Dear Friends, Family and Followers of the Champions,
Hey everyone for those of you who do not know me my name is Taylor Kettles and I am currently a fourth year Kinesiology student at the University of the Fraser Valley. I am currently multi-tasking while on our Champions for Health Promoting schools trip as I am taking the final 2 classes that will complete my undergraduate degree. I am looking very forward to the day that I can call myself a UFV graduate, as this exciting day is now within reach. This is currently my first time in Antigua working alongside Dr. Joanna Sheppard and the rest of the Champs team, which I have been placed at Piggott’s Primary School for the remainder of our practicum experience. I have been fortunate enough to work alongside 3 team members at this particular primary school, Sara Erickson who is my first-year teaching partner, Kirsten Lee who is a fourth-year alumni champion, and Shelby Koop who will be finishing her Bachelor of Education certification within the next few months at UFV. It has been a pleasure to work alongside my teaching partners, together we have complimented each other through the collaboration of our different teaching styles. I will forever build upon these collaborative skills within my own upcoming teaching career, as I just recently received some exciting news that I got accepted into the Masters of Teaching Primary program, at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.
It has been amazing to see the continuous growth within the first week of this experience, my confidence with the classroom setting during health-based lesson plans has improved as well as my presence within our physical education classes. The students have play a huge role in my personal growth as a professional through their constant positive energy and genuine interest in the lesson plans which we have all worked so hard to create for them. As a first year during the preparation phases of this program we were given small pieces of information that would soon come together creating a picture that would be formed through our own personal experiences. This picture, which I am continuing to create while I am on this journey has been like nothing else I have ever experienced. Hearing multiple stories from past champions of how excited the students are to welcome you into their school and lives was defiantly emphasized. That being said in my position I slightly brushed those comments to the side not knowing what to expect, but when they said excited… they truly meant excited! I have never had the pleasure to be surrounded by a group of students that have shared so many smiles, hugs, high fives, stories, laughs and hand shake games with me in all of my experiences working with children. Their positive spirits bring constant reassurance that every day can be a good day, regardless of the hurdles that you may have to overcome. Simple reinforcements such as a smile, caring eyes, welcoming body language and a positive tone of voice is what allows these students connect with us on a deeper and meaningful level. It has been a long journey to get to where I am today but because of this experience and mentors such as Dr. Joanna Sheppard I am able to confidently say that teaching is what I am meant to be doing with my life.
On a side note we have been preparing this afternoon for the upcoming talent show taking place at the American University of Antigua tomorrow night for their annual school fundraiser for the Victory centre. We have been working hard to ensure that the crowd is entertained, and that the kids are able to have a good laugh at all of our embarrassing dance moves. We look forward to sharing our adventures to come with all of you family, friends, and blog followers. If you are fortunate enough to be living on this beautiful Island we hope to see you all at this special event.
-Taylor, Piggott’s Primary School