Every year in the summer Cambridge loses most of her university students only to gain those numbers back in European teenagers.
For two months of the year it is difficult not to walk around town without bumping into a bunch of giggling Italian teens or moody Austrian boys, and while this might take away from the usually peaceful atmosphere of the city, it means that there is a lot of work for teachers!
Schools all over Europe have English programmes for their students. For the summer this means sending a group of learners to stay in Cambridge in order to immerse them in English lessons. They usually stay together in a university college or are placed with local families. Every day they get together for classes as a closed group, meaning that, usually because they are young, they won’t mix with the other language school students but will stay together with their classmates.
Teaching summer school has its positives and its negatives. If you enjoy teaching younger learners summer school is a nice break from teaching adults. Teaching younger learners means being more creative with your lesson planning and being more adaptable and patient. Teenagers are not the easiest in any situation but, if you think about it, this is their summer holiday and they are being told to go to school – it’s no wonder they can be grumpy.
On the other hand, teaching summer school often has perks, because you are encouraged to think outside the box to make sure your classes are entertaining and interesting. Often teachers will end up doing something they have never done before; often you aren’t given a choice! One day you might be asked to jump on a bus with 50 students and give a guided tour of Cambridge, the next you could be giving speaking tests to 150 students to decide which level they should be put in. You might need to hand out lunch packets or make sure none of the students conveniently go missing on a walking tour. From teacher to parent to chaperone to tour guide, the possibilities are endless for your duties during summer camp.