Dear Champions Alumni, Family, Friends, and Followers of the Champions Program,
First off, I would like to say thank you for checking in to see what we are up to as we begin our journey with the 2019 Champions! My name is Kirsten Lee (Teacha Lee to the kids) (the one in the middle) and I have had the opportunity to be apart of this program for 5 years. This program has made me who I am today. I am eternally grateful for Joanna Sheppard as she has supported me and kept this wonderful program running. This is year 14 of the program and you can feel all the passion and hard work that previous champions have left behind.
Today we woke up with mixed emotions as it was our first day of school! We were extremely excited to meet the students and be welcomed into our schools, however, even after so many years the butterflies and nervousness still sets in. Our morning started bright and early with our first day of school photos and then we were off on our convoy led by Jo’s van nicknamed the “White Knight”. As our white vehicles got dropped off one-by-one we could see the swarms of children racing up the car to meet their new Canadian teachers. I have the opportunity to go to T.N. Kirnon Primary School which has been in the program for the full 14 years. This is a new school for me and I was excited for the new experience with my new teaching partners Justin and Kristen. One of the best parts of this program is that each year is completely different and I get to see things as if it is new every time.
Our school day started with morning prayers, songs, the Antiguan anthem and reciting the schools mottos. We were welcomed by the principal and introduced ourselves to the school. I was excited to start our day and I could tell the students were excited as well because all of their little eyes didn’t come off of you, no matter where you moved. Each student you passed wanted to say ‘Hi’, give you a hug or play hand games. Our day was full of teaching physical education and H.F.L.E (Health and Family Life Education). We started off with the rambunctious Grade 1’s who could not contain their excitement and as a result tested our patience. Our life skill that we focused on today was Communication and we used our lesson plans created by first year Champ, Kristen. Since September the first years have been putting their blood, sweat and tears into these lesson plans and it is amazing to watch them come to life. The effort put into these lesson plans by the people who created them and the revisions by the curriculum coordinators is evident when you play them. The rest of our day went similar to our first class and by the end of the school day we were exhausted. But from experience I know that each day you build up more endurance and more patience which makes it easier and easier. It is overwhelming how interested the students are and how much they already want to be your friend.
Afterschool we got a special first day of school treat as Jo treated us all to well deserved ice cream! Just one of the many surprises that Jo has tucked in her sleeve. What I am most excited for is watching each Champion grow and find themselves as a teacher. Each day you are immersed into the culture and learn so much in a day.