Monday, July 26, 2010

3 Week English Interment Camp

Tomorrow is the last day of camp. The last day of this long, long, long English camp. How long you ask? Everyday for the last three weeks, Saturdays and Sundays included. When this camp was first explained to me,--how the teachers would have to stay on campus, on a remote part of Incheon, and teach everyday for three weeks-- I questioned who would ever sign up for such an ordeal. Once it was explained to me how much money those teachers would receive, my hand shot up in the air to volunteer before my brain actually realized what I was doing.

So for the last three weeks I have been doing nothing but teaching, and the students have been doing nothing but learning. We're all a little burnt out by now but that's to be expected. This is a dry campus. At first this camp idea sounded like a farce to drag people to rehab. A secluded spot, where one must remain sober for three weeks? C'mon. Still, this self imposed drying out has taken it's tole on the students more than the teachers. In blog writing class, one student wrote: "We should drink a little beer, if not a lot." I find this to be very poetic. We also caught a few students drinking beer in one of the classrooms the other night. OK, they snuck some beers; I understand that, but why did they drink it in the classrooms? I guess they're bigger nerds than I thought.

For me, the biggest hang up has been the food. I've had rice with fish, fish with rice, rice with rice; rice with fish and spam; rice with fish and fake spam (and you thought regular spam was bad); fish with spam, spam and spam. All of this has taken it's tole on my system and I'm beginning to think that drinking Drano might not be a bad idea.

Still, I'm getting in shape. I've been playing badminton and basketball every night with the students. Terrible thing is I get schooled by them every night as well. I take 'um to school during the day and they take me to school at night.

For the most part though, the camp has been great. The students are eager and they ask a lot of questions. In our debate class, one group was arguing about which superhero would win on a blind date (okay, it's not the most serious topic). One student tried to explain that Batman has a variety of vehicles so he could take his date wherever she wanted to go. The student wrote: "Batman can ride his girl whenever he wants." I was proud to have caught and corrected that mistake before it made it to the final performance.

Yes, camp has been a learning experience for everyone. It's been exciting, fun, fulfilling, and rewarding. On this all the teachers agree, almost as much as we agree that it sure will be nice to get the hell out of here.

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