English Camp Madness

It’s going, it’s going, it’s already been going for two days. That is to say, two days down and… ungh, I don’t want to think about how many more. Highlights:

  • I woke up this morning in a dormitory room with no heat. The heat vent had been blowing tepid air when I went to bed at midnight, but even that cut out sometime in the night and I awoke in a strange bed to a freezing cold dorm room. It was extremely unpleasant, and I cannot imagine how it could happen that with 150 kids plus assorted teachers and teaching assistants in the dormitory, nobody thought to get the heating sorted out on a cold night in an unusually cold winter. This obviously happened because nobody who has the power to get the heat turned on was required to sleep in the dorm.
  • My students decided the optimal name for their class-nation was “Gold Island” because the indistinguishability of R and L for a young Korean kid leads them to make all kinds of jokes about my name. The national costume is the gold suit. The national capital is Gold City, a submarine city which residents leave by fish-drawn chariot to go to the surface and mine gold on the island proper; it’s biggest tourist attraction is the Gold Mahal. The national cuisine consists of Gold Rice, Gold Kimchi, and “Normal Fish”, as opposed to the “Diamond Body Fish” that are caught and fashioned into an expensive sash for Gold Islander ladies. The President is a 500-year-old codger named Mr. Expensive, who lives in a “Villa” (their word) off the coast of the Island.
  • The girl who drew the Official Portrait of Mr. Expensive is probably the cleverest in the class. She draws like a genius — I mean, it looked like real art! — and wrote a wonderful bio for the President, and read it in a very clear, loud, and confident voice. Great kid. After she read her spiel, she got a round of hearty applause.
  • Gold Islanders under no circumstances, ever, ever eat Goldfish. Go figure.
  • I am beginning to get dehydrated, and will need to carry a bottle of water to work daily, I think, if I am to avoid getting sick.
  • I have the most hilarious drawings of myself from kids. I’ll scan some and upload them soon.
  • I have to get the Korean play ready. Kathy went through it and found some typos and badly constructed phrases, and I may as well fix ’em before I hand out the play. The camp play is now ready and copies will be distributed tomorrow
  • People from the office sent a student to the camp area in the hope that I wouldn’t be too busy to meet him about changing his grade. I have very little sympathy for someone who, after attending University for 4 years, hasn’t learned to attend at least the minimum number of required class sessions. But I’ll take a look at his grades and see. I have already altered 3 students’ final grades: one I miscalculated (77/80 is not 77%!), one I mistyped (I gave my best student ever a 40% instead of a 100%! She took it well, though, and just emailed me assuming it was a mistake), and one I changed out of mercy for a student who was begging to get one point more to put her in A. I wasn’t so inclined, since she’d not been a great student, but she said she needed it to transfer into the program she really wanted, so I just broke down and gave it to her. Finally, one young woman had a family illness and I told her she could write me an essay about why she missed her exam in lieu of sitting the exam — I have neither the time nor the mental concentration to meet her after camp for a final exam. This is the most trouble I’ve had about grades since I started at the University, and it is extremely exhausting. I’m just glad I’m here to handle it.
  • I learned something very useful. A whistle shuts up a large group of kids for about three seconds. But telling them, “Close your eyes!’ until they’re all quiet, and then starting them off, this shuts them up for a heck of a lot longer. They are less inclined to start talking again once they all stop en masse. I suspect that it’s also familiar to them, and they’re in the habit of being quiet after being told to close their eyes.
  • I met my friend Heather’s daughter today. She was pretty tired, I was pretty tired, and since there were three EFL teachers at the dinner, the conversation probably wasn’t much related to anything of interest to her; but I was too tired to try draw her into the conversation, especially since she looked as tired as I felt. I was given a weird orange toy-on-a-chain at the restaurant and told that one of the girls I’d last come with left it there. Those girls are now in Shanghai, but I suppose I can mail the orange toy to them, sometime.
  • That problem tooth of mine is starting to feel weird again, but I was out too late tonight to see the dentist. However, I did get rid of my headache with a nice strong coffee, and flossing and brushing rigorously helped too. Oh, I was out late because I stopped by the office to pick up a box my parents sent me. I’m saving the presents to open at a time when Lime can enjoy watching me do so, as per her request, though I did retrieve a magazine and newspaper from the box. (Thanks Mum and Dad!)

This last one is not a bulleted point because, well, I’m considering it a conclusion to this post instead: I’m really, really tired. Need a LOT of sleep tonight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *