When all the students had arrived and checked in, they took the Pearson Level 2 English exam to establish their level of English. The ministry was expecting the majority to be at a level A2 or B1.
The teachers were very nervous and it was hard to see. They were worried about doing their best – they had been chosen over others and wanted to prove themselves.
Everyone was then divided into houses based on literary genres and/ or authors. We had a Mystery house (Japanese Ghost stories), Sherlock Holmes house, Shakespeare house, Canterbury house, and Wilde house. Each house had their own book to read and put on a presentation for, their house colors and were encouraged to work together and bond. There was 1 English Language Teacher, 4 fellows and 22 teachers in each house. I was in Mystery House.
I loved my group – they were amazing and we interacted so well together. We had a WhatsApp chat group that we were in contact with each other on. We read the stories and discussed them – obviously there was a lot of new vocabulary! We told ghost stories from our own countries. We had a fellow from Ghana on our team and he told us a ghost story from his country. We heard La Llorona from Colombia, and a story from a fellow from New Orleans.
The camp lasted three weeks with the teachers having one or two English classes daily where they learned new strategies for teaching the English language to elementary students. They had a reading class daily where we read from the book and talked about what we were reading and prepared two presentations from one of the stories in the book and a teaching strategy. They had one or two conferences most days as well.
We were all very busy with the basics plus the extra activities. We went to bed tired every night and unwilling to rise each morning, but each of the teachers really gave their all and there was very little complaining! They were so grateful and attentive to us and to each other. I love Colombia and Colombians even more after this experience!
It rained so much during the time we were there. We were all getting really sick of it. It rained and stormed so much that we were without electricity for two days and without water for one day! Still the teachers carried on – most of us foreigners were convinced that we would be able to sleep in on the morning with no electricity – but… by the time we got to breakfast, the teachers were finishing theirs, and were all made up and ready for the day!