Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It never rains, but it pours

I'm busy, which is unusual. I work forty hours a week, but only fourteen of those hours are actually spent teaching, and class prep, grading, extra classes and miscellaneous child wrangling are not enough to fill the other twenty six hours. I normally have an hour or two of free time in the afternoons, which is why going from having nothing to do to more than I can possible do practically overnight has left me reeling.

The semester ends on December 27th and two weeks of English camp starts the next day, which means I have six days finishing planning and preparing 28 hour-and-a-half long lessons from scratch. I probably should have started planning before last week, but I had a training conference the week before last and I wanted to wait until afterward to start planning. I don't have a text book for English camp, so I've chosen stories to base the lessons on. The 3rd and 4th graders are reading Eric Carle books. The 5th and 6th graders are reading fairy tales, which I'm going to write myself because I can't find decent easy reader versions using the vocabulary I want to target.

This is my forth time teaching English camp and each time, I oscillate from being unprepared to being too prepared. My first English camp was a disaster of epic proportion, mostly because my co-teacher and I didn't plan at all (and then my co-teacher just stopped showing up, leaving me to deal with the mess), so when it came time to prepare for the second English camp, I spent a month freaking out and working late and creating hours of extra material. It worked - the camps were a success - but I barely escaped with my sanity intact. This summer I had only planned the first week of the camp, which blew up in my face when the it turned out that, due to a schedule mix-up, what I thought was the first week was, in fact, not the first week, and I spent the next two weeks frantically playing catch up. I'm hoping that by my fourth try I will have found a happy medium.

To further busy things, the broadcasting club has started practicing again last week after a month and a half hiatus. I love those kids to death and I'm so proud of the work they're doing. This time, we're making them write their own articles about their week at Seongnam English Town, and only Ji-won and Ji-yeon turned in articles written entirely in English. The other girls' articles were a mix of Korean and English. One went 한국말, 한국말, 한국말, extreme weather systems, 한국말, 한국말, puppetry 한국말, 한국말, water festival, leaving me very curious about what she was talking about. Last week, each student came by during their lunch for one-on-one help editing their essays. I helped Ji-won and Ji-yeon fix the mistakes in their essays and my co-teacher Nicole helped Hye-ryeong and Han-som translate their articles. Then, on Friday, Jeong-yun (whose article was only 60% in Korean) and her friend Ye-sol (who isn't even in the Broadcasting Club, but is super smart) showed up before Nicole finished lunch and the three of us, with minimal assistance from Jeong-yun's cell phone dictionary, wrote an entire page . I'm ridiculously proud of how well she did and how she kept trying at something she thought was impossible. So yes, I love the Broadcasting Club and I'm glad they have one more report this year, but it does take up a lot of time.

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