Friday, January 21, 2011

Goodbye Winter Camp!

Today was my last day of winter camp, and therefore my last day of camp in Korea.  I spent the last two weeks at Cheondong Elementary doing my district camp and loved every minute of it.  If I could do that all the time for my job, I would.  It was well organized, I worked with good people, the kids were awesome, the location was stellar, and in general it was sad to say goodbye to them last Friday.

Journal from my student Eric.  I love the giant squid entry.

Blue class performing "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" during our final performance.

Blue Class Photo!
Me, Eric, Paul, Jeff, the principal, Jane, John, Whinnie, Jasmine, Jenny, Ann, Cindy, Julie and Ellie (my co-teacher)

The district winter camp allows you to plan your own lessons about topics you choose, and work with a co-teacher.  My school's winter camp is very different.  It is run by a hagwon, or private academy, and that also runs the after school program at our school.  They ran the camp last year and it went alright.  I was called in to meet with the other teachers about a month in advance and given information on what I would be teaching. That's why I was a little worried when it got all the way up to last Wednesday and I still hadn't heard word one from EduBest (the hagwon).  After some pressure from my co-teachers, the director from EduBest finally called me and said she'd send my t-shirt and textbook to me, so that I'd get it no later than Friday and I'd be able to have some idea of what I was doing for the week.

Friday, and then the weekend, came and went.  No book. No t-shirt.

Monday morning I woke up and got to school early to try and get a handle on what the hell was going on.  That is when my frustration started...and it didn't end until 12:20pm this afternoon when camp ended!  The whole week was a mess.  I was given ZERO lesson plans and really zero information about what I was supposed to be doing.  We had "co-teachers", but most of the time they weren't even in the same room as us.  I was given the lowest classes: first and second graders, many of whom couldn't even identify colors.  The lessons they gave me to teach were bizarre and way WAY over their heads.  Ever try to talk about the history of Mexico, the solar system, and/or Greek gods with kids who have a pre-school vocabulary?  UPHILL BATTLE.  Moral of the story, I am so very glad that this week is over.  The one upside was that the kids were damn near painfully cute.  And now I show you many pictures of them being adorable.

One of the cooking lessons was making the delicious (made up) foreign delicacy of "roll sandwiches."  How do you make this delicious dish?  Easy! Take a piece of white bread (stale if you want yours to be like our masterpieces) and tear all the crusts off.  Then rip it in half.  On top, place half a slice of American cheese.  Then perch a single Vienna sausage on the cheese.  Add a dab of mustard and roll that bad boy up.  Secure with frilly toothpick.  VOILA.  (ugh)

Adorable, and ready to get down to business.


Chowing down.

Through out the week there were a few lessons called "City Experiences" that took place in banks, hospitals, and stores.  The kids had to do little role plays (that were mind blowingly boring and often Konglished up).

Who, exactly, considers it important for first graders to know how to ask about opening a checking account vs. a savings account in ANY language?

Looks like you've got a bad case of English fever.

Don't you dare make fun of my "gingerbread men" until you come into a class of rowdy first and second graders who don't speak English and are forced to describe various illnesses!

One of the more fun classes was making a piñata.  Kids broke into groups and each one was given a paper bag with candy in it.  Then they got strips of tissue paper which they cut into fringe and glued on to the bag.  We stapled it at the top and taped it to a stick before giving kids a turn to whack it.  They had a great time and it killed AN HOUR AND A HALF, so I can't complain.

Getting down to piñata making.

Adding the fringe.

Team 1 and their piñata.

Team 2 and their piñata.

Team 3 and their piñata.

Team 4 and their piñata.
(All boys, all bad, haha.)

Team 5 and their piñata.

IN IT TO WIN IT!  Look at that face of determination!

Collecting their spoils.

One of the classes that most made me want to bash my head against the wall was the science class during which I had to teach them about the solar system. Here is a direct quote from the book: "In Roman mythology, Mercury is the god of commerce, travel, and thievery. Mercury is also known as Hermes, the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Thankfully a combination of my mad solar system drawing skills and making a "planet garland" took up most of the class.

Theeeee sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees.  Yoho its hot. The sun is not a place where we can live. But here on Earth there'd be no life without the light it gives.  (You can thank Ms. Horvath's 7th grade science class for that one.)

Putting together his garland.

Daniel, on the right, was baaaaaad but so so so cute.

Adorable girls.

Everyone wants a piece of the action.

Schmoozing for the camera.

During the other science period we made magnetic balloon darts, which had little to do with English, but were fun anyway.

Magnetic balloon darts unite!

Throwing their darts at the target.

Haha, alternate way to play, I guess.

Our other cooking class was making mini kimbap rolls.  That was pretty fun, but all the kids already knew how to do it.  I just hope that when I get home next year I can find kimbap making kits like the one we used.  Perhaps at some Korean grocery.  I know I'm going to miss chamchi (tuna) kimbap like its my job.

Nothing like a little teamwork to get the job done.

Mixing the rice with a little sesame oil and dried veggie packet.

Then you put the rice on a piece of kim, or dried seaweed.

Next, add your veggies and fillings.

Then roll it up and enjoy!

Today we had our last few classes before having a closing ceremony.  Par for this weeks' course, I had no idea what was going on and just quietly seethed most of the ceremony.  One of my girls burst into tears because she couldn't remember her part, the idiot Korean teacher made fun of her ON THE MICROPHONE, and I was just super glad it was over!  I am going to write a letter expressing my displeasure and send it to the hagwon coordinator and my co-teachers.  I mean, the kids and school pay for this program, you damn well better believe it should have been run better.

Awesome project one of my little ones made for the closing ceremony.  Yup, that's me in the blue holding the piñata on a stick!   

Two of my girls presenting their work.

Solar system show offs!

Goodbye Sincheon Winter English Camp...I shall not miss thee.

Outside of school some various interesting things happened this week.  A corgi ran around in the subway station on Wednesday morning, confusing the crap out of me and some Koreans. I still do not know where he came from, or where he went...but he was a sweetheart so I hope he found his owner.  Tonight I got to meet up with 5/7 of the Dasi Hamkke project girls (Changhye, Rachel, Kate, Erica and I were there physically, while Julia and Hannah were there in spirit) and get my hands on a copy of our book!  A full year in the making, hours and hours of love and effort went into that project.  It is so gratifying to have the actual, beautiful book in my hands!  If you're living in Korea and would like a FREE copy, click here and follow the directions.  It is an absolutely worthwhile read, I promise!


I will be meeting Carin in less than seven hours (ouch) to hop on the airport bus that will spirit us away to Incheon, from which we will depart for a week in Taiwan. I am very excited, and ready to be in ever so slightly warmer weather.  Catch you on the flipside, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the boy in the puffy black vest. Congratulations on the book!!!