Friday, 3 August 2012

Summer Camp

Well, long time no see my fellow brothers, sisters, comrades. I’ve not written a blog in a while. I’ve been busy, mostly, also I’ve been procrastinating, mostly busy though, I promise.

School ended on July 24th and starting July 25th I’ve been teaching an English camp at my school. Today was the last day of camp and I can’t pretend that I’m not happy it’s over. Summer camp has been very different to winter camp. During winter camp I had a maximum of three forty minute classes per day and on one day a week I had only one forty minute class. I also taught winter camp from a textbook. During summer camp I’ve been teaching two, one and a half hour classes, every day. The first class being grades one through two, and, the second class being grades three through six. I had no text book this time around so I had to make things up as I went along. It’s been stressful at times. Summer camp was the equivalent of three weeks of winter camp smashed into eight days.

Camp started off incredibly well; in my first class on the 25th I had about seven students in the lower grade class and a whopping fourteen students in the higher grade class. The first day of camp I had a super hero theme. I taught sentences like ‘he can fly’ or ‘he is wearing a mask.’ The students got to make their own superhero and play some games and the camp ran incredibly smoothly, I enjoyed it. This continued through Around the World camp on day two, in which I taught the continents, and some basic ‘I’m from Korea’ stuff, and it continued through Amazing Animals camp on Friday which was one of the best out of the bunch. The kids enjoyed the activities and games and there were enough kids in each class to have a lot of fun.

The second week rolled around and students started to drop off, there were only ever four kids in my lower grade class right through to the end after that, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I only had two kids in my higher grade camp which was incredibly stressful. Having planned a class for twelve or more kids and then having two show up really knocks your plans out of the window. You have to be good at improvising.

Monday was Pirate camp which went pretty well mainly down to the fact that the bulk of the class was taken up by making pirate hats and eye patches. We did food on Tuesday, Under the Sea on Wednesday and Weather on Thursday. This was a struggle, whilst the classes didn’t bomb they felt stretched like butter over too much bread. The activities and games felt repetitive and students were losing interest because it was hard to engage such small classes. I did my best though and I’m pretty sure they took something away from those camps. Today was the best out of the whole summer camp even though I was really worried it was going to bomb, I guess taking risks is worthwhile.

Today we had Olympic camp. Luckily, (due in part to the incredibly nationalistic mental state of the country) the kids were really into the Olympics. I introduced the topic, taught them gold, silver and bronze and then got on to teaching them the names of all of the Olympic games and to my surprise even the lower level kids were remembering the long words like ‘gymnastics’ and ‘synchronized swimming’. We then made some medals and had our own elementary school mini-Olympics, something that could have flopped very easily but turned out to be a blast.

I’m glad it’s all over now though. I have two weeks off and then I’m back at school for a week before my contract ends and Natalie and I leave on our travels. The year has gone by very quickly, or at least, it feels that way now I look back on it. The reality is that it dragged in places and there were as many highs as there were lows. It has been a worthwhile experience coming to teach here and I’ve managed to save a great deal of money, most of which I’ll be spending (or have already spent) on the trip.

I feel like a year was enough for me and I’m looking forward to moving onto the next chapter of my life, one that will be filled with many an adventure through many a strange land. That’s what this has all been about. I was sitting in my trailer on Cape Cod this time three years ago dreaming of a day when I would take off and travel around the world, I even pictured myself teaching English in Asia to raise the money for such an odyssey, three years later and I’m proud to say that I’ve achieved that dream. My twenty-one year old self would be proud of me, and I’m kind of proud of me too.

Time for vacation, a well earned vacation. 

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