I got an email today from the coordinator of the camp that I will begin helping with this week. I always offer to do level testing (because I get the best students), and I always volunteer to help with books (I want a good book for my class). This selfishness gets me far enough along that I’ve been doing the camp longer than anyone (including those who organize it, directors speaking at it, and anyone else helping it exist). I get dibs on the best stuff , and in return I help fill in everyone else who hasn’t done it before to get them on the same page. Emails before the camp start usually mean more work for me, usually on my own time, with no compensation. It’s occasionally worth it just to make sure the camp runs smoothly, but today I was pleasantly surprised.
One of the problems we’ve had in the the past has been the issue of “diaries”. None of the camp teachers want to grade them, because they are written by children, are littered with mistakes, take a lot of time to correct, and take up free time to check. The campus assistants hired to help the foreigners often got tasked with grading, but they are unqualified for the task. A lot of my students in the camp have better English than the campus assistants anyway. Parents love homework during the summer, and feedback on journals is very good for the students, but it didn’t happen most days. If I could have a dedicated time to grading each day, where the students were working on other projects that didn’t need my direction, I would use that time, otherwise I wouldn’t assign anything we couldn’t check together.
The new camp organizer has worked out a payment on my camp work to cover grading student journals. It is in line with the other “writing” teachers getting compensated for having more intense work to prepare for class, but not quite as good. It’s below my hourly rate from the university, but it is something. It means that if I take part of my lunch to grade them, I’ll be coming out with something rather than nothing for my time. It’s also something I didn’t negotiate for when I went into my contract meeting, but will be appearing on my payslip as a nice bonus. For all the good will they’ve blown recently handling some people’s vacations, being paid unexpectedly for work I’d probably need to do anyway is nice.