An Island Full of Surprises by Kalyn Head

Hi, my name is Kalyn! I’m a first-year champion and am loving all of the experiences we’ve had so far.This year I am teaching with Kenton at the Adele School for Special Children and the Victory Centre. It was great to make some connection with my students right off the bat because some of the students just got back from Special Olympics Nationals in Abu Dhabi where they competed with athletes I’ve been working with back home. I’m learning new names and making new connections every day and can’t wait to continue to do so in the next couple of weeks!Our school day starts off at Adele in the morning and then we get a ride to the Victory Centre at lunch. It’s been challenging and rewarding adapting our lesson plans as we go to fit the needs of our students who have a variety of abilities to teach the life skill we’ve planned out for the week. This past week we worked on the life skill “team work”. We really got to see the life skill at work when our students taught us how to play cricket on our last day before the weekend. Our students showed tremendous sportsmanship and teamwork throughout the week and made Kenton and I feel like a part of their team too. They encouraged us and helped us throughout the game even if we were making their team lose which was such a great feeling. Seeing your lesson plans come to life and hearing your students apply the life skill to their school, home and community life during our CCR questions (check, connect, reflect) is pretty amazing. I really wanted to focus on being intentional during this experience. I hope that while we’re having so much fun with the students we also leaving them with life skills that they will never forget and to come home with a new perspective on teaching health and physical education.Every day in Antigua is packed full of events and activities. This weekend has been especially busy but so fun. After a night full of dancing and singing in the rain at Shirley Heights last night we headed out for Mojo’s Magical Island Tour this morning. Everything on this island is a surprise. I was totally expecting a tour bus but what came was even better. Turns out Mojo is our Momma Jo. The crew came prepared with a soundtrack perfectly timed with our adventure. We car karaoke’d and tried to guess where our next stop would be based on the song. First, we drove past the famous cricket stadium where we’ll go tomorrow to watch a real cricket match. I’m pretty excited for that because my students taught me all about it. Then we went to the historic Devil’s Bridge. I like that this trip is authentic, we aren’t just tourists. We are trying our best to live among the Antiguan people authentically and learn about their history to really understand and be able to teach their children. The history of the island is so rich and important to understand. Our last stop was to a beach where we got to let our inner child run loose on their inflatable water park. We played tag, had races and laughed the whole time.I would like to thank everyone for their continued support throughout this experience and a huge thank you to Dr Joanna Sheppard. I thought it would be really hard being away from my family but having all the other champions throughout this whole journey has really made me feel like I am at home.Sincerely,Kalyn Head

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