EXTRA EFFORT

A Guest English Teacher's life on a Friday night during English camp in South Korea.

One of my contractual responsibilities as a Guest English Teacher through EPIK is to facilitate two English camps per year. These two to three-week sessions occur during major school breaks. I’m in the middle of my first one right now.

English camp gives a select group of students the chance to further learn English through special activities and full immersion. That is, none of what we have planned to do is from a textbook, and everything is taught in English (with little to no translation).

I’ve quickly learned that teaching is about putting in the extra effort. Waking up early, staying up late, preparing ahead of time, not overlooking details, remembering small stuff because students will notice everything.

This first week of English camp has been so intense. My students are really enjoying the activities, which is what matters, but each has taken a lot of effort to implement. I’ve exhausted my budget, time and resources. And it’s been physically as well as emotionally draining.

All I can do is choose joy, choose laughter, and choose to be positive no matter how long a day is, how many hours of sleep I lack, or how much more I still have to do. I know I’ll get through. One activity at a time.

Cutting countless squares of tissue paper, boiling batches of Papier-mâché paste, creating a piñata, building a puppet theater, and organizing for the week ahead is more fun than going out on a Friday night, right? This is a snapshot of my life at the moment. I love it.

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