Collaboration at it’s Finest by Alexa Flore

22 05 2017

Dear Family, Friends, Fellow Champions, and Supporters,

My name is Alexa Flore and I am a STAMPER. I am currently enrolled in the Teacher Education Program at The University of the Fraser Valley. I decided to come to Antigua as an extension of my certifying teaching practicum to experience a different culture, new subject matter, and to learn from my Antiguan colleagues.

I have the pleasure of teaching alongside Julia Nord-Leth and Dan Northgraves at Jennings Primary School. Our classes are made up of two kindergartens, two grade 1’s, one grade 2, two grade 3’s, one grade 4, two grade 5’s, and one class of grade 6. Walking into Jennings on the first day I immediately felt welcomed by the principal, the staff, and the students. It is obvious that Jennings strives to become a family and make everyone, whether they are a guest or a part of the school, feel at home.

My favourite part of this trip is not going to the beach as one might expect, but it is being a part of the amazing collaboration that is surrounding this program. I think about collaboration in a few different ways. I came into this trip with a Bachelor of Arts in English and teaching English at a secondary level, in other words I had no idea about teaching Physical Education and Health. Thankfully, I was paired up with amazing teaching partners. Julia, who is only a first year in university, has a sports and dance background that she brings when we teach. My first day out in the field at Jennings, teaching grade 3 PE I was at a lost. I am used to being in the classroom and being able to think on my feet when things go astray. While I am teaching PE, I do not have any past experiences to fall back on, thankfully all I had to do was look to my left and watch Julia. I was quickly able to grab new ideas and implement them in my lesson. Dan, who has been with this program for two years now, brings the wisdom on how to correctly orchestrate the Check, Connect, Reflect (CCR) we complete after every lesson we teach. I only had to watch Dan a few times before I knew exactly what was expected of me. While I have completed my certifying practicum, I am always learning new ideas with the people I teach with. This is a part of my practice I never want to lose, I believe we can learn a lot by watching our colleagues and learning from their teaching practices.

This brings me to my second part of collaboration. I have witnessed first hand the relationships Dr. Sheppard has worked at creating over the years with the schools. At Jennings, I have heard from plenty of teachers that they really appreciate this program and how much they have learned from us and how much their students have learned from our practices. I would like to flip it around and express my appreciation for the teachers at Jennings. I have learned so much about classroom management by just sitting silently in the back of the classroom. The students have the utmost respect for their teachers, and the teachers know exactly what to say in any given situation. I have enjoyed the conversations I have had with the teachers, learning different ways I can get students’ attention and have even received handouts from the kindergarten teachers to assist me in the future.

I cannot believe that I am in my last week. I only have two more days at Jennings, and I feel like I have just started. I am not ready to leave, I have so much to learn from the teachers and students at Jennings, and from my teaching partners. I am so grateful for this program. I have grown immensely in my teaching practices in the 10 days I have been here. I would not trade this experience for anything in the world!

Thank you!

Alexa Flore, Jennings Primary



2 responses

24 05 2017
Awneet Sivia

Congratulations on the wonderful experiences you’ve created through collaboration in Antigua! The power of learning from colleagues and observing/conversing is long lasting and the effects may not even be truly visible until you have your own classroom in the years ahead. In the meantime, I am thrilled you have been ‘turned on’ to the beauty of learning in community with all your Antiguan colleagues and KPE mentees. Good luck and see you next week back in Abbotsford! Awneet

24 05 2017

Collaboration is key to success pretty much wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. So glad you are recognizing the benefits of reciprocal learning/teaching.

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