This past weekend I went on a little trip to Sokcho, which is on the east coast of Korea. It was a pretty tiring yet relaxing weekend, the way those little trips can sometimes be. We stayed in a "condo," which is Konglish for basically, a hotel-like resort where the rooms have little kitchenettes. Cooked several delicious meals. Went to the beach on Saturday and got pretty sunburned. Checked out an awesome Buddhist temple Saturday afternoon/evening. Sunday after breakfast we went and hiked Seorak Mountain. Then went down to this fishing area and ate... well, I'm going to tell you all of this in another post anyway, as well as put up some pictures, so we'll leave that part for later. =) My camera is currently in Mi Sun's car, so the pictures will have to wait. Also, she and her friends Yu Sun and Ji Sun (easy enough to remember, right?) got way more pictures than I did, so I need to do some consolidation. But rest assured, pictures will be up soon.
First things first, though: the English Camp I did at Buwon High School! This was, as you may or may not remember, an English Conversation class with 18 9th-graders from all over the Icheon city area. These kids were obviously smart, and for the most part really well-behaved. I had a lot of fun with this camp. It's so much easier to deal with kids who can understand most of what I'm saying -- I think I'd do much better in a high school setting than in my current job, but it's all about expanding my horizons, right? Anyway, back to the lecture at hand. The camp, first off, was crazy. Two weeks of English and Math. Apart from my class, they were mostly preparing for high school entrance exams, which will hopefully allow them to get into some of the more prestigious private schools around. So, from what I could gather, they would wake up around 5:30 every morning, have mandatory exercise and self-study time, then basically do English, Math, English, Math, lunch, English, Math, English, Math, dinner, English, Math, English, Math, self study, and in bed by 1 or 2 in the morning. Oh, and I think there was occasionally some golf thrown in as well(?). Sounds like an awesome way to spend your summer vacay, no? Well, the upshot of this was that my class at 8:30 in the morning frequently turned into nap time. I mean, I did wake them up and all, but I tried to be understanding about it. Two solid weeks of only a few hours sleep each night will take its toll on anybody I guess, but especially 15 year olds.
So, mostly we just played games. Amanda, I took your suggestion and busted out some theatre improv-type warmup games... which they inevitably complained about as being too hard. I also made them write and perform scripts for TV news-style interviews... that was pretty much a disaster. We talked about different types of events that are often covered on the news, either local (which I'm not entirely sure they even have here, to be honest) or national. Then the reporter was supposed to give us the facts (answering the "w" question words, of course) and then he/she would interview an eyewitness or two. I guess, it wasn't totally bad. One group covered the Harry Potter premier in London... another a Big Bang concert in Tokyo. One group reported on why the air conditioning wasn't working in our classroom, which was actually pretty funny. I think, perhaps, my expectations were a little high going in, and they actually did a pretty good job. And yes, I did just talk myself into that conviction, thanks for asking.
I also used a lot of conversation starter questions I found on this kickass ESL website to get them talking with each other. Made things much easier for me, as I could just kick back and observe. I mean, it was actually pretty easy.
I had meant to make this longer, but Mi Sun's coming over for lunch in a few minutes and I need to get ready. More updates coming soon, and this time I do promise. Come back soon!