Black Barbie Chronicles: How to Teach English Camp Like a Pro


Aww look, I made a joke.  In all seriousness, I had no clue what an English camp was. but I did later that day. Check out this little entry and have a good one.

F. M. Laster

“I only like two kinds of men, domestic and imported.” -Mae West

How to Teach English Camp in Korea Like a Pro

  YES! It’s the last day of school before winter break and you’re thinking like a Westerner. To you, winter break means just that, a break from the little shits until Springtime. Not so fast buttercup. You teach in Korea, and in Korealand, they do things a bit differently. On your last day you are told to and a quote, “ Lesson plan for your two-week English Camp. I need it by Monday, please. Email me please.” What in the name of all that is holy is an English Camp?

Yep, this is where I was a few weeks ago. I really did think I had about a month or so of free time for drinking, drinking and more drinking; without having to come to work. Well, the Korean do camp a bit different than what I am used to. There are no roaring fires, counselors, tents, cabins, and sing-alongs. This here is academics with a bit of fun thrown in.

Depending on how jacked up your school or MOE is, English camps are a hit or miss. If you’re really lucky, you will have an entire curriculum planned and ready for you. The only thing you would need to do is show up and look cute all day long. Then there are the others; the ones where you have to plan out, but you have a theme at least to follow and how long each lesson should be. Then there are the bastards. They just say, English Camp, two weeks; no direction, no theme, no time limits; nothing. Guess which type I had. Well, don’t fret. I’m here to help you along. Now in order to survive English Camp make sure to do the following:

  1. Make lessons that are simple and enjoyable: Hello, Movies! Make sure to add a worksheet for “comprehension”. That’ll keep them off your ass.
  2. Have a cooking class: Burn the school down; get out of class early and have English Camp canceled. That’ll show them to have the waygookin (foreigner) in charge of a Korean English Camp!
  3. Spread some stories: Gossip time; you’d be surprised how much tea can be spilled by Korean teenage boys; I mean, hot tongue burning tea!
  4. Go outside and enjoy the weather: No fun in the winter, but then again possibly warmer outside than inside with the no heat thing. Seriously, Korean classrooms in the winter are brutal.
  5. Bring a camera and take photos: AKA Future Korean Paparazzi 101. Have them take photos all over the school. You can also combine this and gossip time and come up with your own Korean Middle School version of The Sun.
  6. Technology is alive, use it: AKA make then play on their cell phones and call it “teaching”. Hey technically, they are learning, there is some form of English in there. Or, better yet, have the little bastards do a scavenger hunt on their cell phones for English related stuff. They are “learning” and you’re “teaching” win-win!
  7. Get to Know the Students: Uhh… no, that’s what 1-6 are for. Why would I want to get to know my students? Hell, I’m just passing through. I do not have the time nor the energy to be emotionally involved with these kids.

I kid. Sometimes teaching these camps can be a hit or miss thing. What you think would be great turns out to suck major balls. The trick really is to just have fun, do the best that you can, and have fun with it.



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