What its like being a teacher on camp!

outside-teaching at summer camp

Being a Teacher on Summer Camp:

 

Being a Camp Teacher on summer camp isn’t the same as being a teacher like we had growing up. Every single person has a memory of at least one teacher from growing up. Whether the person was particularly inspiring or encouraging or flat out challenging, everyone remembers his or her favorite teacher.

crazy-teacher

Summer camp is a different scenario. Our teachers are taught to deliver the best to the kids and make the 2 weeks the kids have as impacting as one trimester they may have in their lifetime. We want them to challenge themselves but importantly have FUN in the class. A teacher is looked up to and learned from. Each kid is different and in more demand than the other. When you have a class of 12 kids there is always going to be a variety of different personalities and challenges that arise. One thing I can say is take a deep breath and relax. Classes aren’t meant to be a 4 hour intensive course on grammar points. They are much more interactive and involving. Classes at camp have meanings. Each day is prepped and organized to inform them about camp and teach them vocab and expression they can use at camp.

 

WHAT ITS LIKE BEING A TEACHER ON CAMP!  classroom-behavior

Some say it’s wonderful some say it’s physically challenging. Well, let me tell you it’s something that isn’t easy and sure takes a kick start to get in the swing of!

What you do on camp?

Teachers use their evening time during evening entertainment planning awesome lessons so they can deliver a great lesson at 9am!

Do teachers get much sleep on camp?

Well, it depends on what you do after your planning time – either get a good nights sleep or make the decision to stay up late and socialize

Whats it like teaching Spanish children?

Its very fun! They love to know where you are from! Teacher bonding time is amazing and teachers really get to know their students well!

 Do we have enough stationery on camp? 

Of course we do! Sometimes things become limited when your up in the mountains or a rural area but thats when creativity sets in and open minded people brainstorm solutions!

In other words hold the questions and finish the read you will really have a general understanding of our camp teachers life..

The weather is hot in camp and teacher planning can run into sleeping time but your 9am classes are expected to be the most educational part of the day for your students! On the bright side of being a teacher at summer camp is such a great role because you are looked up to! You show them new games and class activities that they go home with new games and memories to share with their friends. You make creative projects that are taken home to show their parents and friends! You are the person that they will remember for summers ahead! Tecs teachers get to teach classes both inside a classroom and outside in the nature so you really get to use your surroundings and the kids love every minute of it. I think being a teacher has changed me for the better! I love knowing that my students walk away with new expressions and new phrases and new vocabulary that may never be learned except at tecs summer camps!

Would you like to cherish this moment? This is truly a real teaching experience at camp!

teacher-bonding

 

TESTIMONIAL: Kylie Watson

2008 – I had just finished a teaching stint in China and was off to see Europe – my time management was not so great and I knew I would need to support my travels a bit better financially. I found the TECS ad online: I had teaching experience, I had worked in outdoor recreation camp environments before – this would be perfect!

… No it wasn’t just perfect for my current situation back then, it was an exceptional personal and professional choice – I returned every year for 7 years working 1 year as a teacher, 3 years as a coordinator and 3 years as a director.

We focus so much on the kids that come through our gates and on the parents – not only are we providing a quality service to our clients (so much so, that in a way they have become our extended TECS families), but our immediate TECS family becomes the staff. We make a difference for the kids – we really do and we see the reactions almost immediately – improvement in English, improvement in social skills, improvements in independence and confidence… there’s nothing more rewarding, and to have it done in a 2-week program is ultra impressive. Seeing similar improvements within my teams… now that’s really something. It’s not without its challenges though, and it takes a bit of courage, but overcoming these is the ultimate reward. Thanks to TECS I’ve learnt so much about communication, leadership and just more about myself. And better still, I’ve been able to apply those principles to motivate, mentor and lead teams to success, with a true passion for what we do.  That’s the type of support we give and receive to both our kids and our staff and is at the core of the belief in what we do.

Think about it – what’s holding you back from the summer of your life?

TECS stand for a Totally Empowering & Challenging Summer!

 

– Kylie Watson

TESTIMONIAL: Maria Jimenez

The first time I went to TECS I was a 10 year-old junior camper. As far as I can remember, TECS has since then been part of my summers: 3 years in Family Camp, 2 years abroad, and 1 year in Little Village. Not only have I learnt English there, but I have also made lots of friends and I have the greatest memories of those summers.

When I was 17, I felt as I had been a camper for enough time, but, at the same time, I didn’t want to leave TECS camps, since they were an essential part of my summers. That’s when I decided to become a crew member.

Although in this position you don’t get paid (with money), there are plenty of things you get out of it. The most motivating thing about being a crew member is seeing yourself reflected in your campers. You will do whatever is needed to make sure they have as much fan as you did when you used to be a camper.

I’m not going to lie, working for kids is exhausting; it requires a bunch of energy and enthusiasm, but it gives you the biggest satisfaction you can get. When a kid comes and says ‘I love you teacher’ (yes, they will constantly call you teacher, although you’re closer to be a camper than a teacher!) and hugs you, gives you a drawing of you they’ve done themselves, or you see them smiling and having fun as you used to do, you’ll feel it was worth it.

Another thing that I loved about being a crew member is the way you connect with kids. You are not a camper anymore, and far from having fun, you have lots of responsibilities now, but neither are you a monitor. This position of ‘something in between’ lets you both work and be like a big brother or sister for the kids; someone they can trust, have fun with, and respect at the same time. That is something you can take great advantage of; during those two weeks, they will sometimes by angry, upset, sad or homesick, and you will be the most similar thing they have to their parents. Unconsciously, a bond between you and the kid starts to grow, and finally, the entire camp feels like a huge family!

Working on a summer camp is a great experience which I would definitely recommend to almost anyone. You make friends from all over the world, become more mature and responsible, you develop your English and, of course, you become a crucial part of a child’s summer. You will always get more out of it than you ever expected.

– Maria Jimenez

Testimonial: Joe Martin (a.k.a Big Joe)

When I first hopped out of the van on Staff arrivals day in TECS Summer Camps I knew this was going to be a summer to remember. I came from working in the South of Spain as an assistant teacher. I had some previous skills with kids but I didn’t know TECS was going to bring me in to a family filled environment. These kids were full of energy and excitement. I have never had so many kids wanting to know about my life. I felt like a celebrity at times! It was such a rewarding experience to see these kids grow in just a matter of weeks. When it ended we were all in tears because we built such a bond with these kids. Throughout the day we eat with them, go on off site excursions, play sports, make arts and crafts, go horse riding (in Family Camp Gredos) and surround them in an English immersion environment. We motivate and provide positive reinforcement to them when they need some extra encouragement and seek and provide welfare in every given situation. This is why I chose to continue my direction at TECS Summer Camp. We were there for support and guidance but also to make sure those were the best 2 weeks of their lives! I had such a great summer that I wanted to return again the following summer as a Summer Camp Teacher.

My second summer at TECS is when I took the next step in my life and found my passion in Teaching. I would spend hours planning my lessons just to make sure those 4 hours a day were a balance of learning and enjoyment for these kids. Young learners up to teenagers required physical interest in lesson plans and precise routines. I developed myself as a teacher during my second summer at TECS. I worked at GREDOS in the mountains outside of Madrid in an outside classroom setting and then switched to Magic Village as a teacher for another 2 weeks and my last 4 weeks of summer in August at Family Camp Puerto. Each of these camps provides a different atmosphere but whichever camp a camper chooses we have the most qualified and hard working staff waiting for you to make your summer an inspirational memory!

This was my mission statement at TECS last summer : I will seek and motivate my students so that they will achieve what I put in as a teacher. I lived for this every day at TECS Summer Camps.

TECS for Life!

– Joeseph Martin

Testimonial: Brendan Costello

Having finished University in May of 2012 I decided that I wanted to take a year out and go on an adventure. That adventure started with my application to work as a TEFL teacher in TECS summer camps. As it happened the adventure turned into my career and I returned to TECS the following summer to work in the same position. In 2014 I was the TEFL coordinator in Magic Village and in summer of 2015 took on the role of Director there too. So why have I come back to TECS every summer?

Every position has offered something completely different. As a teacher, your main focus is on the campers and the English programme. You have the opportunity to be very involved with camp life from the camper’s perspective and that is a fantastic way to spend the summer. As a coordinator, you become more involved with the staff and ensuring your side of the programme is running as it should be, the great thing about this position is that you still have one foot on the ground with the campers and one foot behind the scenes. Finally, as a Director you are very much involved with the smooth running of everything on camp. This can be a daunting task. Every day is different and you can be sure that no matter what you´ll have some sort of challenge come your way on a daily basis. In saying that, it is also an incredibly rewarding job to know that, at the end of the summer, you played such a vital role in making it the best summer ever for a few hundred campers.

I still remember everything about my first summer at TECS as a TEFL teacher in Family camp Puerto. Initially, there was the application and before I knew it I was arriving at the train station in El Puerto de Santa María, in beach town in the sunny south of Spain. The first few days can be full on and as a first time staff member you will invariably see all the returnee staff who seem to know exactly what to do and where to go, but then you´ll be back at the train station at the end of camp, probably crying, as you say goodbye to everyone and know that you have become a full-fledged member of a very special club.

Professionally, I have grown so much at TECS and have been given amazing opportunities in terms of career progression. Coming back to camp year after year has made me want to grow and develop and a job in TECS is the perfect place to do that if you have the motivation and the passion for it.

On a more personal note, TECS has changed me for the better. It has allowed me to be more open and understanding as well as given me the chance to meet and work with people from all over the world. Thanks to TECS I have become a more confident, focused and driven person.

– Brendan Costello

TESTIMONIAL: Danielle Hopkins

In 2007, I found myself in Family Camp Puerto tired and disorientated among a swarm of blue and white T-shirts. I wasn’t even sure I was actually going to turn up that day until something which to this day I can’t explain jolted me out of my hammock on a sunny rooftop in Cadiz. A voice in my head said “you really need to go and do this” job. And so I made the short train journey across the bay to start my adventure.

Half way through staff training week, I was wondering why I listened to that stupid little voice inside my head. Oh how very tired and overwhelmed I was.  This was my first real TEFL teaching job you see, I just kept thinking that these all singing, all dancing people around me were nuts. Guess what? They were and they still are. It’s just that now I’m one of them.

Summer camp is the craziest most intense experience that most people will go through in their entire life. For staff and campers.  It’s a rollercoaster ride that takes you through the most emotional highs and lows imaginable. You simply can’t avoid learning so much about yourself. Who you are and what you are capable of. That goes for the kids too.

For me, summer camp taught me primarily about compassion. No matter how tired or busy I was, I would never hesitate in helping a camper or another staff member. Putting someone else’s needs above your own comes naturally on camp after a while.  When you are surrounded by other staff members who do the same it turns into something magical.  TECS taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. The impossible, the ridiculous, the unthinkable. I did them all, and over the summers I excelled as a person in every possible way.

As I moved through the ranks on summer camp, each year I learned more about myself and other people. Each year I felt more grateful for my experiences and the trust that was given to me to do a good job in these positions.  It felt good to impart experience and knowledge that I had gathered over the summers and watch more green members of staff grow and flourish as I had.

My final year as a camp director was the cherry on my TECS cake.  On camp I made friends for life and found a confidence in myself that allows me to be the person I am today.  If you get the chance to work on summer camp, open your mind and your heart and get ready for the ride.

 – Danielle Hopkins

Summer Camp Staff: The weird and the wonderful!

There are so many things I like so many things about working on summer camp (believe me you’re going to hear about them on this blog!)….. The kids, the activities, the smell (yes camp smells different!), the great weather, but one of the things I really love about summer camp is the people! The staff that work on camp just weirdly wonderful and wonderfully weird!

A lot of you might have noticed that I’ve been asking a lot of returnee staff to put up testimonials about their time working on camp, or if they’ve been campers then what being a camper and a staff member is like. Reading some of these amazing words about people like Ben, Flo or Marta had to say about their years on camp and what TECS meant to them was my inspiration for this post. Not because TECS is awesome (It is!)  but because it got me thinking about how many amazing people I’ve met over the past 9 years!

The kind of people who work on a residential summer camp are pretty amazing. They are the kind of people who decide” hey, instead of going on a beach holiday or working in a restaurant this summer I’m going to work 24/7 to care and educate some kids, so that hopefully they have the summer of their lifetimes and it enriches the rest of their life”, they’re the kind of people who think that cross-dressing is a fun way to make kids laugh, they’re the kind of people that put the needs others (the kids) above themselves, they’re the kind of people who don’t shut up about camp, they’re the kind of people who make a music video in their spare time……. They’re just a bit mad (my kind of people)!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting people like Ben, Flo, Marta, Javi, Jenny and so many more thanks to summer camp. Each one of these people are so different, so unique, so interesting, and all a bit nuts (in a good way!), and the thing is that in “real life” I probably would have never gotten the good fortune o meet people like them (Except for Ben maybe, who is apparently my estranged brother).

So to all of the staff over the years that I’ve gotten to know better in a few weeks during the summer and who I probably got to know better than a lot of my friends and family, I thank you for making each summer awesome!

Oh, I didn’t explain why they’re wonderfully weird? Check it out….