Published 27th February 2019

summer camps

As you know by now, there are many different scenarios in which you can find yourself teaching English. From kindergarten or beginners’ classes to teaching restaurant and hotel staff, you may even end up teaching a subject that isn’t English. It can be daunting but as you gain more experience as a teacher, you may find you develop a preference or find you are stronger teaching in one setting or environment more so than another. If you ever visited summer camp as a child, then you’ll remember how much fun it was.

Summer camps are a setup that many teachers favour as they’re run for a few days or weeks during the school holidays for school-age learners to come to camp to learn English. Many people would run a mile at the idea of dealing with so many young kids for an extended time but carrying out lessons while ensuring the kids have fun can be an interesting challenge. Think you’re cut out for it?

Five characteristics that would make you an ideal summer camp teacher.

1. You have no teaching experience

If you’re a newly qualified TEFL teacher looking to get some experience under your belt, then summer camps are the thing for you. Many teachers start out as Activity Leaders and accompany the learners on their extra-curricular activities. TEFL-qualified teachers have the added benefit of being able to take a few lessons, but regardless of which qualification you hold, summer camp experience is a great addition to your CV.

2. You’ve got lots of energy

Summer camps are not the place for introverts who want to be left alone once their class is over. Being surrounded by people 24/7 can be exhausting but it can also be plenty of fun socialising with the other teachers as well as the kids. The day usually begins with breakfast with the learners followed by an action-packed day full of activities and even when that’s over, many of the kids will still need supervision. Of course, nothing beats ending off a busy day like unwinding with the other teachers so if you’re a fun-loving, energetic person then you’ll never be bored when you take a job at a summer camp.

3. You’re not looking for a long-term commitment

Summer camps are popular in the UK, US, Europe and Asia and as there will never be a shortage of them, they’re the perfect opportunity for you to dip your toe into the world of TEFL to see if you like it without committing to it in the longer term. Whether you’re a recent graduate teaching English to fund your trip around the world, or a serious teacher wanting to get a taste for whether it’s the right career path for you, summer camps are a fun way to get involved in TEFL for a short period of time.

4. You love arts, crafts and music

While teaching English is part of working at a summer camp, it’s important to remember that the kids are there to have fun. Summer camps work because many of the arts, crafts, activities and sports games incorporate English so that the learners are exposed to it for as many hours a day as possible. Teachers are assigned activities each afternoon so being comfortable playing sports or getting creative is a plus. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s all about how you play the game.

5. You’re outgoing

When you work on a summer camp, a large part of your day will be spent entertaining a bunch of kids. Coming up with fun and innovative ways to do this is key to your survival and the kids’ overall enjoyment. Being fun and relaxed will get you a lot further at camp so be prepared to be involved in activities, such as dancing and singalongs.

There are many perks to taking a TEFL job, including travelling to exotic locations, meeting wonderful people and being exposed to new cultures. There are also a variety of situations you can find yourself teaching in and summer camps are just one of these. While they come with a variety of challenges remember that – if anything – teaching at a summer camp is never dull!