I’ll try to be a little more succinct in my summary so as to not have like 50 parts. Today, we started the day by Cameron and I waking up at 6:50 in order to rouse the students from their sleep to go on our morning exercise. It really wasn’t a huge exercise. Basically walk half a mile around the camp. I jogged to see if that could inspire them to move quickly, but I think we were lucky that they were even up and moving.
After exercise and breakfast, we more classes. I was teaching about inventions as the decades was supposed to be 1860’s thru 1920’s or so. Basically we played hangman with a few different inventors (including my dad which stumped a couple of classes haha), listed a few important inventions, ranked them in order, and then we made our inventions. That part was fairly entertaining as I brought in some play-dough for them to form and shape into their invention. I got everything from a GPS that you put on your glasses to ear plugs that clean your ears. And, of course, they had to write about their invention and then present it to the class. It allowed them to be fairly creative but still have to use English to describe and innovate.
After classes we ate lunch. Then came a little hike. I thought we’d go to the woods or something, but we just walked around the neighborhood and ended up by a stream where they pushed a bunch of almost snowmen into the stream. Some of them were also trying to speak Korean still and since Ms. Jeon was very, very adamant that they speak English, we had to enforce it on the hike. I chose to enforce it by throwing snowballs at them if I heard them speak Korean haha.
When they finished hiking and their soccer break, they had another class or two. I wasn’t teaching this time so I zonked out for a bit. Got to catch up on some sleep! Then we had journal time where they wrote more of their body paragraphs and then dinner. Tonight in club class, we made lasagna and salad! Again, we had to improvise quite a bit due to the unavailability of an oven, but we made it work. Sort of. We had to put the lasagna in individual foil pans and then put those pans into one very large cauldron on top of the range. And we had to add water to the bottom of the cauldron so the lasagna wouldn’t burn. It was really strange, but it kind of worked. It had the same taste as lasagna (minus ricotta cheese since I don’t think there is any in Suncheon) but there wasn’t the normal crunch to it. And then Cameron and his football team invaded! They came and shared all of the food. My club didn’t mind, but I was annoyed. But I guess if they don’t care, I shouldn’t haha.
After the club activities, there was time for the students to rehearse their final performances. Each class was responsible for having a final performance for the last night so they were working away at them that night. They were trying to finish up since the presentation was tomorrow. After the hour (or more depending on the group!) of practicing, they had time to do whatever and the teachers did too! So I got to hang out with Kathy, Cameron, and Dianna so that was cool.
Getting the students up was a little bit rougher this time. They were really dragging. Even Cameron overslept a little today. Nevertheless, we went for our walk and had our stretch and breakfast. I taught my last class today. It was about the 1990’s boy bands and how it is somewhat similar to the K-pop frenzy of today, though most of my students don’t really seem to like k-pop, at least not the boy bands of it. But that’s okay because they went ahead and made their own bands! They had to form a group and choose different personas (The punk member, the heartthrob, the bad boy, etc.) and then write part of their first song. It was some nice comical relief with some of their songs (such as We are Handsome and Hunt the Dinosaur) and a nice way to wrap up my session with them. It was the last lesson that I had with my second graders!! They are moving onto the third grade and I do not teach them then since they have to devote all of their time to the suneung, the college entrance exam. I am going to be very sad to see them go! But I get to welcome a new bunch of first graders from the middle schools so hopefully that will go over well. I’ll meet them in March.
The next major activity was the Camp Olympics/Dutch Auction. Basically there were three teams of students and one team of Fulbright teachers and we competed in a variety of events ranging from singing a song in the others language (which Dianna rocked for Team Fulbright!!!) to the most push-ups performed in one minute. It was good, but it got a little tricky at the end because there were some issues with translations haha.
Then we had our last journal class and the students finished up their essays (or a few even started second essays!). I was so impressed by how they did. They don’t really teach writing very much in the normal English classes so to produce these great 5 paragraph essays was just wonderful. Some of them were actually better than some of my American students. I was really, really happy with how all of them turned out.
Then we had dinner and introduced Capture the Flag (or Ben’s brightly colored T-shirt in this particular case). None of them have ever played before, but they all really got into it and loved the game. How can’t you after all? It’s Capture the Flag!! Super awesome game. Afterwards, we had a campfire where we cooked hotdogs minus the bun since those don’t really exist in Suncheon and marshmallows. The only marshmallows that were there were jelly-filled so it was kind of strange. I didn’t have any.
Oh before that, we had the performances which were all pretty good. One group, which ended up being the best performance, did a video parody of Starcraft in English. I didn’t really get it since I don’t play the game, but Cameron plays and he was thoroughly enjoying himself. I liked it because it was just silly and funny but I wish I could have gotten their jokes! Another group did a song and dance and translated the Korean lyrics into English. The dance turned out really well! I was impressed. The last group did a mash-up of different movie parodies ranging from LOTR to Terminator. They were good too. The teachers and I were undecided as to who was better between the dance and the movie parody, but I don’t think it mattered in the long run.
After all of that was finished, the ETAs and the Korean teachers met one final time to decide who should get awards. The academic awards were pretty easy to decide since we based it off of their essays. The only one that was difficult was a case where Dianna and I were torn between two essays. We both had to agree since we team-taught the class, but neither of us were really budging. One essay was really well written but Dianna felt that it used the typical phrases memorized from a textbook whereas the other essay was a bit more creative and had a more genuine feeling, but I felt that it was not written as well as the other one. So Cameron had to break the tie for us. Then we had to sort out some of the other awards like leadership, character, etc. I was surprised at how many we gave out, but I guess it’s good for the students and their college applications and stuff.
Ugh. Too much! I’ll finish winter camp tomorrow or Saturday and then dive into my move to Busan! So far behind!! I’m getting there though!