It’s All Part of the Champion Experience by Blair Cumming

18 05 2016

Hello to everyone who has followed our journey over the past few weeks. First, I would like to thank all friends, family, sponsors, and anyone else who has followed our journey these past few weeks. My name is Blair Cumming, I am a third year Kinesiology (Pedagogy focus) student at the University of the Fraser Valley and a first year health promoting champion teaching at T.N. Kirnon. At this point in the trip there are ample of things to discuss, I will do my best to describe to you some of the major experiences and observations I have come across this trip.

First off, today at T.N. Kirnon was yet another day spent outside on the field for a full day of Physical Education. We (including teaching partners Marissa Corea and Rochelle Smith) were given the task to use a grade 1 P.E. lesson plan and modify it to fit two kindergarten classes, a grade 2 class, and a grade 3 class. Let me go on the record by saying I have a newfound respect for kindergarten teachers, I have learned over the past few weeks that it takes a special person with special communication skills to effectively teach this age group. Today was yet another professional challenge for me teaching kindergarteners. For some of the classes today, this was the last time we would be teaching them, so we made sure to take some time at the end of every class to get a class picture on Rochelle’s camera. Beyond our teaching practices, we tried to soak up as much time as possible with the kids before school and during break times playing all sorts of games; such as “Shame Shame Shame”, marbles, soccer, etc. I will note this is something that we and all other fellow Canadian teachers try to do.

My overall experience has been memorable; I have witnessed huge strides in my professional abilities. The primary reason for coming on this trip was to gain experience working with primary students to give me a better idea of what age group I would be better suited to work with. My experience working with youth before this trip consisted primarily of coaching high school students in baseball and basketball. Now having some experience with a variety of age groups, I feel more prepared and equipped to enter the teaching profession and excel with whatever situation I am put in. This trip has also given all of us kinesiology students the opportunity to apply concepts learned in a variety of courses to a practical setting; such as using the curriculum models “Teaching games for understanding” where we focus on small-sided games and “Teaching personal and Social Responsibility” where the focus is on connecting and developing life skills through physical activity. In my opinion, this practical opportunity is what sets U.F.V. kinesiology apart from other universities.

Beyond the teaching experience, spending a month with other like-minded students who are passionate and enthusiastic about teaching has truly been a treat. The support that everyone has provided for each other has been incredible; after days that did not go according to plan, you can always count on somebody else’s’ positivity to motivate you to be better the following day. The peer support and team comradery is so crucial; past champions have talked about the vast peeks and valleys of emotions throughout the month, which is why the chemistry of the group is so important for persevering through the tougher times and celebrating together after moments of success.

The last point I would like to comment on is how grateful I am for getting the opportunity to experience living in a different part of the world. All Antiguans that I have met here have welcomed me (and us) with open arms; everyone from the staff and students at T.N. Kirnon, to the staff at Anchorage Inn, to any locals that I have encountered. I have learned to embrace “island time”, our fast paced Canadian lifestyle sometimes does not allow us to stop, take a step back, and appreciate the moment we are in. Two important expressions have been emphasized this trip: “live in the moment” and “create your own experience”. As much as they have turned into an on going team joke, theses quotes are certainly important for getting the most out of this trip.

Again, thank you all for supporting us and following our day to day endeavors. We are quickly approaching the finish line, but still have some unfinished business to take care of! Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

Blair Cumming, T.N. Kirnon


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4 responses

18 05 2016
Jenelle Atkinson

What a well worded blog post, Blair! I love how you mentioned the warmth and welcoming of the Antiguan people. One thing I really miss being back home is the people, and of course the students.
You will absolutely be prepared to take on whatever age level students you will work with in the future. I’m sure you will find things you love about each and every grade once you get even more teaching and coaching experience. I’ve learned that students are students and every grade is wonderful to teach in its own way. Who knows, you may even end up in Kindergarten in the future…!
It sounds like you all have really come together as a strong team. This is a talented and supportive group of Champions. You should all be extremely proud of yourselves.

18 05 2016
The Parents

Blair, looking forward to a longer conversation when you return home; we’re interested to hear your thoughts concerning all that you’ve experienced while living this adventure ….

19 05 2016
Blair Cumming

Such kind words Jenelle, thank you. Although I did not get to work with any STAMPers on a day to day basis, all of your contributions to our team dynamic have been felt. Once a Champion always a Champion.

20 05 2016
Amber J

Blair, fantastic reflection on your time in Antigua! I’m happy to hear how much you’ve enjoyed your time, your work and your peers. Congrats! AJ

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