Summer schools and language camps are popular for both newly qualified and experienced EFL instructors. It’s a great way to gain some teaching experience with young learners, teach English through fun games and activities and earn some extra money outside of the typical academic year.
When considering applications for posts, summer schools will not only look at your TEFL qualification and/or previous EFL teaching experience. We spoke to some summer schools in Europe and asked what skills and qualities they look for in teacher applicants.
You’re not only there to teach but to work alongside other camp counsellors, instructors and staff.
“All our staff has to work as a team. Our camps accommodate between 40 and 100 (depends on size of venue) camp participants (ages 7-12; 13-18), so the collaboration with the counsellors is key to the success of the program. People who are flexible when working with others and are always willing to help others are desirable candidates for Diverbo.” – Germán from Diverbo
“Teachers who share their ideas with one another, collaborate as a team and display resourcefulness.” – Peter from XUK
This is time to show of your classroom management skills and remember the all different roles an EFL teacher needs to take on to be successful – controller, organiser, elicitor, facilitator, resource, observer, etc.
“Every counsellor is responsible for an assigned group in our camps. They manage and take care of the group, being a role model for the children/teens. Therefore, they must assess and assist the group, help foster positive relationships, provide guidelines and enforce camp rules, ensure a safe environment at all times and always show professionalism in their work Furthermore, they have to monitor and follow up the participants evolution and development during the week, not only of his/her own group but of the whole group of campers.” – Germán from Diverbo
Say no to ‘read from textbook’ lessons. Find creative ways for your students to learn new vocabulary and grammar through games and activities.
“Teachers who can create fun and engaging lessons, thinking outside of the box and the classroom!” – Peter, XUK
“Our summer camps aren’t school. We want to give our students a summer to remember, while also giving them language skills they’ll remember too. So, our teachers need to be dynamic, inspiring, and creative. We focus a lot on games, theatre, and songs to generate the emotions that we believe can be a great vehicle for learning. So, we want teachers who can think outside of the box and make the learning experience as unique and special for the students as possible.” – Kieran, ACLE
Problem solving skills
Issues can arise – some which can be expected and planned ahead for e.g. working with learners from different cultural backgrounds – and some which come completely out of the blue, for example the weather (sunshine is not always guaranteed!)
“The right candidate must be able to find solutions to potential and unforeseen problems. As a responsible part of our staff, the counsellors must be able to cope with any unexpected situations that might arise in the camp and deal with these obstacles. Our goal is to ensure the smooth progress of the camp as well as the safety and satisfaction of the participants (and their parents).” – Germán from Diverbo
A passion for teaching
It really speaks for itself – if you want to make a difference and have a real drive and determination to teach and impart wisdom, it shows.
“What we look for in a teacher is firstly – passion, we love a teacher that is passionate about what they do so their excitement can be passed on to their students.” – Simon, Xplore the World
“Our participants learn English by speaking and doing activities. Therefore, we look for people who are able to create a warm and dynamic atmosphere, conduct activities on their own, and undertake additional responsibilities when necessary. Above all, our camp participants need to have fun while learning English, so they have to be surrounded by energetic people.” – Germán from Diverbo
“No matter how great or small your experience in the field of education is, we feel that if you have a passion for working with and developing our students, then you’ll be a great candidate. Our students come to summer camps to have fun and do something different with their language learning. We want candidates who are as enthusiastic about teaching as our students are about learning. We aren’t after those who just want a summer job, or an excuse to travel, or think that they might have the skills to be a teacher; we want people who know that they want to spend their summers surrounded by lively, enthusiastic, and eager Italian students.” – Kieran, ACLE
Draw and build on your existing experiences and skills – anything from sharing customs from your home country, to playing a musical instrument!
“One of the greatest assets of having mother-tongue English teachers on our camps is the multicultural experiences and diversity that they can offer to our students. We have teachers from all over the world, and each brings with them a unique set of experiences and skills. We really value this and encourage our teachers to share their own experiences as much possible, while learning all about Italian culture too. We find that it is this cultural exchange that inspires students and teachers alike and creates lifelong friendships. All of our teachers stay with host families throughout the summer, and this is probably the most rewarding part of the summer for both parties.” – Kieran, ACLE
Eager to learn and develop
We can all learn something – no matter how old or experienced we are. You can learn a lot about yourself living in a foreign country, working and communicating with learners and other members of staff that do not have English as their first language and new fun and creative ideas to get the target language across!
“A willingness to learn and develop, we can all develop ourselves further and we should learn from every experience.” – Simon from Xplore the World
We hope you have found this article useful and wish to thank our contributors. More information about their summer schools and teaching opportunities can be found below.
Peter Northcroft, Regulation & Staffing Manager at XUK
XUK has run summer camps for over 20 years. Graded Outstanding by Ofsted &
accredited with the BAC. We have been rated one of the top camps in the UK with a great mix of international & English children. XUK English offers English language tuition, exciting activities & cultural study trips for international students. XUK Activity offers a fabulous range of activities, trips and fun for children & teens. XUK Excel is our specialist camp where children focus on a specific area of interest.
Kieran Fitzpatrick, Recruitment Officer and former tutor at Associazione Culturale Linguistica Educational (ACLE)
ACLE is a non-profit organisation accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education and the World TEFL Accrediting Committee. ACLE has over 30 years of experience in the language-teaching and language-learning sector.
Each summer the association trains and places more than 350 English tutors in camps to teach English to Italian children and teenagers. Our TEFL-TP program is a unique opportunity to enhance your CV by learning how to teach through games, sports, drama and songs all taught at our orientation. It is also a great summer experience where you will meet people from around the world, enjoy all that Italy has to offer, and make amazing memories for you and the children you meet.
Germán García, Recruiting Manager at Diverbo-Pueblo Inglés
Every year, we look for native/bilingual English speakers who want to have fun working as counsellors in Spain in summer and help our Spanish participants learn English. Last year we hired over 200 people for the month of July, had 18 different venues and over 3,000 participants, including Spanish and international teenagers and younger children.
We usually start recruiting new candidates by the month of March and our programmes are carried out in July in different regions of Spain.
Simon Catton, HR Manager at Xplore the World
Xplore is a dynamic, motivated and growing company run by people with valuable industry knowledge and expertise. Our mission is to be recognised as a leading, international education provider of integrated language, culture and activity programmes.
Kirki Athanasiadou, HR Manager at Skouras Camp S.A.
Kids (6-16 years old) from all over the world come to our English language and sports camp in Nea Fokia, Chalkidiki, Greece.
Check out Summer School 2018 vacancies now https://www.tefl.org.uk/tefl-jobs-centre/summer-camp-jobs/