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"A Day in the Life" for teachers at summer school

"A Day in the Life" for teachers at summer school

Monday 18th February 2019
Emma Lawrence

Working and teaching at a language summer camp is an experience like no other - especially as given the rich cultural mix the students are far from the only ones learning! Every day is different, with new situations and experiences, plus at the end of the summer, I took away a huge amount of ideas to incorporate into my own teaching. The summer camp experience is one I can't recommend enough for any teacher looking to develop their ESL career, not only is it useful in terms of valuable teaching experience, but also when it comes to understanding and communicating with teenagers in quite a particular environment - and perhaps the biggest advantage, it's seriously good fun!

So, what is a normal day at a summer camp like? Well the truth is that the word "normal" doesn't apply as no two days are ever the same, and one of the key skills you will put into practice as an ESL teacher at a summer camp, is flexibility, and adapting to unexpected situations at any time as supervision is 24 hours a day. Let's take a look at an example day, and what you might find yourself doing...

07:30
Rise and shine! If you're a member of staff on house duty, you need to be up and ready for door knocking and to make sure the students are awake and getting ready for breakfast. At Your English Summer, all students have individual rooms, so making sure no one slips through the net, and gets an unexpected lie in is essential!

08:30-09:00
Next up is breakfast. Meals are a crucial part of the day for staff and students to chat and mingle so, particularly during the first few days it's vital to set the tone and help students (particularly those not part of a group) to quickly break the ice and meet as many other students as possible.

09:00 - 12:30
Throughout the morning students have classes which are divided into two 90-minute sessions with a half hour break in the middle, for games and sports outside. The key point is always for teachers to make classes as engaging and interesting as possible - energy, interaction and dynamic activities are the order of the day. Students should be moving around and expressing themselves throughout, so doing presentations, role-plays, games and debates can be really effective and ensure that the students are excited to get back in the classroom each morning.

13:30 - 14:00
After lunch students have a short amount of free time, to recharge, call home if they like or just hang out on the campus grounds. While it's generally up to the students what they do during this time, staff are on hand if students have anything they would like to talk about, any questions or just in case a referee is needed for a game of giant Jenga!

14:00 - 16:30
Once classes are done for the day, every afternoon is different. Most afternoon activities take place on campus where a range of sports and creative activities can be run. But whether we're heading out on an afternoon excursion or staying on site, the key ideas are enthusiasm and involvement, both your own and that of the students. You might not know that much about badminton for instance, but just throwing yourself into everything and having really good fun is what summer school is all about, students will always follow your lead!

17:00 - 18:00
If we're on site for dinner, we'll all head over to the canteen where the staff always pull out all the stops to make sure we're well fed and have plenty of daily variety to choose from, not to mention some seriously good brownies! The evening meal is always a lively time of day and is the perfect chance for everyone to catch up on what they've been up to all day and get excited about the evening activity.

19:00 - 21:00
Once we're done in the canteen it's back to the accommodation to get ready for the evening entertainment! This changes from day to day and just some of the things staff can look forward to organising are scavenger hunts, discos, quiz nights, team sports, talent shows the list goes on :-) Plus feedback and ideas are always welcome in the summer so if you have an idea for an activity that you feel would go really well, speak up! Last summer we were also lucky enough to have some amazing weather so we could treat students to lots of time outside on summer evenings, the perfect way to round off the day!

21:00-22:00
For the final part of the day, boys and girls go to their separate blocks to wind down and have some juice and biscuits. This is another great time for staff to catch up with students, chat, play board games or watch some TV. Students are reminded which member of staff is on house duty and if that's you this means doing a last sweep of the corridors to make sure that everyone is in their room by 22:00. However, it's worth remembering that while you might not technically be "on" house duty, all staff are available to students at all times of both the night and day.

So, there we have it, while there might be no such thing as a typical day, with each being different, bringing new experiences, challenges and (sometimes) surprises, this is what the fun of summer school is all about and what makes it such a unique experience for staff and students alike.

Would you be ready to do it all again tomorrow? If so get in touch now!