Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

Archive for the ‘Winter Camp 2011’ Category

Snow Post acting as a Snow Dance.

Snow. You always want it when you can’t have it, and want it gone when it persists. Here in Daegu, snow is somewhat rare. Not counting last year where it snowed quite a bit and for an extended period of time… None the less, I want some snow! I want to walk and see my foot prints. I want to make a SNOWMAN! I want to see the city turn white. I want to see it slow down a bit. I explained the concept of a snow dance to a couple of 5th graders yesterday…I hope that they really understood me and did their part. I certainty did.

School is out, but the kids don’t really get a break. I see kids out and about, at school, heading to their hagwons. None of them are just playing or relaxing. Neither am I! I have 3 weeks of winter camp and I have already finished 1. It went really well. I am starting to get the hang of camp! It is now week 2 where I am teaching the beginners alone. They are all 3rd graders with a few 4th graders. We are studying about winter. Today revolved alllllllllllllllllllllll around snow. We read this book:

This book is about how a little boy begins to see a few snowflakes but everyone around him is doubting the snow. As he says “Snow doesn’t listen to the radio. Snow doesn’t watch T.V.”

Counting the snowflakes.

The kids listening to Snow.

So I am hoping that this post acts as yet, another snow dance. As I started this post it was snowing, tiny little flakes. Since then it has stopped : / We got a few hours of snow on New Years Day but it didn’t stick anywhere except peoples cars. If you have snow please, send some my way!!! Next weekend I will be going up north in Gangwon province to an Ice Fishing Festival. It looks really exciting and FULL of snow! Jeff might even jump in freezing water to go fishing…aka CATCH a fish. ahh!


UPDATE: 10 minutes after writing this post THIS is what I saw out of my window…   ; )

Outside of my bedroom window. : )

Can you see the snowflakes in the light?


I CAN teach. Wow, I needed an affirmation.

Winter camp was so much fun! While other native teachers were cursing their 1 week of camp I was “yes-uh”ing to 3 full weeks. It was so great that I didn’t want regular school to start back up…

After the feeling of success from week 1; I had 2 more full weeks. This is when the drama started to kick in. My winter camps were project-based. After I finished my first week of camp she told me that I should have collected all of the projects from the students to show the principal what we did. In addition to showing the principal another reason she said was so that I could keep it for an open class. At the open class I could put all of the materials out on a table to show people…

I said; “I can’t, they are not my projects to take. They belong to the students.”

Her response- “Well, I think that they would love to give it to you if you say something like ; “Who wants to be a helper of English?” “Who wants to give me your projects?”

Yeah, I am sure they would give them to me, but I don’t think its right to ask them. All they want to do is ‘please’ the teacher so they will comply and give them up. To me, taking their projects away from them says- this wasn’t really that important. This issue kept lingering but I found ways around it.

  • I asked the class who wanted to help make the same projects during their free time- but as a group. So it could serve as an example and it would display a couple different examples of student work. My co teacher was a little irritated and still insisted that I take their work but I stood true to my belief.

I don’t blame her though, the projects were pretty cool:

A book cover for a book displaying their likes and dislikes.

A family tree.








English camp!


Self-portrait. I look like..../ I like...








I like/ I don't like...


I don't like boys. Ohh 4th grade.





5th and 6th grade camp highlights…


Passport-6th grade.

Day of the Dead Art.

One example of the passport that we used to document all the “places” we went.




Self-portrait- 5th grade.

Self-portrait- 6th grade.

To the left-He decided to depict himself as dead in his self-portrait- “like grandfather!” he says.

To the right-She was a camper this week, but this girl saved my life as one of my teachers aids.





Musical chairs- 5th and 6th grade.


Musical Chairs to Colombian music while shakin’ our maracas. FUN!!

World Map- how we tracked where we were going in the world.

Now that its over and school has started back up I feel so much more confident teaching English. I think that the students now have confidence in me as well, and that means a lot. I look forward to Summer Camp!

20 3rd grade Korean Students. Me. 2 6th grade Korean ‘Teachers Aids.’ Ahh Winter Camp ^^

Winter vacation is over and done with but it was a whole mess of fun. The whole month of January and most of February Korean students and teachers are on break. Aside from the couple of teachers who come to the school to “keep it from being stolen,” no one comes to school. This is where Native English teachers come in handy. We are required to come to school everyday whether or not you have a class to teach. You might be asking yourself- what do you do then? Well my friend, welcome to Korea, where deskwarming is a part of our professional job. Many people have blogged about this before, my friend Erin talks of her deskwarming conflicts in her blog. Anyways, this is not the point- but I am deskwarming RIGHT NOW.

During Winter vacation I did not have to desk warm because I was crazy busy with my own winter camp.  I was given full responsibility for 3 weeks of winter camp. I would not have a Korean teacher there for those tough language barrier experiences. Well, I had a KT there twice a week, but…she saw it as my camp so stayed away. Whatever. I was determed to show my entire school that I can teach. Before WC started I got so many looks of pitty. “By herself?,” they would say. “Oh good luck.” “How will you discipline?” “How will you blah blah blah…?” The same way I do with every class- make sure they know what their expectations are. I had a week before WC started officially at school and I was busy rearranging the room from a rigid in rows type of feel to a group vibe.

One group. Yes they are still in rows.

Wall of helpful phrases. This saved my life- I used it too!

I was able to set up the room pretty much however I wanted. I wanted groups, stations and an accessible library. I set up a system for game check out and gave students about 30-40 minutes at the end of the day for some choice time.


My co teacher and my four 6th grade assistants helped me to compile this list of useful phrases. My co teacher wants to keep it during school- yay! So onward I went for 3 full weeks of camp from 9-12:10 every day.

Week1- 3rd graders. Oh boy was I nervous for the first day of Winter Camp. It’s not like I hadn’t overly prepared for it but I really didn’t know what to expect. I had prepared something for them to do when they showed up, so the students had something to transition themselves into camp. They all learned how to write their names in English by the end of the week because every morning they practiced writing their name about 10 times. The theme for this week was- me, me, me! Some highlights from camp can only be followed up by their adorable pictures. My words wouldn’t do them justice.

Tracing each other while studying body parts, they thought I was CRAZY for suggesting this.

Self- portrait from the beginner camp.

We had a nice batch of snow : ) We wanted to make a snowman together!

Don't be fooled. She wanted to throw that at someone.

Studying 'likes' and 'dislikes.'

I do not like what...

Oh, I don't like bags= bugs!

I know its crooked, but he does not like crows...he hates the sound that they make.

This song was learned about different ways to answer the question- "Hello, how are you?"

The first closing ceremony of Winter Camp.

I didn’t want this group to leave. By Wednesday we were all in a groove and I got to know them all a lot better! Even though we had a language barrier we all had our laughs and little class inside jokes. It was a nice feeling. I miss having one group of students to teach all day- makes me really miss Mrs. Taber and our 2nd graders last year. I didn’t have too much time to think about how much I would miss this group because I had to get ready for the 4th graders next week!

Hey, I went to China.

Trying to get the classic "I'm jumping and am at the Great Wall of China" picture but couldn't master it. Anyways, I went to the Great Wall of China!

More on that later, coming up:

*Winter Camp SUCCESS

*Top 5 good’s and bad’s in my experience (yes, Beamish, thank you for your criticism I have been working hard compiling lists.)

*Jeff and Shaynaynay got to Beijinggggggggg! HIIII-YAA~

I should have a lot of time at school in the near future since I can not plan for the upcoming new year since I don’t know what the “new” textbook looks like so I should be nursing my blog.

Winter Camp. 영어 캠프

I’ve read about.

I’ve hear about it.

The stress.

The anxiety.

The madness!!!!

Winter English Camp. NET’s are responsible for this camp, and I guess for the first time ever the Korean teachers do not need to be at the camp. Interesting for me since I teach 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade in elementary school. I rely on my Korean co-teachers to help with understanding and to get the blank stares to go away. For 3 weeks I will be solo, ‘teaching English’ to 3 groups of 20 students; all of whose English proficiency differs widely.

First thing- I was told I need to make a schedule for Winter Camp. Soon that turned into a schedule and a booklet. This booklet I thought was just an outline, something to show the principal that I was working on it. After two days of working on it, I found out that it was the workbook/guidebook for the camps. Shit! I have to make 3 workbooks in 1 week!!! Each different levels and differing subjects. I could do nothing else but panic. For a week, I lived, ate and breathed in Winter Camp. I did not do my homework for Korean class, I did not go to the gym- I just planned, planned and made a workbook!!!!!!!!! Somehow, I pulled it off. Friday night I finished and e-mailed it to my co-teacher.


9:00-9:20 Routine, Key phrases and Vocabulary

9:20-10:20 Teaching subject (“class”)

10:20-10:40 Snack and Break time

10:40-11:00 Story time

11:00-12:10 Game/ Movie/ Choice time/ Free time/ Arts and Craft- whatever!

I had a hard time deciding how to divide the time and kinds of things to do. I found this blog- Kimchi Icecream and she talks about how she set up her Winter Camp. She brought up great points like; it is 4 hours of English. They are not used to such a long time having to think in English. I wanted there to be time to be free, less structured. I know that they wont be used to it, but hey, they wont be used to just having me as their teacher either! A lot to get used to haha.

Below I have given a couple examples of my workbook. I found out that I get paid for making sheets for camp. Strange incentive- “We want you camps to be fun but we will pay you if you make worksheets.” ??? Where is the logic. The catch is- it is capped at 10. I made 3 workbooks 1 17 pages, 2 19 pages. intermediate and advanced are very similar but still!!!

The front page to my workbook. : )

Table of Contents and the Camp Rules. I left space so that they could put examples or maybe even some sort of translation into Korean to help remind them.

Example of the layout of the book. This is the intermediate book Day 1.

Although I am ‘finished’ with the workbook, I have a long road ahead of me. I plan to use this workbook as only a guide. I would be bored to death if this was the only thing we were doing. They will be doing more interactive lessons and to appease my co-teacher I added a little box at the end of lessons so that they could record in some way what they learned. I want them to making something with their hands- not doodling in a workbook.

The Issues:

Other teachers at the school have expressed how “concerned” or “worried,” they are about me at English camp. I am not that concerned- I am way more excited. All of this “worry” is giving me a complex and making me feel like I should worry more? I have done camps for years. I know how to run a camp- let me try it people! Stop projecting your fears onto me. My co-teacher doesn’t want to plan or have much to do with the Winter Camp but her stressing about WC is stressing me out. She asks me nit picky questions like; “What will you do when a 3rd grader is doing (blank) and another is doing (blank)? What will you say exactly? What will you do exactly?”

Seriously? I can’t plan for that, all I can do is put in place an infrastructure that the student will KNOW what will happen to them if they do (blank) and another does (blank.) I think it will be a breath of fresh air for them to have some sort of consistency at school.

In short, I am super excited about Winter Camp and everyone else can get an ulcer while I am getting stickers and glitter. After Winter Camp I am off to a Daegu orphanage and then to Beijing for Lunar New Year : )

Happy Birthday to my dear friend; Merlyn!!! : ) Miss you and love you!

Also, Happy late Birthday to; Candi and Seany!! ❤ you and miss you two as well!!