Winter Camp 2015…End of Week 1

OK. It has not quite been a full week. But, this week has been very depressing for me. Why? Many reasons.

1. I am supposed to be teaching two classes of at least 15 students or more in each class. My morning class has 3-5 (depending on the day). And, my afternoon class today had 3. I do not mind teaching these small classes. It is actually kind of nice after teaching classes of 70 students. But, I feel bad about teaching so few students, knowing the guy running the camp is losing a large amount of money. But, he insists finishing what he started. He says he will pay me my salary and my agreed trip home. So, I will stay and give him 100% of my talents.

2. I am in a small town. In America, we might refer to is as a redneck town, backwater town, or some other sly name. There is very little to do here. I begin work at 9 AM. I teach for three hours. I have a three hour lunch break, I teach another three hours at 3 PM. I finish my classes at 6 PM. I eat dinner and then sit in my hotel room for a few hours before bed. That has been my life pretty much since I got here. There really is not much to see or do. When I have my day off on Sunday, I will try to explore the town more. Maybe I am missing something here. But, I doubt it.

3. I like my students. And, I think they like me. But, I do not get the feeling that we will have the warm and fuzzy departure that I have had in other camps. We just have not bonded that way….yet. Maybe it will happen. Of course, it is not about that bonding moment. It is about them learning English. That is my primary goal.

4. My student’s English level is from Intermediate to below average. Some are showing signs of improvement already. I think it just took time for them to get our of their shy mode. And, that is actually one of the things that has been fun for me to see. The first three days, they would not talk to me, let alone each other. It was hard to get them to say even a few words to me. But, today, in both classes, they were chatting with one another, smiling and laughing with one another. And, they are beginning to open up with me more. Now, I can begin really teaching them.

5. Cold and sick: Every morning it is very cold outside. The air is very dry. And, the evenings get very cold too (quickly). As a result of the dry cold air, my allergies and sinuses are running amuck. I have a sore throat from the nasal drainage. And I cough up the thick gunk collecting in my lungs. Not fun when you try to get a good night’s rest. At least my room is warm and semi-comfortable.

Well, once week down (almost). Three more to go. And, Spring Festival is next week. It should be interesting to see how they celebrate in this town. Last year’s experience was ok. Nothing exciting. It lacked the WOW factor for me. So, we will see what happens this year.

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