3 Fun Games for English Class in Camp

Class time at Family Camp Gredos

Imagine you are a camper –  you have spent the entire academic year in school, and now you’re on your summer holidays… and your parents send you to English summer camp, and you find yourself once again in a classroom, with a teacher and a book.
outside-teaching at summer camp
For this reason, we try to make English class on camp as fun and as dynamic as possible. We ask our teachers to make sure they include lots of games and communicative activities, in order to keep the campers motivated and to make sure they learn as much as possible. To help them with this, we provide comprehensive lesson plans to complement the student’s book. However,  some teachers want to come up with their own activities, and it can be daunting to come to camp as a teacher and try to come up with new and exciting games for every class, especially if you do not have much teaching experience. Here are some tried and tested games that are sure to enliven any class, regardless of level!

Fly Swat

The simplest of games, perfect for practicing vocabulary. You need some fly swats, and flashcards, and then you are ready to go! Stick the flashcards on the board, split students into teams and each team receives a fly swat. The students then take it in turn to hit the flashcard the teacher or another student calls out. Some control is needed to make sure the students don’t try to hit each other with the swat!

Running Chinese Whispers

Another game that can be played to practice vocabulary – and best played outside. Students line up, relay race style, in teams. They must run to the teacher, who shows them a flashcard. Then, running to the back of their team, they must Chinese whisper the word to the front of the line – and the student there must run forward and tell the teacher the word. It may take a few tries for the students to get the hang of it, but the combination of running and whispering makes them work really hard to remember their vocabulary!

Noughts and Crosses

Students are bound to know this game, and it can very easily be adapted to help them to practice their vocabulary. Drawing the traditional 3 by 3 grid on the board, in each square you stick a flashcard. You can leave it face up, or to make it more challenging, face down. Students, in two teams, pick a card, and if they get the piece of vocabulary correct ( you can ask them to spell it as well), they can draw an x or an o for their team. The first team to have three in a row wins!

classroom-behavior at summer camp

These are just three of a plethora of games teachers use on camp – during their planning time each evening, our staff also have an opportunity to share and develop ideas, resources and activities with one another, building a great environment of teamwork and professional development. If this sounds like the kind of environment you’d like to work in, apply now for Summer 2018!

And it’s not just teachers who use games – every monitor needs a game or two (or ten!) up their sleeve. Look out for our next blog about the best games for monitors to use on summer camp.

Hungry? The Quick Guide to Spanish Food on Camp

Working on summer camp, you have the luxury of having three meals a day (plus a snack!), made for you. There’s no need to worry about where your next meal is coming from – the kitchen will provide. Of course, our kitchens are normally catering for upwards of 100 campers and staff and also for a Spanish diet. This may mean that there will be dishes that you haven’t tried before, but camp is a time to try new things – food can be one of them! Here is the lowdown on the best Spanish dishes that you’ll have on camp – if you’re  not hungry now, you sure will be soon.

Paella

Paella - Camp food
Paella – Camp food

Perhaps the most well-known of all Spanish dishes, it is a staple of camp food. Made with seafood, or meat such as chicken, and rice, it is sure to give you a great feed before running your afternoon sports sessions as a monitor. Filling, tasty and a part of Spanish culture – what more could you want from lunch?

Croquettas

croquetta -camp food
croquetta -camp food

It is no secret that the Spanish are fond of frying food, and perhaps the most delicious thing they have come up with are croquettas. The traditional flavor is ham and cheese, which is mixed with a béchamel sauce and flour, covered in breadcrumbs and then fried. Delish!!!

Churros

If you’re lucky enough, you may get churros served up for breakfast – but they definitely won’t be around for long as every camper will surely want at least one! Simply put, a churro is a long, thin piece of fried dough, covered in sugar, perfect to dip in coffee or hot chocolate. Have them once and you’ll be craving them again – if you find a café nearby to camp that serves them, they can be a great treat for your weekend morning off!

Churro -camp food
Churro -camp food

Pizza!

This option might not be even remotely Spanish… but when there is pizza for dinner, nobody can complain. Loved by Spaniards, Italians, Irish, English – whatever your nationality you are bound to have a big smile on your face when it is revealed that it is pizza time. Campers and staff alike have been known to cheer and chant when they enter the canteen and smell the glorious waft of pizza! A perfect way to end a day of teaching class and before an evening of planning classes for the next day!

Pizza - camp food
Pizza – camp food

These are only some of the dishes you may have the pleasure of tasting during your time on camp – other favorites include barbecue night, Spanish omelette (also known as tortilla) and salmorejo – a chilled tomato soup made with breadcrumbs – alongside staples that you know and love, like pasta salad, chicken, meatballs, and even baked potatoes!

Summer camp meal times

My Mission Statement – Camp Year-Round Coordinator

This year, I (Jenny!) have started working as the camp year round coordinator. As TECS asks all its staff to do, I’ve written a mission statement for my position and for the year ahead – and here it is! By writing this I  have a clear idea of my goals and aims for the year ahead – I also have a motivating tool, as by rereading my mission statement, I can motivate my future self.

My Mission Statement

I will dedicate myself to each part of my role to ensure I complete my tasks to the best of my ability. I will balance each role well, depending on the challenges and strains that are happening at the time – making sure that I never neglect any position, but recognizing that differing amounts of effort and focus will be needed at different times.

As a teacher in the academy, I will help my students to improve their level of English, by having well planned, fun lessons. When in the classroom, I will be focused on teaching the class to the best of my ability. I will manage my classes well, both by classroom management and by reflecting on where I can improve, in general areas, with each group that I teach and with individual students. I will be a positive member of the team, contributing and receptive to feedback and any improvements I can make. I will also believe in each of my students, and I will see improvements in all of them throughout the year.

Working on the school camps, I will make sure that the children have a great experience – inside and outside the classroom. Whilst on a school camp, I will give great energy and presence to the program, and I will also be enthusiastic and dedicated to the preparation that comes beforehand, knowing that it plays an integral part in how successful the school camp is. I will help the other people working at the school camp to do the best job possible – be that through resources, motivation, support or all of the above! I will also enjoy each school camp as much as I can.

Any work I do helping to prepare for summer camp will be informed by my experience and knowledge from previous years, and I will always think on how best I can incorporate this into my work. I will bring my passion and enthusiasm for summer camp into each task, regardless of what it is.

In all of my roles, I will be patient and self-reflective. If I am stressed, I will manage it well, and not transfer it or take it out on others. I will use my strengths to aid the people I work with, and I will continuously improve on my weaknesses, sometimes by myself and at other times by asking for others help and support. I will maintain my own personal high standards, but never allow them to be the standards to which I hold other people.

#11 Reasons to work on a TECS Camp!

We here at TECS are incredibly proud and passionate about our summer camps, and how amazing it is to work on one of them! We all started off as monitors and teachers before moving up through the ranks so we have felt this first had. In an attempt to try and describe the many, many reasons why you should make the best decision of your life and work on a TECS Summer Camp I have come up with the following list:

#1 It’s Fun!

I’m not actually sure it’s possible to find a job that is more fun than a job working on StaffThurssummer camp. Honestly, your job description is basically to provide fun! Our summer camps are designed to provide fun for the kids all day long, but as a staff member you get to enjoy it too! The hours may be long and you may not make millions but you will be doing one of the most fun jobs imaginable.

Picture a lot of young people together in a camp setting where they are suppose to be the craziest, wackiest, and most entertaining versions of themselves. All of this in the beautiful Spanish sunshine. What more could you ask?? How about sports, excursions to cool places, cross-dressing guys for evening entertainments, costumes, and staff nights out to name but a few?

 

#2 Incredibly Fulfilling Work

If you work on a summer camp you aren’t going to be an accountant or a sales person, you aren’t going to do any old job, you really are going to a truly good job that will help the lives of so many young people.

Day28_LVYou are going to take the role of being a surrogate parent/older brother or sister/confidante/friend to a group of kids. You will care for them, make sure they are happy, care for them when they are sick or sad, teach them good manners and values. You will be their role model, the person that they look up to and want to emulate. That doesn’t just mean that they want to copy the way you wear your cap backwards or the way you dress – it means that they will want to be like you for good or for bad.

You can and will make a difference! We’ve seen countless cases of kids who’ve come to summer camp and thanks to a great staff member have had the summer of their lives and have decided to come back year after year and push themselves to be better people. Some of them have even come back as coordinators or even camp directors! Check out some of their stories here.

There is literally no better feeling in the world than that feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that you get at the end of summer camp.

 

#3 TECS believes in it’s Staff

For TECS, our staff have always been, and will continue to be, our number one prioity– as it is very true “happy and productive staff” make possible the happy experience for our campers to grow in. For this reason we have always sought hard to provide our staff with what they need to do a great job.

Nurturing a work environment of support is also a top priority for TECS. Nearly all our camp managers were once TECS camp staff, meaning we have firsthand experience of how tough a staff member’s job can be. For this reason we strive to work with our staff; supporting them when they have problems, guiding them and advising them whenever they need help, and do whatever it takes to make our staff be the best they can be.

 

#4 Personal and Professional Development

Working on a summer camp will definitely take you out of your comfort zone and make you try and do new things! Ever stood up on a song and sung songs about Moose in front of loads of people? Ever cross-dressed on stage? Ever painted yourself from head to toe? All of these things and more will help you go home a more confident person!

prof-development-2016
Staff Feedback form summary 2016

Training has also always been a top priority for us and over the years we have dedicated considerable time and resources to developing the best training programmes we can. Whilst we know no training can ever prepare someone perfectly for the start of camp, we also know that extensive skills training, “mentalization” (as we call getting prepared for the challenges of camp) and plain important information giving will give most of our staff the starting point they need to approach the challenges of camp life with confidence.

We are incredibly passionate about the personal and professional development of our staff. Not only do we see it as the greatest investment we can make to improve the quality of our summer camps but all of us at the top have it has one of our top life passions to help make people better, be it in their jobs or in their lives.

We put a lot of time and effort to ensure that our staff are constantly given feedback, given every chance to develop within their jobs, and assisted and pushed to do so by our management teams.

#5 The Friendships!

staff 2016.png
Staff Feedback Form Summary 2016

On TECS Summer Camps you can truly make lifetime friendships. You will be thrown into this unique (and weird) summer camp environment with anywhere between 25-60 other like-minded people from all over the world. You’ll spend an intense amount of time together in the “camp bubble” where you will forget about the outside world and where time goes different (I swear knowing a person on camp for a week is like knowing them for a month!).

With just one summer you can make some of the closest friendships, or even relationships.

 

#6 Team Work

Like working with other people? Well then summer camp is for you! Summer Camp work is all about working together with people all the time. Whether it’s running sports sessions with other monitors or it’s all of the staff together for the big evening entertainments or it’s all of the camps coming together to run the famous Intercamp Competition, you will be working with people all summer!

 

#7 Sunny South of Spain

To top it off, not only will you be having loads of fun but you will be doing it in a place famous for it’s 300+ days of sunshine each year. You could be on one of the many beautiful beaches or in the most breathtaking mountain camps. Whichever camp you want to work in you will be guaranteed to have great weather and get a great tan!

 

#8 No Costs!

Summer Camp jobs may not pay as much as a lot of other jobs but they also cost almost nothing. Unlike some of the American summer camps there are no upfront costs, no need to pay for a visa or to pay €1000 on flights.

Your accommodation and all of your meals will be covered by us, we will organize your uniform and laundry, all of your transport and anything else needed so the only thing is if you want to by yourself some €1 beers on your nights out!

 

#9 Staff Events

StaffThursIf having one of the most fun jobs wasn’t enough we do also like to invest in our staff so that they, as well as the campers, have the best summers of their lives. We organize weekend trips, and put on sports and game competitions during camp to liven things up (as if camp ever got dull…). At the end of the summer we organize a special night called which we call the “final meal” where we all get dressed up and have a beautiful dinner and a few (many!) drinks. We give out special awards and make sure to appreciate all of the hard work and contribution that our staff have made to camp that summer.

 

#10 Returnee Rate

Numbers like don’t lie. Depending on the summer about 60% of our campers and at least

overall-experience-2016
Staff Feedback Form Summary 2016

50% of our staff come back to our summer camps as returnees. We’ve had loads of campers who’ve come back so long that they’ve ended up working on camp. All of our managers have once been staff and moved up through our structure and we’ve had staff who have worked up to 20 summers!!! Check out here what some people who have worked with us before have said!

 

#11 These Celebrities say so!

And if all of these aren’t enough reasons then check out what all of these celebrities have to say about working on camp:

Testimonial: Claire Wenman

Before coming to TECS in 2015, I had never worked in a summer camp and I was a little scared about the prospect of working with a group of people who I had never met before. However it was one of the best experiences of my life. The people that you work with come from all over and bring lots of different qualities which help to make the experience even better. I can honestly say I have made some extremely good friends from my experience last year and I have some great memories with them.

I worked as a TEFL teacher last summer and it was a great opportunity to test my skills as a teacher because it is a totally different experience from that of a normal teacher working in an EFL academy or a school. In my case, my classroom was outdoors to start with so you have to adapt to that situation but along with the other teachers you work as part of a team and create the best lessons possible. This experience has helped me in my normal teaching job as I have become more creative with the material I am teaching and a lot more adaptable.

You may think that working all the time with kids company will get boring and annoying but you will not stop laughing with them and the other teachers and monitors. Although the days are long, they are thoroughly enjoyable because you can allow your childish side to come out and have a laugh with the kids. You think that you are just there to teach them but actually by the end you don’t want them to leave because they have made you enjoy your experience just as much as you help them to enjoy theirs.

Applying to work at TECS last summer was an excellent decision because I have made some excellent friends, some amazing memories and developed as a person and professionally. I would 100% recommend it!

– Claire Wenman

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: Ross O’Brien

Where do I even begin?! I spent three of possibly the best summers of my life working in TECS summer camps! What makes camp amazing is the camaraderie you build with the other staff and thanks to my three summers in TECS I can genuinely say that I’ve made friends for life and will always have a couch to crash on in Spain!

But it’s not really about you – it’s about the campers! TECS provided me with my first proper work experience as a teacher. After an intense training week, I went into class feeling sufficiently nervous yet confident and the weekly observations act as a support to help towards making your classes even better. I can honestly say that I learned how to teach in TECS!

Returning to TECS year after year also enabled me to climb the ladder there. In my second summer I was involved with the online blog and in my third year I took a step into management and worked as a TEFL coordinator as well as a TECS College tutor. This involved training new teachers by observing their classes and giving them feedback as well as overseeing the running of the English programme on-site. Therefore TECS allowed and encouraged me to grow both personally and professionally. What more could you ask for from an employer?!

Camp life can be a rollercoaster of emotions – but rollercoasters are FUN so what are you waiting for? Apply to work in sunny Spain for a summer now! I promise…you’ll NEVER regret it!

– Ross O’Brien

Testimonial: Katrina “Flo” Bunn

I first came to TECS in 2013 as a TEFL teacher and have worked in the TEFL side ever since. I’d worked in a summer camp before but not in sunny Spain, which is a great added bonus of working at a TECS summer camp. I’ve always been lucky enough to work with a fantastic bunch of kids and a great team of staff who I’m still in contact with now – I really have had the best summers ever, which is what brings me back!

Most recently I worked in Magic Village as the TEFL Coordinator. It was a great experience – as well as doing what I enjoy (teach!), I got to train a team of TEFL teachers and help them develop professionally, ensuring that our campers had a great quality language programme learning English while having fun. In fact, I loved working as a TEFL Coordinator so much that I came back to work in the English Academy full-time as a director of studies!

Working at TECS to this level definitely gave me an insight into education management and the skills and experience to step into a career path I never dreamed that I would be able to pursue – I am 100% certain that I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t come to TECS back in my first summer. Who knows where you could be in a few years if you come to work in TECS this summer?

– Katrina “Flo” Bunn