Learning with Patience, Understanding and Caring by Jade McGhee

17 05 2016

Hello Alumni Champions, Friends, Family and Followers,

My name is Jade McGhee and I am a first year undergraduate champion. I am in my third year of the Kinesiology program at the University of the Fraser Valley.  I have been teaching at Adele School and Victory Center for the past three weeks here in Antigua. During this time, I have learned a lot about myself, my teaching style as well as different teaching strategies, especially for students with disabilities. Adele School and Victory Center are both amazing schools that cater to children with physical, developmental and learning disabilities. I have an older brother with Asperger’s Syndrome, so identifying and understanding disabilities has been a part of my life forever, but learning new skills and techniques for each unique disability, with a variety of ages, is a skill I would like to expand on and have had that opportunity here at Adele School and Victory Center. My teaching partners at Adele and Victory are Marissa Lucas and Melissa Pawluk who both push me to be better every day, provide support and give me constructive and positive feedback. Mandy Rosse was also part of our team at Adele and Victory for our first two weeks as our STAMPer and an amazing mentor, whom I learned a lot from on a personal and professional level.

Adapting and modifying lesson plans has become a part of our lesson planning each night as well as during our activities throughout the day. With different disabilities in the same classroom, comes different challenges, so adapting and changing our lessons is necessary in order for us to be able to have our lessons benefit as many children as possible. We want each activity to facilitate all of our student’s needs while still instilling our life skill we are specifically working on that day. It has not been an easy task, with a lot of late nights, creativity and motivation. It is something I am improving on each day, especially with understanding each of the children at Adele and Victory’s specific needs and what type of learning benefits them the most. Learning these needs and how to adapt to them has not come quickly and has required some patience on my part, but over the course of this trip has become more comfortable and fluid.

Today at Adele, we got the surprise of having a combined class, which we have never had to adapt to before. While only bringing supplies for the number of children we had, we had to adapt our lesson, be creative and have extra energy to meet the needs of two classes instead of one. It was a great challenge for myself and really showed me how far I have come in adapting and modifying lessons to each situation that may arise throughout my day.

With patience being a life skill we focused on last week at Adele and Victory, I relate my student’s patience during their activities in our health and PE lessons to my own patience in adapting our lessons, as well as my teaching style in order to encompass each of our student’s specific needs. It was not a quick adaptation for myself, and going into my last week here at Adele and Victory, I know I still have a lot to learn and improve on. Looking back to my first week, I can see how my efforts through personal and teaching growth has improved and paid off, through personal reflection as well as through my students’ growth.

The school motto at Adele School is something I take into account each day I go in to teach my lessons at Adele and Victory, as well as when I am reflecting on each day:

“With Patience, Understanding and Caring, We will endeavor to achieve our Goal”

Patience, understanding and caring are three words that I have instilled in myself throughout this experience. Each day, I strive to set a goal for myself and to achieve it, whether it is through my lesson plans, preparatory work, my students, my fellow champions, as well as my own personal growth and changes. I plan to take this motto home with me, and set and achieve goals through the use of these three words of patience, understanding and caring that we are teaching our students, but also embedding in ourselves through the process. Although using patience, understanding and caring through the learning process of adaptation and modifications was not always easy, it was well worth the wait to get to the point where I am at today.

I would just like to take a moment to thank Dr. Joanna Sheppard for her efforts and passion in order to make this program a reality for me. Your energy and hard work radiates in all that you do for each school and for this country. I am blessed to have been chosen to participate in this program and to be placed at Adele and Victory. These two schools have changed my life forever, and I am sincerely thankful and appreciative.

I would also like to thank my fellow champions for making this opportunity the best that it can be. It has been amazing collaborating with each and every one of you. I have learned a lot from all of you and I am truly thankful you were all placed in this program with me.

I would also like to thank all of our supporters, past alumni champions, and all my family and friends back home. Your support from home means the world to myself and the entire team in order to inspire and motivate us to create a positive impact in each of these schools, as well as continuing in our own personal growth in becoming better leaders and teachers.

I would like to close by giving a warm ‘Happy Birthday’ to a fellow Champion and friend, Marissa Corea!

Sincerely,

Jade McGhee

Adele School/Victory Center


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13 responses

17 05 2016
Marissa Corea

Great job jade! And thank you so much!

17 05 2016
Jenepher Sheppard

Patience, understanding and caring. That says it all, Jade. Sometimes it feels as if one is wandering in the wilderness when working with children with differing disabilities, but one must keep on trying and adapting (often thinking “on your feet”) and then, all of a sudden, the light dawns and the goal is achieved and the smile happens. Tiny little baby steps perhaps, to the rest of the world, but success and it’s huge!. It is we that must join their worlds with “patience, understanding and caring.” Congratulations and thank you to you and the “two Marrisas” for the work you are doing.
Jenepher Sheppard

17 05 2016
Christina

Can’t wait to hear all about your trip ❤

17 05 2016
Colin

It’s exciting to see that you’re learning so much Jade. I’m very proud of you for what you are doing for the people of Antigua.

17 05 2016
Mandy Rosse

Jade, I am so proud of you! It was such a wonderful experience working with you. You were always positive and lively and so willing to put a crazy amount of work into those kids. I wish I could have seen you teach these last two weeks because I’m sure I could have learned a thing or two. I can just image what today’s combined class was like! Those kids are lucky to have you, but I can also tell that you are so aware how lucky we have been to learn from them! (and just so you know…i’m throwing you out a mad crazy backwards peace sign right about now!)

17 05 2016
Kim Mcghee

So wonderful to hear how much this experience has allowed you to grow in so many aspects of life. It is amazing how much we learn about ourselves (our strengths and weaknesses) when we are challenged. so happy this you had this opportunity to travel, teach, learn , and form new friendships.
Love you and miss you
Mom

18 05 2016
Melissa Pawluk

Jade, I couldn’t have asked for a better teaching partner. Not sure what I would have done if you weren’t here with me in Antigua. We’ve become such good friends and I can’t wait to go home and continue our friendship. I’ve learned so much from you these past four weeks! These last few days will be hard, but I feel okay knowing I have a shoulder to cry on. Know that I am here for you aswell.

18 05 2016
Jenelle Atkinson

Jade, you are absolutely all three of those characteristics you described: patient, understanding, and caring. Adele and Victory were a perfect match for you. Your ability to modify and adapt is a huge strength that many people struggle with in all aspects of their lives. The experience you have gained from Antigua will carry through with you in whatever field you choose to go in in the future. You are amazing! It was a pleasure getting to know you on this trip. It seems like just last week we were sitting in YVR waiting to board our plane! Where did the time go?! Enjoy every moment of these next few days. Looking forward to seeing you when you get home and hearing all of your incredible stories and experiences.

18 05 2016
Madison

So proud of you Jade! Can’t wait to hear more about your trip when you’re back.

18 05 2016
Dariann

Jade, this sounds like an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to hear all about it when you’re home. I’m so proud of you for everything you’re doing out there, and I know you’re leaving an impact on each and every one of your students’ lives. I’m sure it’s such a satisfying feeling to be able to look back and see the growth and progress you have made through out this trip. See you in a few days.

18 05 2016
Dariann

Jade, this sounds like an amazing experience and I can’t wait to hear more about it when you’re home. I’m so proud of you for everything you have accomplished while in Antigua. I’m sure you have left an impact on each and every one of your students’ lives, and they have done the same for you. You’re such an inspiration. See you in a few days. Xoxo

20 05 2016
Jenna

Wow! That is amazing Jade. So proud and happy to hear all you have done! Can’t wait to hear more when you come home ❤

20 05 2016
Amber J

Jade what a wonderful write up and a great motto to be using both there and when you come back home! Glad to read that you are having such an incredible time!

Safe travels home everyone as you wind down in your last day or two!

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