Lately I’ve been pretty busy doing Winter English Camp. This keeps me occupied most days from 9 in the morning till between 4:30 and 7 at night, depending on how much prep work I have to do for the next day. Entertaining various groups of Korean elementary students for 3 hours is fairly exhausting to say the least. The whole thing is pretty entertaining and silly. It borders somewhere between educational and down right neglect. This is surprising since I didn’t even know those two things bordered each other. Anyways, I thought I’d give you a look into what the camp looks like with a running diary.
Winter Camp -Day 5 of 15: Directions and Maps.
7:40 – Lurch forward in bed as my alarm clock does it’s best Godzilla impersonation 2 feet from my face.
7:41 – Realize I’m not being attacked by a giant lizard and discontinue thrashing bed. Snooze is hit.
7:49- 8:20 – Repeat. Insert various rationalizations for waking up later and later. Excuses such as “I just washed my hair two days ago,” and “my uneven stubble makes me look like a young George Michael.”
8:21 – Crawl out of bed. Check Facebook.
8:50 – Arrive at school. Complain that coffee isn’t ready for me. Nobody is around to listen. Check Facebook.
8:55 – Students begin to arrive. I leave the classroom to get water for making coffee.
9:00 – Winter camp starts.
9:05 – Return with water for making coffee. Check ESPN for basketball scores.
9:10 – Kids are pissing me off. I tell them to sing a song I taught them yesterday…NOT “Wheels on the Bus.” Continue to Check ESPN…and Facebook. Drink Coffee.
9:15 – Finish Coffee. I join students as they sing “Who stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?” I sing really loud.
9:25 – My Korean Co-teacher undermines my authority for the 1st time today.
9:30 – Practice tongue twister with students. I try really hard not to laugh.
9:40 – Go over vocabulary words for the day. I notice a fatherly smooth treble in my voice, mildly reminiscent of Dan Rather, when I read out loud and I am infatuated with the sound of it. Only if Dan was saying words and phrases like “Stand Up,” “Go Straight,” and “Turn Around” three times in a row while a group of 15 Korean students mimicked his every sound. This is extremely entertaining and I spend the next 15 minutes practicing different intonations trying to capture the essence of John Stossel as well as various impressions of sports announcers…they really like Dick Vitale.
9:55 – Play “Matthew Teacher” Says. The students have trouble figuring out what I mean when I say the phrase “Matthew Teacher Says…Stand Up,” even though I just spent 15 minutes practicing the phrase with them while doing my Dickie V impression. I decide that every student loses round 1 of “Matthew Teacher Says.” This makes me the winner. I eat some of the student’s prize candy. Laughing with chocolate in your mouth is rewarding.
10:00 – Round 2 of “Matthew Teacher Says.” As a test, I give all the instructions in my Dick Vitale voice. The students understand every direction. Oh god…what if they actually think this is what English is supposed to sound like?
10:15 – BREAK TIME!!!
10:16 – 10:26 – Spend 7 minutes slamming head against the stall in the mens bathroom. 3 minutes on Facebook.
10:28 – The first really smart thing my students do all day. Instead of asking me constantly what my phone number is they find my unpaid phone bill lying on my desk. I will spend the rest of the day pretending that my phone is not constantly vibrating in my pocket…”Really kids…that isn’t my number…someone else is calling me and I don’t want to pick up.”
10:29 – Korean Co-teacher undermines my authority. Actually, since this happens a few times lets just give it initials: KCTUMA…there, my fingers feel less stressed.
10:30 – Review “directions” vocab with students. As a game students are blindfolded and given instructions by another student. They must walk through a maze of chairs to find some prize candy. I use my time wisely…check Facebook.
10:50 – Students are given a mock street map with buildings. They must follow simple instructions to find their way to a pre-determined destination. I pretend that this is not just a more boring version of the activity we just barely did prior.
10:59 – Two students start shouting “Fuck You” at each other across the room. I give my best teacher look, the one they told me in college to practice in the mirror, I explain to them that they should not say that again and that I will not tolerate it one more time…they laugh. KCTUMA
11:00 – Time for the students to act out a short role play. I take out some costume materials for the students to use. One of these is a hat resembling something Michael Jackson once wore. I spend the next 15 minutes teaching the kids the significance of the Moon Walk and the song Billie Jean. I deem this an acceptable use of class time.
11:15 – One of the characters in the role play is a cow. For five minutes I demonstrate to the students how to make animal noises. I deem this an acceptable use of class time.
11:16 – A student yells out “Fuck” again. I ask co-teacher if I can remove him from class…I can not.
11:20 – the students perform a predictably sucky role play after spending their twenty minutes of practice time singing the base line to “Billie Jean” while I dance, working on Cow noises and yelling out “Fuck.” I take pictures of the students dressed up because it will look good in a portfolio some time in my future…video was suggested but I decided against it.
11:30 – KCTUMA
11:31 – There’s 30 minutes left till the end of the session. At this point I would deem yelling out “Fuck” to be an acceptable use of class time. I settle instead on singing “Wheels on the Bus.” The kids actually enjoy the song…my day is vindicated
11:45 – it’s close enough to 12…I let the students leave early so I can go to lunch. Some students try to stay around after and practice their English with me. I deem this an unacceptable use of class time.
10:50 – Check Facebook
12- 1: Lunch Time
1-4: Repeat morning lesson…because it went so well earlier.
Next day: Wheels on the bus for 3 hours straight and prescription medications.