Working an “English Village” for our school was an interesting experience. For one night and two days we were essentially camp counselors, wholly responsible for about 10 Korean children. Anderson’s boys were from the Dongnae COREM, while Liz’s girls primarily came from the Haeundae school. The EV was held outside Yangsan, which is Busan’s only suburb, so were about 20 minutes northwest of Busan out in the hills at a youth hostel. The rooms were nice enough, the food (all Korean of course) was actually much better than one might imagine cafeteria food for children to be, and the swimming pool – which was a Saturday afternoon activity – was quite wonderful.
Each team had a weather-based name (Anderson = Storm, Liz = Tornado) which we created a flag for, and in addition to team-building games like relay races and such, there were a plethora of other well-planned activities. Highlights included a short “hike” around the grounds with competitive activity stations set up, a King of Quiz event (that was a bit boring at times but still fun enough), a dress your counselor up night-time event (Anderson = rock star, Liz = princess, although her students decided she should be an evil one, which she definitely was!), and the previously mentioned swimming, which was very fun as it was basically 2 hours of throwing children in the water!
Being an English camp the children were highly discouraged from speaking Korean, so we had stickers to reward them for not doing so, as well as for when the won games, etc. On Saturday morning we had a COREM Town, with stations (Hotel, Hospital, Pharmacy, Post Office, Immigration Office, Bank) where they had to practice English conversation – albeit with a script. They then got COREM Money for completing each station, which they could then use to buy food, snacks, and stationary supplies at the COREM Store. So all the kids got piles of stuff, but the best part was the teachers did as well!
We also had time with the kids in our rooms, where we just talked or played silly word games, or whatever filler was necessary until the next planned event. While the two days were very exhausting, they were certainly enjoyable and we got to know our kids quite well in a short amount of time. Not something we’d want to do every weekend, but given that is was a one-time event we were glad that we’d, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to volunteer our (paid) services :-).
Since then another “typical” week has flown by, Anderson has to go to school early tomorrow to do the kindergartner’s monthly birthday party, which entails acting goofy for half-an-hour and passing out candy to those kids that can remember their “sight words.” Challenging stuff, indeed! Currently it is summer intensives (public school is out of session so our academy offers a plethora of additional courses), but we don’t have too many extra classes thankfully, however come September our entire work schedule is getting revamped. Bad news is no more split shift; good news is we change most of our classes – it gets tedious for the students AND the teacher when we’ve all been together for a few months – and we’ll finish our day at least one class (45 minutes) earlier.
Insert Your Cheesy Ending Here
Anderson & Liz