So you know a couple of months ago when I said I’d be posting regular ‘Teaching Advice’ type posts? Yeah, that failed epically. I do have a lot of drafts saved but…I don’t know. I don’t like to pretend to be an expert at living abroad, so I think its best if I stick to heinously long rambles 🙂
Anyway, when you last saw me, I’d just completed a CELTA course. For the last two weeks, I’ve been teaching in a summer camp which has now ended, so I thought I’d write a post about the experience. Nice way to keep my machine oiled until my next adventure (which I’m keeping under wraps for now as I’m very superstitious about these things).
I’ve never taught in a summer camp before, so when my dear sister showed me the ad she stumbled across online I thought ‘hey, why not give it a bash?’ So I sent in my CV, went for an interview and was offered the job the day after 🙂 Here’s how it went:
I was teaching Spanish kids aged between 10 and 12 for two hours every evening, and three hours on a Saturday morning. They were a group of kids from the same school, travelling with two of their own English teachers, and no parents. Each morning, they would go to a sports camp in the city, or do some other type of outdoor activity, giving them a chance to mix with Irish children and practise their English that way. Then in the evenings they would come back to their accommodation and have English classes with moi and two other teachers.
On the first day, we did a placement test to break them up into three groups. There were only 16 kids, so we ended up with two groups of 5 and one group of 6. I was hoping to have either 4 or 6 students in my class as I think even numbers are a lot easier to plan around, but I ended up with 5. Oh well!
The set up was extremely casual. No set curriculum or topics-it was left up to us. All we were told was to keep them speaking as much as possible, and basically do whatever we wanted with them. Although they did have homework everyday which was to keep a diary of their time in Ireland, for which there would be a prize at the end for best one (just an Ireland key ring).
So I devised a plan which was to pick a topic for each day and then do activities based around it. Unfortunately I’m still not at a stage where I can just make up a lesson on the spot (and I probably never will be, if I’m honest) so I did spend a good bit of time planning for each day. I chose the topics as I went along based on what I thought the kids needed to work on plus some vocab that I thought might be useful for them. We did things like tenses, prepositions, body parts, clothing, food and we also learned the song ‘Cups’ from Pitch Perfect (complete with cup choreography!). Of course I also pulled out all my tried and tested games for warm ups and emergency time fillers.
My classes took place in a sitting room with a kitchen joined onto it (open plan kitchen? Interior design people-please feel free to help me out!) which I thought was nice because the kids could sit on the couches-making for a much more relaxed atmosphere. Although I did use the kitchen table a good bit too depending on the activity.
The kids themselves were awesome. Really enthusiastic and eager to learn, making a genuine effort to speak English to the best of their ability. They were also extremely well-behaved which of course made life a lot easier for me!
To be honest, I was amazed by these young people. Given the fact that I was just a random person who they only saw two hours a day for two weeks, I was dumbfounded by the fact that were so easy to work with. Everyday they had their homework done without fail, nobody ever forgot to bring pens or paper, they were so well-behaved and everybody participated in everything as best they could.
After my year in Jakarta, I was hell-bent on only teaching adults in the future, based on my experience there. But now, after this experience, maybe teaching children isn’t so bad after all 🙂
So that’s pretty much it for my first summer camp experience. Would I do it again? Sure, I really enjoyed it. It’s a handy bit of work which adds to my experience-I’d definitely recommend seizing the opportunity if it comes your way.
Until next time, Adiós amigos!