"Miss, the turtles would die."
I should preface this post with fully admitting that it's a cop out post. I haven't had time to write anything and in all honesty with graduate school fellowship applications on my mind and agenda right now, I probs won't be posting very often in the months to come. However, my goal is at least one post a month.
Anyways, the reason this post is a cop out is because I'm literally just copying and pasting in a report that I was required to turn into MACEE (our bosses in Malaysia). Each month we are required to submit a one page write up about some activity throughout the month that was impactful on us or on students (ideally both). This month I wrote about my English camp and since I had talked so much about the camp in previous blog posts, figured I could post it here as well:
May was a pretty awesome month at SMK Mengkarak and it was rather difficulty to pick one activity to write about. From painting murals for the English room to the student planned welcome festival for my parents to helping out with the booths for Koperasi Day, it was a month where I was reminded just how amazingly lucky I am to be the ETA at this incredible place. However, I think my proudest moment was my English camp the weekend of May 9 and 10th.
The focus of the camp was the importance of protecting our oceans. The camp was held at Cherating Beach and was a two day affair with the 40 Form 5 students with the top English scores in the school (they came from the top three classes). For the camp the students completed a variety of different activities fitting the theme. We did a fashion show out of recycled plastic bags as a way to demonstrate the importance of upcycling, we did a beach cleanup, the students completed various lessons on ocean geography, and we watched the Lorax as a fun way to get across an environmentally conscious ideal. We also had a lot of fun with a photo challenge, sandcastle building competition, a water fight and at least a thousand selfies. While I was blown away by the students enthusiasm, their ability to grapple with challenging concepts, and their flexibility when we had a few #malaysiboleh moments, those probably weren’t the reasons my camp was my favorite part of the month.
What stood out to me at the end of the camp, is that it became an illustration of how far these students had come in their English abilities, but also how far our relationships with one another had come. These were the students that were so painfully shy that just getting them to do introductions the first day led to panic and who would (or could) barely give more than one word answers to questions. These were the students that seemed hesitant to allow me in and understandably questionable about what my role in their classes would be. Observing the camp, you never would have guessed they were the same kids.
These are the students that went from giving two word answers to spending an entire weekend speaking English with me. And not just simple English, often times complex vocabulary and ideas about ocean currents, aquatic life, recycling processes etc. These are the students that were terrified when I would sit down at their table during recess who were now inviting me into their rooms, removing their tudungs (headscarves) in my presence and cheering on the Elephant Army soccer team as they beat Kelantan with me. They went from the students who were too shy to even smile in the early classes who were now giving me a hard time and laughing like we had been friends for year.
I could not have been prouder of them or felt more fortunate for the trust they have placed in me.
Here are a few pictures from the camp as well: