Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer English Camp (Day 1 & 2)

...is finished.

This means that I have suffered through some challenges that have served to keep my on my toes and try my patience, but most importantly, I've had the opportunity to refine a few things before moving on to week #2.

As I mentioned before, all native speaking English teachers are required to deliver a 3 week camp to their school's students. If for whatever reason we don't have enough kids sign-up, we don't have to run the camp, but then we also don't get paid for those three weeks - at least this is what the contract states. As I'm doing my best to save for university, my choice is to run the camp, so I do my best to plan a good one. So, rather than have the same group of students, I have a different set of 16 students (4 teams of 4) for each of the 3 weeks. This allows me to make 5 really fun full day plans as opposed to stretching it all out into 15 days with the same kids.

My first week looked kind of like this:

Monday: Introductions - We ran some ice-breakers, introduced the summer reading book through activities and comprehension questions, did a vocab quiz, created teams, had our first team challenge.



Lowlights: Inevitably, some students that sign-up for English Camp do so in an attempt to appease their parents who looked at their child's failing English grade and wanted to turn things around over the summer. Well, you can lead a student to English Camp, but even if the Kool-aid is Purplesaurus-Rex flavour, that doesn't mean they're going to find it delicious. I had a group of 4 girls who immediately formed a quartet of bitterness from before the moment of the first bell. When I wake them from their sleep or gossip session, take their combs and mirrors away, or take their cell-phones away, they look at me as though I'm their step-father who's pestering them to take out the trash. Thankfully these lovely ladies will only be with me for a week.

Highlights: Korean students love playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. I utilized a mixed set of vocab cards from our English room collection which have alternating symbols for rock, paper, or scissors on the top corner. Students sat-across from other team's students and basically played "War" with their cards for a set time before changing seats and facing a new opponent. Each team member then brought their spoils back to their team table to total them all up, and points were rewarded for the most of whatever category each team was able to keep or take through card combat: most adjectives, most food items, etc. As an added bonus, students also got to re-enforce stereotypes of unrealistic beauty standards through these cards, and continue down the road that leads to the inevitable country-wide support of the Korean plastic surgery industry. Good thing that "Ugly" and "Pretty" at least are equal in terms of their "scissors" value.


Tuesday: Field Trip to Seoul Dream Forest - we took an ill-fated trip to the North Seoul Dream Forest in order to get out of the school, enjoy a scavenger hunt, and check-out some cool modern art installations.


Lowlights: Though I had visited the Dream Forest 2 months previous to take photos, explore the art gallery, and organize a fairly in-depth scavenger hunt, everything went wrong. The exhibition which had been advertised to run until August 31st and had been free when I visited back in May (and had been the basis for the worksheets that I had made to accompany the scavenger hunt) had gone through some significant alterations. When we arrived at the museum, the staff were now looking for a 6,000 won charge per student - which was irrelevant as 75% of the exhibit had been switched over for new pieces - rendering my scavenger hunt material useless. We spent the rest of the time looking for the few scavenger hunt pieces not included in the museum. The majority of the students were good sports about it, while the quartet of K-pop princesses ate ice-cream in the shade and lied about finding all items - including the ones that they couldn't have physically seen since they were no longer on display. I let the girls know that if they didn't want to be at English Camp, they didn't have to come. I also learned that herding 16 students onto a bus (when half of them have large bills instead of T-money cards) is an unpleasant thing.

Highlights:
The weather was beautiful.

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