“So Hot” Winter Camp 2012

If you end up working for a public school in Korea, you are definitely going to teach some sort of English camp. English camps are roughly around 3 weeks after each academic semester. Most teachers have to host camps by themselves at their own schools with a co-teacher or two (if you’re lucky). It’s usually from 9am to 12pm with a provided snack time. I have heard of camps from 1pm to 4pm as well. Camp hours are also usually broken up into two parts: one part lesson-based lesson (grammar exercise or conversation practice) and the other being an activity-based lesson (arts+crafts or science experiments). Each class is about 10 or so students!

What I love about camp is that you just have to prepare 3 hours of material and you have a smaller amount of students. Note: same students everyday! You finally get to interact more personally with the kids and even learn their names… Haha. It’s also nice to work with students who choose to be there. Well, you might get some that were forced by their parents, but it still weeds out most of the ones who REALLY don’t want to be there. 😛

My school is in the Gangdong-gu district (Southeast Seoul) and our area actually hosts district middle school English camps. That means that our district is divided in to groups of 9 schools and all of the foreign teachers from the 9 individual ones get together to host one camp. It’s a great way to meet other teachers in your area and honestly, it’s just really nice to head to work and have other teachers there to chat/talk/whine with!

Teaching district camp is made easier since each Native English Teacher (NET) from Gangdong-gu must submit one lesson-based lesson to our district NET. The top 17 lessons are chosen, a book is made, and on the first day of camp, you have all those lessons prepared for you to teach for the next three weeks. Whoo! We also rotate our classes during the activity-based lessons so that the students can be taught by a wide array of teachers.

Here is an example of the schedule for our district camp:

8:30 am
– Teachers arrive at the designated school to prepare all necessary items for the day’s lesson.
– Reality: We roll in around 8:40 and drink coffee/eat toast as we all chat about which lesson to teach that day. Teachers will pair off to do certain lessons so that we can give feedback or advice on that particular lesson the next day.
9:00 – 10:20am (1st Session = Lesson-based Lesson)
– Teachers will teach an 80 minute lesson. This lesson is 50 minutes of teaching any type of English based lesson and 30 minutes of a writing activity.
– Reality: We all usually spend the first 10 minutes or so taking attendance and playing some sort of intro game. I split my 80 minute lesson into a 45 minutes, then a 10 min break, and then teach for another 25 minutes. If you have a really great lesson, time flies!
10:20 – 10:50am (Snack Time!)
– Teacher is responsible for making sure the students receive their snacks and stay in the classroom until the next session.
– Reality: Kids can stay in the classroom and mess around on the computer or go visit their friends in the other rooms. We all kinda escape to the breakroom to chit chat. Hahaha.
10:50 – 12:00pm (2nd Session = Activity-based Lesson)
– Each class will rotate to a different teacher during this time and will partake in the activity prepared by that specific teacher.
– Reality: This is the fun part of camp as it isn’t based on teaching, more like playing with the kids in English. We teach them card games, board games, show clips of shows, draw things, or do experiments like egg drop. It’s actually really fun and you get to interact with other kids in the school. Oh, and we usually just end it around 11:45am. *evil laugh*

I’m working on my 3rd camp this year and due to budget cuts, we probably won’t have a fourth and I will probably end up teaching the next one alone. However, it’s definitely an amazing experience every time and I am actually disappointed that we were told so many negative things about English camps during our orientation. English camp is probably what encourages me to continue teaching in Korea. You also start to bond with the kids since you see the same ones every day and well, it’s not hard at all. I would rather teach camp every day of the year and get out at noon!

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