(This post was written Sunday night, another update coming…camp is CRAZY busy!)
The last few days have been a whirlwind of craziness. The Korean co-teachers finally arrived so we learned who we would be teaching with during our camps. I met my co-teachers for the middle school and elementary school camps. Both of them are amazing and I’m so excited to hang out with them more and teach together. My middle school co-teacher studied in Vancouver for 10 months and has traveled in the US so her English is very good. She’s also really talkative and has a lot more experience teaching than I do. She taught in an English academy in Korea for 2 years and plans to teach English as a career. She said her dream was to become a government interpreter. We’re really a lot a like. We’ve had time the last few days to go over the lessons. All of the curriculum is already written and its pretty straight forward. I would say the biggest challenge for me is learning how to teach with a co-teacher. I think I would actually be more comfortable teaching on my own but its hard to balance teaching with two people. The trainers have really emphasized that they want both roles to be equal because they want the kids to see older Koreans speaking English comfortably and confidently.
I’m really excited for our middle school lesson, we’re teaching directions. Basically we’re going over basic vocab like ‘turn left’, ‘turn right’, etc. Another lesson is a treasure hunt, which will be a lot of work to set up but probably the most fun. The goal of the lesson seems to be that if a foreigner came up to them on the street and asked them directions, they would be able to communicate. Preparing for the lessons is surprisingly a lot of work. Although we have step by step instructions on how to teach it, each set of co-teachers is responsible for making the posters, flash cards, and preparing all the materials needed. It’s a lot of drawing pictures and making posters.
We haven’t had much time to go over our elementary school lessons since the middle school camp is first. I think the planning for that will be more on our own so we’ll have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.
Another cool thing….so I had a Korean language partner at Mizzou last fall. One night I invited her and some of her friends to my apartment to cook me dinner. I met about 3-4 of her friends and they made me kimchi pancakes. When the Korean co-teachers came in the other day, I recognized 2 of her friends. To make it even better, they were both assigned to my camp in Wando and one of them is my co-teacher for elementary school. Its not such a crazy thing considering the close relationship Mizzou has with the Korean universities but it was still pretty cool.
Last night, Sunday, the head Koreans gave us a nice dinner and party. I tried something close to Korean BBQ, basically BBQ pork with no BBQ sauce. They also bought beer for us so we learned some Korean drinking games. They were sooo much fun. The Koreans were really into it and it was funny having them explain the rules to us. We all went upstairs to the big karaoke machine and did karaoke for like 3-4 hours. It was NUTS!!! The Koreans were sooo into it with their dancing and singing. Most of the songs they sang were in Korean and the girls knew all the dances to them. The Americans sang the classics like N’SYNC, Britney Spears, and some classic rock songs. Someone said the difference between Americans and Koreans is that the Americans know they can’t sing and the Koreans don’t know they can’t sing. It was definitely a memorable experience.
Today, everyone had lunch with the governor of the Jeollanam-do province. The governor spoke English really well and gave a nice opening speech. He referenced the current situation with North Korea and pointed out how important the US-S Korea alliance is. He referred to the kids of the province as his own and asked the American teachers to do our best to help them gain confidence in English and learn about American culture. I think a lot of us forget how priveliged we are to speak English natively. A lot of us here maybe take for granted that we are here. The provincial government paid for 70 of us to come to their province and teach their children English. We obviously have a very important role and they are counting on us to provide a service to their children. I hope I don’t fail them.