Dear Family, Friends, Champions Alumni and Followers of the Champions Program,
My name is Brianna Mackenzie and this is my 3rd year being apart of the Champions program. This year I have the opportunity to teach at Golden Grove primary school, which is the school I have taught at my previous years. I am so grateful to be able to return to Golden Grove and continue teaching the life skills to the students here with my teaching partner Krystal. We both taught together last year and when we returned to school last week, we fell right back into it and it felt as if we never left. We were welcomed back with open arms by both the students and the teachers, which once again solidified how much this program means to the schools here and the importance of what we are doing.
When we arrive at school, our morning soon becomes filled with hugs, hand games, races, and endless smiling faces. In these small moments with students, I find myself so thankful to be back and surrounded by such pure joy. After morning prayers, we head out to the field and start our classes. Today was filled with energized students from start to finish and at one point we had 70 kindergartens on the field. Even in what I’m sure looked like chaos, we were able to teach them the life skill, play the games, and have a good CCR. It’s in moments like these where I see how much I have grown in Antigua and all the things that I have learned and discovered along the way. This experience pushes you outside of your comfort zone and teaches you so much about your self and your abilities; sometimes right away and sometimes a year later with 70 five year olds.
I am always amazed at how willing the students are to participate and how creative they can be. Today the grade 3s were coconut kings and the grade 1s were astronauts trying to get a space ship to the moon. As we were collecting our coconuts on to put on our ships and accomplishing a mission in space, the students were not only learning the life skill but also building that, ’I can do this’ mindset which is what I want to leave with them. They always give 100% of themselves into what we are teaching them and I want to give it all back to them by making every moment I have with them intentional and meaningful.
Teachable moments can be found anytime during the day, not just during scheduled classes. The semester leading up to this trip Jo has told us to push our practice. For me that means bringing the life skills out of class and using them in every interaction I have with the students. If there is one thing that I could leave behind with the students it would be that I believe in them wholeheartedly that they can be successful with the life skills and I hope that I can help them find that belief in themselves.
Golden Grove Primary