Day in the Life: English Camp
This particular day in my life was Monday. The first day of the second week of English Camp. Week one was all grade one students and it was a breeze. There were 13 students total and only two boys. I had two of my favorite students in the entire school in that class and we good time.
This week though, is grade two and three students. I have been nervous about how this week will go considering my usual struggles with the older kids, but those nerves proved to be in vain.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?
My alarm went off bright and early at 6:30 Monday morning and I may have pushed the snooze button a few times before getting out of bed around 6:50. I put some oatmeal, the most recent love of my life, on the stove and got the water boiling for my coffee. I got ready, enjoyed my breakfast, and was out the door coffee in hand at about 8:20.
During summer vacation I have to be at work at 8:30 instead of 8:20, so yay ten extra minutes in the morning!
It’s still abominably hot these days so, as per usual, I arrived at the office completely sweaty and out of breath from the giant hill and imposing stairs that I always have to climb. My first order of business in the morning is always to plug-in my mini desk fan. I don’t know what I would do without it.
On this morning one of my co-teachers had brought in some bread and snacks for everyone and so we made some coffee and sat down to enjoy that together.
This is still one of my favorite parts of Korean school culture. My head teachers are constantly telling us to come sit down and eat something. And 99.99% of the time I am willing to oblige. The other .1% is when I’m still full from the last thing they told me to eat.
We took our time with the snacks as no one had anything incredibly pressing to do. My co-teacher and I don’t start English camp until 1:00 in the afternoon and the other teachers either only have 2 classes for the day or are there on a compulsory summer “office day.” So the atmosphere is significantly calmer than the usual craziness we’re surrounded by at school.
I spent the morning tweaking my lessons for the older kids and preparing some more backup material in the event that the worst should happen.
After I finished up most of that I decided to study Korean. I’ve actually been really good about studying grammar lately, and I feel like my Korean has improved quite a bit in the past month or so. So maybe I’m just finally getting to be a little more confidant so I’m not completely terrified to start conversations with people.
But either way I wanted a little break from the straight grammar stuff so I opened up a book that I had started trying to read in Korean a while ago. The book is The Giver, which I’m very familiar with in English. I bought it about 3 months ago and had given up because I had basically ended up just having to translate every single word, and even then the sentence structure was still too hard for me to understand the meaning.
But this time I found that I needed to translate significantly fewer words and when I did I could actually understand how they fit into the sentence! Yay progress!
You can see the difference between the page on the left and the one on the right.
It’s still incredibly tedious but I enjoy it.
Around noon we ordered Chinese delivery and ate it quickly before heading up to the English room to start camp at 1:00.
I was nervous to see how the vibe would be, because of my usual difficulties with the older students. But almost immediately my worries were put to rest.
I tend to forget how many awesome grade 3 students I have because of how difficult their classes can be for me. But here were all the kids who wanted to sign up for English camp. They are here because they actually want to be.
The difference between grade one students and grade three students is huge and so it was fun to be able to o the same lesson again, but with older kids. Kids who actually know something about the world and life. Also I was surprised yet again by well they can speak English. These kids, who are by and large all the sweet, reserved, but hardworking type, often get lost in my big crazy classes where I’m trying to wrangle the 30 other unmotivated students.
All that to say the day went very well. Very relaxed, nothing too crazy or special, but it was fun. They got along well with us, with each other, and they actually stayed engaged with the topic the entire time. A solid win in my book.
Camp finished around 4:30 and then I had plans with two of my co-teachers to go out for dinner after work.
We ended up getting Mexican food and it was amazing. I don’t get to eat a lot of (non-Asian) international food here so it was a treat.
After eating one of my co-teachers suggested we get desert at a place she knew nearby that had tiramisu bingsu so we headed over there.
And holy cow it was incredible.
Bingsu is basically just very very finely shaved ice with some flavors and toppings. And it’s incredibly popular in Korea, especially in these hot summer months. But this was probably the best one I’ve ever had. It was like eating a refreshing tiramisu cloud.
We stayed in that café for a long time and talked about all kinds of things. Sometimes in English and sometimes they would get started talking about something Korean and I would try to keep up and listen. It was really fun, and good to spend some time with them outside of work.
Eventually we decided to leave and my co-teacher dropped me back off at my place.
It was a very chilled Monday. Nothing too crazy but I hope you enjoyed getting another little glimpse to into a typical day for me.
Hope wherever you’re reading this you’re having an equally relaxing day. Thanks for reading!