Today was mission travel which is sort of like going on an all-day field trip with some students. Of course it’s supposed to be fun, but it’s also supposed to be a chance for the students to practice English with us. Kate told me about mission travels in the past and it seemed scary, but luckily this one was a lot less scary than what I imagined.
Today we went to the Hanok Village in Jeonju and we went glamping. That’s right, glamorous camping. There where three teams and three leaders: me, Kate, and Mrs. K’s daughter who gets a code name like all the other people I mention in this blog. Hers is “Bella.” Kate was responsible for 5 kids. And Bella and I each had 4 kids to look after. Bella is probably around my age, she’s fluent in English and she has taught at the school when they are in between teachers. So the kids were familiar with her and needless to stay she was our leader for the day.
By 1pm, we had arrived at the school, got on the bus, went over the schedule and we’re heading off. (After Mrs. K gave a small speech to my kids to behave since this was my first mission travel.)
The bus ride was relaxing and allowed me to mentally prepare for everything. A few kids chatted with me and I was somewhat optimistic about the day.
At 2pm we got to the Hanok Village and each team went over the missions we needed to complete. We were doing this together (thank goodness!) so we all just tried to head to the first mission place as a huge group. I don’t know if it was just my kids, but they were all over the place. They got distracted so easily, they were lagging behind. At times I had to keep pushing them because we were so behind. Unfortunately they are at that age where they are too old to hold hands, but still young enough to get distracted by any and everything. Even Bella was checking more on my team than her own.
Finally we got to our first mission which was to buy some food and take a picture with it together. It was all so stressful and overwhelming I have no picture of my own.
Then we went to the glamping grounds. Each team had their own tent. On the outside I didn’t know what to expect.
But then inside I was quite surprised. There was a television, a kitchen area and heated floors! The kids were excited.
We would have a food mission later so Bella and Kate took some kids to go back to the bus and get the food while I watched the four who stayed behind. At first they turned on the TV and watched a cartoon show. But my guilt told me Mrs. K would not really be okay with them coming here to watch TV so I got them to play a game of charades and another game.
When the others came back we started game time. Each tent had different games and the teams rotated between the three for thirty minutes each. My tent had a bingo game (with a spin, it wasn’t the typical bingo game) and they seemed to enjoy it a lot.
At around 5 pm we started the food mission. Each team/tent prepared a different stew and then we would all come together in one tent and eat everything. My team was in charge of making kimchi stew. We had a vague recipe to follow and Bella brought us the ingredients we needed. It was honestly a huge headache because
1. I didn’t know what I was doing
2. The kids also didn’t know what they were doing
3. It was super messy
4. And we had no trash can
5. Or towels
6. Or even paper towels/napkins
7. The kids were all over the place and not always listening to me
But we finished! I wish I’d taken a picture. The kids said it was good. Some of them changed their minds around their friends and said it was got good, but I thought it tasted pretty good especially since we kinda butchered the recipe and I was totally clueless.
All the teams met in Bella’s tent. The kids played some games while we waited for the meat of the meal to finish cooking. We had the three stews each tent made, pork belly meat, sausages (regular, curry and sausages with corn inside), and rice cakes. It was all good.
The final mission was to draw the glamping grounds so the kids did that as us teachers ate and cleaned up. We finished everything and were on the bus at 7pm.
At 8pm we arrived at the school and I was so happy to be heading home. Although I was and still am overwhelmed with the idea that we have another mission travel next Saturday.
So my thoughts on the mission travel?
It was okay. If I never had to do it again that would be great. But I guess it’s not the worst thing ever. I will have to do it at 3 more times since there are 4 each year and honesty I’ll be happy when it’s over.
The kids were okay too. I’m still the odd newbie I guess. The two girls on my team told me it’s hard to talk to me (I don’t know what they meant exactly). And honesty I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t say much later in the day. If anything, each day I seem to get further confirmation that teaching is not for me which I’ll talk about another time.
I will say that I think it would be a lot of fun to go glamping here with family and friends!
(And for those wondering there is a bathroom in each tent and it looks pretty good. And also there is hot water! They aren’t kidding when they call it glamorous camping!)