earned it.

After the tournament, we quickly rushed home and started to prepare for the teachers BBQ that Rochelle and many others had been preparing for all week. The teachers BBQ is an opportunity for us as well as our teachers from our school, to relax and talk outside of school. It brings all of our teachers from all 7 schools together to have a fun filled night full of laughter, stories, advice and even dancing. With a few exciting moments along the way right before the teachers arrived, we were all set up and ready to start the evening. For the BBQ, we take over the whole front yard of our hotel. Tables and chairs are everywhere covered in nice table cloths and candles, and the gazebo is filled with yummy food and drinks. We had amazing potatoes that were a crowd favourite, as well as the greek styled chicken, rice and salad. As the night went on, we were welcomed by some rain, which ended our night unfortunately, but all of the teachers had fun and I know the champs were smiling ear to ear as they were laughing and talking with their teachers. I had a really good conversation with one of the teachers from my school, Teacher Myers who teaches grade 3. She has been at Five Islands for 17 years and has taught from K to 5 and has loved every minute of it. She was telling me that she would never leave teaching because she loves being able to mold and shape children as they learn. She was commenting on how awesome our Unity Games day was and how creative the games were. She saw the connections between the life skills and the games and she loved seeing the students thinking about their answers during CCR. She also gave me some great tips and tricks for teaching children who are younger and need a more interactive lesson verses a lecture style. This conversation would have been very difficult to have at school due to our busy schedules and not enough time in the day. That is just one of many reasons why this evening was so important to build those connections and I really enjoyed having all the teachers out tonight.

I would like to take a minutes to express how grateful and thankful I am for my teaching partners, Kevin and April. April was and will always be, my STAMPer who brought so much life to a classroom and gave me ideas on classroom management. I think I have almost perfected my teacher look thanks to April. Now, Kevin or as some now call him Shaggy, has been an amazing teaching partner. To see the transformation from day one to now, its unrecognizable. Kevin and I work so well together, bouncing ideas off each other, tag teaming classes when we can, and learning from each other. Sometimes, its like he is always in my head and knows what I am thinking and then says it before it even leaves my lips. Our last week will be a good week and I am looking forward to making an impact with Kevin as we finish our time here on the Island.

Lastly, thank you to all who support this program and continue to see the impact that it has on young lives. Thank you to my parents, and grandparents, friends and my boyfriend who are such amazing people in my life who support me in whatever I choose to do in this world. Thank you to the past champions, who have literally put their sweat and tears, lots of tears and lots sweat, into teaching life skills and helping children not only here in Antigua but also back home in Canada, be the best humans they can be and strive for greatness. And last but most certainly not least, thank you to Dr. Joanna Sheppard, your passion for this program and for the students, all students, here and back home, cannot be summed up in a blog. You have instilled a fire in me that I first felt last year when I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and it hasn’t gone out. This year has made it burn brighter and more powerful then ever. Thank you for being an amazing mentor, professor, friend, leader, mama Jo and human.


Christine McGuire

Five Islands Primary



One response

19 05 2016

very inspiring words!

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