It Takes a Village by Chelsea Parmar

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Dear Friends, Family and Followers of the Champions program!

My name is Chelsea Parmar and I am a first year Champion! I have been placed at Villa Primary School with Selyen as my teaching partner. It has been an amazing experience so far as Selyen and I have been able to really connect and collaborate in teaching our lessons. This week we have also had the privilege of having Kirsten join us! This experience has really #pushedmypractice and pushed me out of my comfort zone as we primarily teach PE lessons at Villa and I am more familiar with a classroom setting. It has been really awesome to see how we can use physical activity to teach life skills. I am not in the Kinesiology department but heard about the program through a friend and I knew I had to be a part of it. Because I don’t have the background in Kinesiology, I have had to do some catch up but I have learnt so much from Jo, Selyen, Kirsten and everyone else on this journey.

I can’t believe we are already half way through the third week of this trip. During my time here I have really been purposeful about creating strong connections with students, starting with getting to know their names. This has been no easy feat with 300+ students, but I have noticed the difference it makes in my lessons as well as interactions during break times. The students at Villa have stolen my heart. They love big time. A phrase their principal, Mrs.Felix, often says to them “I love you all big time.” Villa Primary welcomed us in with open arms and open hearts. Admittedly, I started the first week feeling quite overwhelmed, and I experienced a little culture shock. But over the past few weeks I have grown more comfortable and confident teaching PE with the help of my teaching partner as well as our P.E. specialist Mr. Otto. It takes a village!

I am so grateful for the support of this awesome team, Momma Jo, my teaching partner, as well as friends and family back home. This has been a wonderful learning journey, that has helped to push me to grow in my abilities as a future teacher, a professional, and a person. A big part of this learning journey is the community we are surrounded with. From the amazing students and teachers at Villa to our wonderful team. Our community is often expressed in a variety of ways including our red couch meetings. These are meetings we have every night, except for Saturdays, to debrief and reflect on our experiences as well as how we can continue to push our practice. We also have community in our roommates. Momma Jo told us before we left for our trip that she put us in specific rooms for a reason, and I am definitely grateful for my roommates Jordyn and Mel. It has been a blast getting to know them more, cooking together, and laughing hysterically when we are over tired. Finally, car rides are a time for community as well. Before school it is a time to get pumped and ready for the day, then after it’s a time to connect and debrief.

As we are nearing the end of our time here, I am trying to soak in every moment I can with the students. I will definitely miss them so much. For this next week I am really looking forward to Unity Games as it will be at Villa! As well I am excited for the Teacher Appreciation Barbeque that we are currently planning.

Again, I would thank Dr. Joanna Sheppard for taking me on this amazing journey, even though I am not a Kinesiology student. Jo has been so encouraging, helpful, and has truly taught me a lot. Her passion and joy for this program is so clear and inspiring. It shines through her actions and intentional conversations. Thanks Momma Jo!

Chelsea Parmar

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