Dear family, friends and followers of the Champions for Promoting Health in Schools Program,
My name is Cassidy and I am a first year Champion teaching at S.R Olivia David Primary. As most of my fellow Champs know, my biggest concern prior to arriving in Antigua was whether or not the students were going to like me. This concern was quickly swept away on my first day when I was greeted by twenty kids that latched on to me like leeches.
Today was not a typical day for me because I not only taught at my school, but I had the privilege to teach at Jennings Primary in the morning. As we approached the pink school with cows roaming in the field, my stomach was fluttering with nerves. With that being said, my teaching partners Jenn, Libby and I were welcomed with open arms by Mrs. Solomon, her faculty and the students during prayers. Although I was worried about all the unfamiliar faces that would be looking up at me, I quickly came to realize that I was still surrounded and showered by that familiar Antiguan smiles. The primary focus of our health lessons with the students at Jennings was conflict resolution. This consisted of providing students with skills in order to recognize the varying ideas and opinions of their classmates and learn ways in order to address these differences.
Once the bell for break rang, Dr. Joanna Sheppard and the White Knight were ready to take us back home to S.R Olivia David. As we were driving I began reminiscing on the heart wrenching feeling that I had in the previous week on the last day of school. I was going to be leaving the students that I had just began building connections with for the first time as we approached the Labour Day long weekend. This feeling triggered my eagerness to bring the best version of myself to my students in order to effectively provide them with knowledge and love as we interacted throughout the day. To hear my name being thrown around the court yard like a celebrity, brought me so much happiness. The focus of our lessons today at S.R were centered around the life skill of patience. Not only did the students connect and engage with the life skill today, but my patience was challenged as five of my students went sprinting after the balloons being used in our lesson as they were swept away with the gusty winds of Antigua.
Throughout my experience so far with teaching I have learned two important factors that allow me to be adaptable and go with the flow. First, preparation is key, and you can never have too much of it. I find that going into each lesson having a thorough game plan allows me to adapt to the many changing conditions of the varying groups in front of me. The second key factor that has allowed me to be adaptable and go with the flow is confidence. Confidence is definitely something that is hard to find for me here, as I am constantly being pushed out of my comfort zone. Therefore, I’ve developed a ‘fake it till’ you make it’ mentality for those moments in which I lack self-confidence. As my teaching partner Libby Biln said to me today “You don’t need to be a superhero because the kids already love you.”
I am so grateful to have been chosen to be a part of this program in where I can apply and expand on the skills that I have acquire through my education at the University of the Fraser Valley. I also look forward to the many connections that I am yet to build with my fellow Champs, Antiguan colleges and students during my time here on the island.
S.R. Olivia Primary