On Friday I had to say goodbye to my first grade boys. It was the day I wasn’t looking forward ever since I met them a little over a month ago. This was a very special placement for me. You know how most individuals despise waking up to go to work, school, or whatever it may be in the morning? It wasn’t like that for me. Every weekday I would wake up with a smile on my face ready and eager to get to school. The best part was when the boys would run up to greet me in the mornings. (It is the little things that you will never forget) Since it was my last day of this placement and student teaching, I wanted to make sure I made it very special for my class.
When I come in Monday mornings the boys ask me, “Mr. Guignet! What did you do this weekend?!” (With very anxious little voices) Of course I tell them what I did and they get so excited and ask for pictures. I told them that on my last day I will share my adventures with them. I created a PowerPoint that had pictures of every adventure (Activity I did) on it. Before showing them the PowerPoint I had to give them a little snack to enjoy while going through the PowerPoint. Since Mr. Guignet LOVES popcorn, he made mini bags of popcorn for his boys to munch on while he showed the different slides. They loved all of the pictures and couldn’t believe all of the crazy activities I participated in.
After showing them the first PowerPoint on my journey through South Africa, I showed them a second one. On the second PowerPoint I provided them with pictures about home. The pictures consisted of my elementary school, location at home, sports/clubs I was a part of during my schooling, family, friends, etc. I also took this time to answer any question they had about the United States of America. Once I was finished going through the PowerPoints it was time to show my appreciation to my students and give them their little gifts.
Every day at least 5 boys would ask me to draw them pictures. Since I am busy trying to help them learn and teach them it was difficult to find time to draw pictures for them. I also couldn’t draw a picture for one boy and not another one! (Have to be fair!) As I was thinking of what I could give to them on the last day to thank them, I thought of the perfect idea. I decided to draw each boy an american flag. On the back of each students drawing is a personal message to them. Hopefully they will keep the drawings forever and remember me every time they come across it. (I even laminated them so they don’t get ruined!) When I gave them their drawings/thank you cards they were thrilled and excited about what I wrote about each of them!
Before leaving for my big adventure, my parents came up with an awesome idea. They said to me, “Why don’t you give your stuents coins from America as a gift to them on the last day”. I thought that was a brilliant idea and was so excited to finally be able to give each student their coins. I termed this as a “Token(s) of appreciation” for all they have done for and taught me. Each student recieved a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. A few boys came up to me and said, “When I visit America I am going to use these coins!” I really hope each boy is able to make their way to the United States of America and experience my beautiful country just like I did with their country. 🙂
A few minutes were left in the day to say goodbye to my wonderful teacher, staff, and kiddos. I was surprised with 24 very beautiful and special cards from each of my students. These are the things in life that you will keep forever to remember such an amazing experience. One of my boys surprised me with a box of chocolate and a very personal/special card. It’s great receiving compliments from others but hearing them from the ones you taught is the best. With only a few minutes left, we took some class photos outside. These pictures are way to precious not to share with everyone.
Once I sad goodbye to my class (The hardest goodbye EVER) it was time to say goodbye to the staff and my cooperating teacher. I went into the faculty room and was surprised with more gifts. These gifts are very special and I will definitely keep them forever. I received a Wynberg Boys Golf Shirt (Polo) and a tie with the school emblem on it. The staff was so amazing and very helpful throughout my 7 weeks at the school.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to my phenomenal cooperating teacher, Mrs. Graham. She allowed me to have the best student teaching experience ever. If I wanted to try something new or had a fun idea in mind she was more than willing to let me try it out with the class. She provided me with useful feedback on a daily basis, which led to helping me grow as an educator. I have learned so much from her and her class. I hope to see her again one day and share my teaching experiences/life with her in the near future!
Before coming to Cape Town, I wanted 2 questions to be answered. Is teaching abroad what I am meant to do? Am I ready for my own classroom? On Friday I walked out with both of my questions answered. Yes, teaching abroad is what I am meant to do. Yes, I feel as though with the help of my class, cooperating teacher, and staff that I am fully ready and prepared to step into a classroom on my own. Words cannot express how blessed and thankful I am for these past 7 weeks. Unfortunately, I only have 2 more days here in South Africa, so it is time to go make the best of it!