Following our enlightening yet thoroughly exhausting stay at the temple, we all braced for another week full of laughter and hard work with the elementary kids. From the moment they began to arrive, the 2 year difference between 6th and 8th became more and more apparent. Its amazing how many changes happen in those 2 years. The 6th graders were full of child-like energy and adventure. As soon as the kids started choosing English names in homeroom, I knew it was going to be an interesting week. I think my class had some of the most unique names at camp. Here’s the rundown:

Shampoo – this one just made me laugh at the randomness

Rinse – when she asked me how to spell this, it sounded like Linse which I assumed to be Lindsey. I promptly spelled out Lindsey on the board only to have her point to her hair and repeat Linse (Koreans get the ‘r’s and ‘l’s mixed up all the time). She said, “No, teacher! Hair, shampoo, linse.” To which I replied, “Ohhhhhh, you must mean Rinse!! Ok, here’s how you spell it.” It also should be noted that Shampoo and Rinse were best buddies after about 1 minutes of knowing each other. Obviously.

Mc.Doria – This little boy was the smartest in my class for sure. I asked him if his name meant anything in particular. Nope, he just liked it. My co-teacher asked him again in Korean which resulted in the same answer.

Indiana – The loudest and craziest kid in my class, he wasn’t necessarily the smartest but he tried constantly to speak English. Other teachers told me he would introduce himself and then hum the Indiana Jones theme song.

Obama – This one wasn’t too surprising for me. I’m pretty sure there was at least one at every camp.

Some other names not in my class included: Florida, Big Show, Place, Human, Nicole (a boy), Ya, Gotti, and Everest (the biggest kid at camp).

Homeroom: Ruthie, Shampoo, Rinse, Top, Meagan, Addison, Juliet, Me, John-Alex, Tom, Obama, Indiana, Mc.Doria, Alexander

My lesson was Home Life. We went over things like family members and how to describe them, pretty easy for me AND the kids.

Some of the boys at the ‘western meal’…complete with kimchi and pickled radish.

In case you weren’t aware, bugs in South Korea are on steroids. We’re not talking la cucaracha size, we’re talking small-rodent-eat-you-in-your-sleep size. The kids, of course, loved them much to the teachers’ dismay. They would catch them in the hallways or outside during breaks and then put them in our faces hoping for a shock-and-awe reaction. We quickly figured this out and learned not to make it a big deal. If you gave an American kid a razor blade, you might have a massacre on your hands. Korean kids, however, carry them around in their pencil cases (also to the American teachers’ dismay) to sharpen their pencils. With the abundance of plastic water bottle sitting around and their handy dandy razor blades, the kids figured out how to make little homes for their new beetle friends. They came to class with little terrariums full of grass, rocks, and even candy in case the little critters got hungry between breaks.

For Camp Idol, my class did “All You Need is Love” by none other than The Beatles. With the help of my co-teacher, I made posters with “All You Need is Love” written in 12 different languages. I was most proud of the Arabic. 🙂

Meagan, she was the teacher’s pet all week.

Break-time at Myungshin…just how I want to remember it.

Post-camp, we had an appreciation dinner with the Governor. I think they could have served us absolutely anything and we would have been overjoyed after 10 days of Korean cafeteria food. This was glorious.

I finally got a picture with Governor Park.

One of the most memorable moments for me was after Golden Bell. Golden Bell is a very popular game show in Korea and we recreated it using questions from each of our lessons. Every kid in camp participated through several rounds until one winner was left. The kids all get very nervous and their fierce competitive sides came out in full force. Mc.Doria, my class captain made it to the final 2. It came down to the last question and I watched him write his answer nervously as the other 142 kids and staff looked on. The finalists showed their answers and I quickly realized Mc.Doria came in 2nd. I honestly couldn’t care less about Golden Bell but I saw the disappointment on his face. He buried his head in his hands and I wondered if he might be crying. We were all clapping and cheering for him and the other boys in my class went up to him to congratulate him on 2nd place. They were patting him on the back and then picked him up just like they do in the movies with the sports hero. I bawled like a baby and how sweet the boys were.

Elementary camp was more challenging but easier in some ways then middle school camp. I didn’t get as close with the elem. kids and communication was definitely harder at times. My lesson was very easy though and I wasn’t nearly as stressed out about everything. By the end, I was thoroughly exhausted but so grateful for the experience I was able to have teaching these little Koreans kids little things about English. 🙂

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