Dear Family, Friends, and Followers of the Champions Program,
My name is Megan I am a first-year champion (the one in the middle!). I heard about this program through a past champion who was promoting it to classrooms, I knew I wanted to be a part of the program from then on. Prior to coming, I was checking the Champions website, constantly emailing Dr. Sheppard and anyone linked on the website just to get more information. I desperately did not want to miss the application date. This program spoke to me as I have been working towards becoming a teacher throughout my time at UFV. Having the opportunity to gain experience teaching children at a variety of grade levels seemed like the perfect way to explore my future career path, not to mention doing it in the coolest way possible. I find this is a once in a lifetime opportunity… or maybe 2nd or 3rd-time opportunity, as past champions continue to come back year after year and I can see why. The children here overflow with personality and love. Their enthusiasm to learn and be engaged in our lessons encourages me to push my practice. Before coming to Antigua, us first years made lesson plans for both physical education and health classes. To see those lessons come to life and actually resonate with each individual student is so fulfilling.
Champion evaluations have started today, this is the time where Dr. Sheppard and associates go around to each school videoing a PE lesson taught by each champion that will later be evaluated. Dr. Sheppard will be looking at professionalism, classroom management, and creativity and a few other things for this evaluation. Mine is tomorrow, which is nerve-racking, but I feel proud of all the progress I have made here.
Time has honestly flown by, I cannot believe we are already at our last week! Every day has been a new adventure jam-packed with new experiences and challenges. While it hasn’t always been easy, I found it worthwhile to push past old limits as I have seen changes in both my personal and professional growth. Going into the first week I didn’t know what to expect and at times I found it to be overwhelming and exhausting as I spent much of the first week just trying to get into the swing of things. Luckily, I have had amazing teaching partners throughout my time here who have helped me along the way. Today marks the beginning of our final week, you will be happy to know I have found my stride, feel way more confident in my teachings and only feel the tiniest bit of exhaustion. With only two more teaching days left I plan to make the most out of that time by continuing to connect with the students, emphasizing our life skills and teaching with intention. I know I’m going to have a hard time saying goodbye to the wonderful students here and this beautiful place. Being here has taught me so about the educator I would like to become, and about the impact one can have.
Finally, I would like to give a massive thank you to Dr. Joanna Sheppard for making this experience as wonderful as it is, her passion for this program inspires me as well as many others. She has put her heart and soul into this program to make it all that it has become, and I know it will continue to change the lives of many people long after my time here is up.
Mary E. Piggots