from december 10th through the 14th, i was randomly picked to help lead a week of english camp, along with 3 other native english teachers. i was grumbling and dragging my feet about it, mainly because it was on my birthday week and i wouldn’t know anybody and i would miss david (you stay at the camp overnight). and i thought it would be cold. and the food would be gross. basically, i was behaving like a moody kid. and, wouldn’t you know it, the week ended up being one of my favorite things that i’ve done in korea, and quite possibly the best week “professionally” that i’ve had here – meaning, i actually felt like i made a real impact on the lives of the girls who came.
we had 30 middle school girls for the week, and they were an absolute blast. they were so hilarious and curious and animated. their english was good, which was certainly helpful, but they were also hard-working, enthusiastic, and had such sweet dispositions. we watched lots of youtube videos as they tried to educate us about k-pop, and as we tried to show them what the western world had to offer. we helped them film movies, we facilitated amazing race games and relay races, we had one-on-one times with them to help them practice their english, and we had journal readings together. it reminded me of my days as a camp counselor, and it was fun to relive that kind of mentoring relationship with these girls.
on the last day of camp, as the leaders stood and gave our goodbye speeches, i looked out over the crowd of girls and realized over half of them were crying! they were all so emotional and they didn’t want to leave. it almost got me choked up looking at them. i started thinking about their futures and all the potential they had and how much i wanted them to succeed. we all exchanged emails afterwards and took lots of photos. i was grateful i had the opportunity to be a part of the english camp since not all teachers get a chance to do it.
and, wouldn’t you know it, it was actually pretty warm. and the food was delicious.