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to retirement and he had a wealth of knowl- edge to share. We went back to the basics and reminded the teachers we were working with about the joy that comes from play. We let them see that through play they could get a lot of learning accomplished as well as deal with many of the behaviour issues that a class of 90 seven-year-olds might have. We took out their curriculum documents and looked at all the great traditional games they had and started to play them. They had been so busy being teach- ers and worrying about day-to-day mundane tasks that they had forgotten how much fun it was to play games. We brought out the child in each of our teachers and we played, had many laughs and felt rejuvenated once again. I had read a quote years ago that I shared with them: “If you do not make time for physical educa- tion today, you will make time for sickness later.” They really focused on these words and realized what benefits everyday physical activ- ity could have.


VOICE: What did you learn from your experience? How did working with Project Overseas shift your perspective on teach- ing in your own classroom?


MELISSA: As a guidance counsellor, one of my key responsibilities is to advocate for my


students. I was reminded how important it is to be humble and listen, to take the time to re- ally hear the stories of my students and their families and to honour their voices. I was also reminded that it’s important to bring my own lived experiences into my teaching. I saw firsthand how excited the teachers in Uganda, Guyana and Dominica were to recognize how they could use their local resources, traditional games, native songs, stories and languages to bring their curriculum to life in their class- rooms. I was reminded that my challenges and privileges as a Black, able-bodied, native- English-speaking, upper-middle-class female of Caribbean heritage hold value that I can use to pull curriculum off the page and help me connect more meaningfully with my students and their families.


PEGGYSUE: From the very beginning of my trip I had the idea that I would encounter more similarities than differences. After all, I come from a tribal culture and I was going to the cradle of tribal culture. This was more and more evident as the trip went on. Even though I was further away from my home than I had ever been, I never once felt I was alone. That is something for me to say because from the moment I left Ottawa, I never once met or


“I SAW FIRSTHAND HOW EXCITED THE TEACHERS IN UGANDA, GUYANA AND DOMINICA WERE TO RECOGNIZE HOW THEY COULD USE THEIR LOCAL RESOURCES, TRADITIONAL GAMES, NATIVE SONGS, STORIES AND LANGUAGES TO BRING THEIR CURRICULUM TO LIFE IN THEIR CLASSROOMS.”


E ELEMENTARY TEACHERS’ FEDERATION OF ONTARIO 25


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