This past winter I decided to be a bit ambitious and work multiple camps during my January break. If I wasn’t doing this I would be sitting at my desk all day staring at walls. I thought it’s a more productive and better opportunity to help out at other schools. It also lets me see other teaching styles and how I can use those new skills to make myself a better teacher.
Younghwa is a small private elementary school in Incheon. The camp was a week-long and we were each given a class of students as our home room. My home room was a mix of students between the second and fourth grade.
Because this school was doing a reading camp the students were divided by reading level instead of grade level. It was an interesting mix and it was fun to great the students. One of the nice perks was that each day we had different activities to do with the students.
Lunch and snacks were also provided by the school for the week.
It was my first time doing a reading camp. I was not sure what to do or how to teach them reading. The first day I went too far in the book. I realized it was a mistake and then changed my plan the following day.
I taught two different books, The Little Mermaid, and Puss in Boots. I made a few worksheets and also a few games to play with the students. It was their first time playing sleeping elephants and they really enjoyed it. I realized that a reading camp can be a lot of fun, too.
One of my favorite activities was making science rockets with the students. I thought it would be pretty easy, but trying to keep 12 students on task with no helpers was quite hard. I had to go and check each students taping job. Repeatedly, I would have to fix it and show them how to do it again. My class was one of the slowest classes to finish building their rockets. One of the reasons being the Korean teachers forgot to come help my class out. So as they came in to say, “You need to hurry up!” I looked at her and said, “We are going as fast as we can. But I haven’t had any help for the last two periods. I’m doing the best I can by myself.”
Luckily, we finished building our rockets and headed outside for blast off. It was so rewarding to see the students blast their rockets off.
The last day of camp had required quite a bit of setup the night before, but it was well worth it. We had a closing ceremony that day and all the stickers the students had been collecting for the week could be used at the shops in the school.
There was a restaurant, stationery store, and market. I worked the market with one other teacher, and we would ask the students what they were looking for and they had to ask, “How much is it?” Towards the end of the day a few kids were begging for us to give them extras. And a few of them got it. It was a very different experience than to the camps I usually teach. I was also pleasantly surprised when they said that they would like me and the other teacher who had helped out to come back during other camps to work. The students and the staff really enjoyed working with us. It was a great experience to learn and grow!