Friday, December 12, 2008

English Winter Camps in Korea--What to do when your co-teacher tells you to design 20 lessons for a camp and submit them tomorrow--F*#@!!!

I posted this comment on blog after reading the post there today about the ridiculousness that is so typical at the end of the second semester in a public school teaching position in Korea.

And for those foreign English teachers working with Korean co-teachers who are organized, communicate well with you, and have good planning skills--THANK THEM!!! Buy them dinner, and sign over your first born child to them. THEY ARE WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD, and then some . . .


Go to your nearest English bookstore that sells English teaching books and pick up, "Projects with Young Learners" by Diane Phillips, Sarah Bruwood & Helen Dunford, published by Oxford, part of the Resource Books for Teachers, Series Editor Alan Maley.

*NOTE: Whether you're teaching elementary (grade 5-6) middle school, or high school you can use this book--just alter the language level vocabulary and expressions, etc, that you teach them while they do the project lessons.

Near the end of the book is a major project called "Fantasy Island," with 11 lessons--each of which are 30-90 minutes in length. Each of these lessons can take LONGER than the suggested time, or possibly shorter (with Korean EFL students, more likely LONGER).

The project is basically for the kids to design and produce their own country using task-based learning through English. They make their own flag, map of the island, money, fantasy creatures, ideal homes, celebrity guests, tour of the island, holidays, elect a president, poetry book, and island news. It'll give you something to show off at the end of the camp (I'd suggest making some kind of exhibit), your co-teachers will be able to take pics of the end product, and the kids and you will have fun doing it.

The only work here in terms of lesson prep is perhaps making some of your own teacher notes/lesson outlines (just bare bones stuff about logistics, etc). Simply photocopy the pages from the book, add some of your own pages of teacher's notes, and presto! Here's your damn 20 hours of lesson plans with a theme.

I've been in Korea almost 4 years and TOTALLY GET WHAT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH. Been there, got the t-shirt, and I so have had the ranting and raving like a lunatic at the sheer anarchy that is public school 'planning' due to co-teachers walking up to me at the last minute (it's also especially fun when this happens after you've been asking them for weeks about it) and asking me to do piles of work in only a few days--if I was lucky.

I'm not sure what the actual price is of the book as I picked it up at the 2008 KOTESOL Conference for about W26 000.


In Incheon I designed and made a 3 hour power point orientation presentation for new foreign English teachers arriving in the English teaching program for that province. In the presentation I would talk about my top 10 favorite teaching resource and lesson plan books that I'd found in Korea and used at the elementary level in after school programs I taught, in the middle schools I taught in in my first year in Korea, and the girls high school I taught at in my second year. I also used them a lot when I worked at the Incheon Foreign Language Training Center which is the place that Incheon sends bazillions of middle school and high school kids to do 4 night/5 day camps.

I'm not sure how many camps I've done in Korea during my first 3 years, but if I was to guess it's close to 50, if not more. Yikes . . .

Anyways, during the winter break I'm thinking about using my Flip Mino camera to record 1-2 minute videos about my favorite teaching resource and lesson plan books, and posting them here for anyone who is new to Korea, and also for those of us who have been around a while and just want to hear about a good book that might be worth picking up.

To all of you teaching winter camps--good luck.

I'll try and post a few more titles over the next week or so.



Anonymous said...

Off topic but have you seen this link? How do they pick which ones to list?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for that comment, by the way! My school ended up getting some random book that I have yet to be shown, but I will keep that in mind for future camps.

- Driftingfocus

Lilith63 said...

This is one of the most thoughtful South Korean blogs for teachers. I really appreciate the information on here and it has also helped to soothe the culture shock that still rears its ugly head after 2.5 years. Its nice to know that my experiences are not exclusive and that I'm not crazy..although, there are days I feel I'm on the edge of insanity.
Kudos to you and your efforts. Many, many thanks.