My TEFL career (if it can be called that) started 13 years ago in Cambridge on one of the hundreds of summer school programmes that run each year in the UK. I taught (if you can call it that) on a residential summer school programme for the school that had trained me on my CELTA course. My summer school motto became “what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger”. Now, don’t get me wrong I love summer school. I love the atmosphere, the kids, being back in the UK for the summer and meeting other teachers from all over the world but it’s not for the weak or easily scared.
Summer is here which means that many teachers are three weeks or so into their summer holidays but many teachers are three weeks into summer school and to them I say “If you can survive summer school everything else is like a walk in the park”. Imagine 15 teaching hours a week along with breakfast duty, lunch duty, afternoon activities, evening activities, weekend excursions, bed time duty and lights out. Oh I forgot lesson planning! All in a days’ work for a residential summer school teacher. I once had a starter pack that actually said we don’t like whingers! There are loads of great posts over at The TEFL Tradesman about Summer school slavery. There is one that outlines some interesting legal points about your rights as a summer school teacher which had me in fits of laughter. If I had been paid what I should have been paid I would be RICH! I could have retired years ago.
Summer school is physically and mentally quite hard work but it's also great fun. You really get to know the kids you teach. You get to spend time with them outside of the classroom. You get to do all sorts of fun things with them from rollerblading to dancing at the weekly school disco. I love this part of summer school and to be honest many other things. It may not be the best way to learn English but it is a great experience for the children. It's a privilidge and I for one have spent many a summer working like a dog but have reaped the rewards!
So to all of those who are teaching at summer school , to those of us who are teaching with a reduced timetable and to those lucky teachers who have paid holidays I say ENJOY!