Rush of Love by Nikita Griffioen

16 05 2017

Dear friends, family, champions alumni, and supporters,

Hello! My name is Nikita and this is my first time coming to Antigua to teach. I came here straight from a Teacher Education Department certifying practicum at Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, in which I got to work with incredible teacher mentors, teach English and Art, and form incredible relationships with the students. Honestly, it was a little hard leaving there – teaching secondary has been a dream of mine for a while, and working with such incredible teacher mentors, along with having such an overall positive experience, made for some tears to be shed on my last day.

However, having been in Antigua now for about four days, I definitely do not regret my choice to come here. It appears as though my positive experience teaching in a Canadian school has transferred over to here – I am loving teaching the Antiguan elementary school students! I am stationed at a school called Potters Primary; a collection of small yellow concrete-and-wood buildings strewn about a grassy hillside. These small rooms are filled to the brim with young, excited, loving faces, all too eager to welcome their Canadian teachers. I was overwhelmed my first day with the rush of love coming from children who have never seen me before – immediately they came up to me, gave me hugs and hi-fives, and welcomed me into their way of life.

Teaching elementary school in Antigua differs greatly from teaching secondary school in Canada. Over the past two days of teaching, I have had to navigate new cultural norms, a (very) different climate, and, of course, dealing with human beings who are not yet teenagers—some of them as young as kindergarten! I’ve had some experience working with children in the past, and I find myself dusting off those old “tools” that I used previously to now implement on the smiling faces around me. Gone are the high school norms of, “Put your cellphone away;” instead, “Put your hands on your head! Spin in a circle! Show me your best tiger face!” (I can just imagine how that would go over in secondary…)

I get to teach PE and health classes, which is also a far cry from my usual English and Art. With each class I’ve taught, it’s getting easier—and more fun. Gone are novel study discussions; in their places are skill-building games and running around in the sun.

I feel blessed to be a part of not only such a great team from UFV, but also a wonderful and supportive school team. I have the opportunity to learn from my Antiguan teacher colleagues, which has been interesting and informative. This trip, as a sort of extension of my practicum teaching in a Canadian school, has enriched my perspective as an educator. I look forward to the remaining time I have here, as I am certain it will continue to grow me as not only professionally, but personally as well.

Thank you readers and supporters!

Jennings Primary




5 responses

17 05 2017
Barbara Salingre

What a great enriching opportunity for you to work with elementary school children, and looking at teaching a younger age group from a different lens. It is great to hear that you are experiencing this rush of “love” from the children as they will notice your caring way of teaching. We are thinking of all the STAMPers and Champions doing amazing things in the schools. I enjoy reading all your posts to get just a glimpse into your experiences. Keep doing what you do!

24 05 2017
Awneet Sivia

It is wonderful to know that the passion for teaching continues even in a totally different culture and context! Once a teacher, always a teacher! I look forward to hearing more when you return – enjoy the rush of love and know that you are making a HUGE difference where ever you go and where ever you land as an educator!

24 05 2017
Vandy Britton

Yay Nikita. Glad things are going well. What a wonderful and enriching experience.

24 05 2017

Congratulations Nikita. What a wonderfully enriching experience you are having. So proud of you,

25 05 2017

Hi Nikita
I appreciate the descriptive language that you used in your post. That artist in you is certainly always present. You certainly captures the experience of past STAMPErs who aave also experienced that “rush of love” from the Antiguan kids. I agree with your choice of words in “navigating” so many new and universal norms.

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