Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Englishee in The Mountainsee

It's amazing how much you can learn about yourself and the world that you live in when you spend 5 days at an English camp in the mountains in Korea. With the reality that my school rejected to keep me for another year and that I cannot pinpoint why, I entered teaching the mountain camp with the attitude of a free spirit. I figured this may be my last time out there and I should make it a good experience. For my classes I figured I would try my best to teach them English at the same time making sure they were having fun and learning. So it was that camp proved to be a heartwarming experience.

Without further ado I bring you the adventures from Summer Camp 2009.

Girls pose for a picture on our way to camp.

My sleeping cabin.


My teaching cabin (They put my class in this cabin...the regular classroom was being used as a room for the cleaning staff.)

My accommodations...this time I brought a mat to put under the blankets.

Kids run out of the lobby to go to their cabins to change into swimsuits so to go boating and fishing.

Kids get training for boating~



Kids go fishing using nets. It was rainy this day so a bit cool for this summer activity.

The boating begins~

A lot of excitement.

Somebody was too cold to keep fishing.

The kids found this book in the lobby. It is a book of bunny suicides. I read the publisher's page and found out the author is English. Title: The book of Bunny Suicides. The kids loved this book and some parts were a bit too gruesome but overall very creative.

On Wednesday we found a Toad leaping and crawling near the building. We were all fascinated by it (teachers)...which meant we had been at camp for a while.

Talent night~

Kids loved finding the bugs at camp, capturing them and showing them off to us teachers. I wasn't' too scared by what they caught and was fascinated too. Some teachers found it cruel the way the kids played with the bugs, especially the boys. But I concluded they are boys and that is what boys do.

Mountain scene~

This was the "cool" boy at camp...i.e. popular boy.


Last day of camp in the morning. Kids are tuckered out from learning English and being at camp.

On the last day we decided to have one big event for the kids instead of teaching our individual classes. Some teachers were organizing a scavenger hunt. I helped out by creating a lower level scavenger hunt sheet. I went to the office to make copies. The head director greeted me and asked if I were coming back for Winter camp. I told her my story of how my school didn't sign me on for a second year and she frowned. She told me that I was a really good teacher and will be sad to see me not at the camp again.

It was as if the skies had opened up and handed me a gift. Meaning I have been waiting all my time here in Korea to hear a Korean person tell me that I am a good teacher and mean it.

I didn't kiss ass either to get that praise. I really tried to teach the kids, be patient and provide them quality care. For the low level class I went slower and made sure they were on the right page. For the higher level class I challenged them more with quizzes and comprehension checks. Throughout camp kids would come up to me and say "Geography!". I was the Geography teacher. hehehe

I really have an open heart now towards kids and teaching them English. I know there are times when we (teachers) get stressed and tired and don't want to deal with the kids. But I feel that I can no longer blame them. Saying, "Oh this class is so hard, the kids are so slow" just won't work for me. I feel now no matter the kids it is my duty to be patient with them and be their teacher.

Anyways, camp was great. It was really rewarding to unplug for a while. Behind the cabins was a creek that helped one relax.

I wish I could come there again and again, but that means I would need to find a Gunpo City job somehow. Well we will see!

For now I feel fulfilled with my abilities at teaching and excited because SUNDAY I go to America for vacation!

See you there!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Off to Summer Camp

Well I am off today to go to summer camp in the Mountains. Last time I spent it during the winter time and it wasn't so bad. Kind of a relaxing in the mountains feeling combined with children running around.

I will be unplugged so don't expect any blogging. When I come back I will be packing for my vacation to California.

Anyways have a good week everyone.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival

On Saturday JH and I went to COEX to check out the International Cartoon and Animation festival. I got excited for going considering that back in San Diego the Comic Con was going on and so was thinking that this might be similar.

Despite that the experience wasn't full of costumed anime and manga maniacs, we still had a great time. Here for you is a picture journey through the festival.

There were some models showing off what I think was Pucca clothing. It was a little freakish to see these gals make intentional cute poses.
There were many cartoon booths throughout the festival hall, many of which were familiar.
Most of it wasn't very recognizable for me, but I could tell the kids were enjoying it all.

A lot of the booths were selling off goodies. Here is a popular item these days, which is fake bread or pastries that actually carry a pseudo scent of bread.

Here and there you could get your picture next to over sized cartoon characters.
There were a lot of spaces set up for contests and games, giving the underage plenty of fun things to do.

American cartoons were represented here and there. Spongebob is very popular out here, in case you didn't know.

At one booth JH found a computer to play some games.

So cute!

There was a section where cartoon and other artists set up little booths to sell and promote their works.

The fun part was that behind the booth you could see the artist making their crafts right there.

A wall with post-its and hand written messages.
One area was set where you could make cookies and have them baked. It was free but to do it you had to sign up early.

Entering the adjacent section of the festival.

There was a stage where they were presenting some animators.
This back area section had more artists set up that were available to sign their works. I was impressed to see some lines formed for these artists.

One exhibit area showcased different South East Asian cartoons.

Further back we went the more less crowded it became. We found one area where you could do some drawing. I spotted the only costumed festival goers the whole time drawing at a table.

Do you know who this is? The name starts wit an "H" and is suppose to be Seoul's new mascot.
There was even a section set up for illustrative drawing with a Wacom tablet. I wanted to join in but the participants seemed glue to their seats.

We finished up the cartoon and animation festival and while we tried to exit ended up in a separate exhibit featuring Korean folk crafts and traditional wares.

It was a fun experience and I enjoyed it even though the place was crowded with children. If you still got time today (Sunday) is the last day.
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