Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head
If you’re a teacher with a DELTA or equivalent, Summer School in the UK is an opportunity to try out a Senior or Managerial role. Positions in year round schools for those jobs come up as often as students produce Future Perfect Continuous sentences so experience in a similar role might be what sets you apart and gets you a shot at it one day. The summer version might be shorter, but it’s like a double espresso shot compared with caffe latte – way more intense.
There’s a shortage of qualified people in summer. Often the most suited have a decent enough job that they want their summers off – or choose to work in universities in EAP. But to climb the ladder it might be worth one summer seeing what you’re capable of.
But, please, only if you can satisfy the following:
You’re computer literate
Computer literate managers are not limited to being able to find the on button and use hotmail. If you can’t cut and paste cells in Excel or attach documents to emails in Outlook or have heart failure every time you click on another open programme because you think your document has vanished, the job is going to stress you out. You’re going to stress us out.
Teacher support is a huge part of the job: mentoring, fostering a team spirit, helping with planning, observing lessons and giving useful input sessions. But if you can’t put together class lists in Excel, navigate a database and any other not too demanding admin tasks, your teachers (half of whom can do that stuff easily) won’t be getting what they need from their manager.
You can communicate up and down
Being a good team member doesn’t just mean being best buds with your teachers, it means getting on with the other managers and your manager/centre director. Avoiding them all day and not even bothering to say goodbye when you clock off for the day isn’t working as a team.
Even if you’ve always got on with everyone you worked with before, summer school is different. Now you’re living together. This is your family. Or a reality TV show without the cameras.
The bitching will follow you.
There’s a lot to learn if you’re new into the school or the role.
I know because I did the job first time without the manager’s induction because my sister got married on a Wednesday so as to inconvenience as many people as possible and keep numbers down. So don’t tell me the one week induction you had to prepare wasn’t the right kind of induction.
It”s up to you to make sure you get what you need out of it.
And if you don’t know what that is, read the handbook and work it out. That’s what being in charge means. Responsibility – the taking of.
You can lead
It’s not just admin and being good at finding resources for teachers who are busy – although that is all important. Your teachers are looking to you for guidance and structure.
Give them that by creating structure for yourself and then making it clear what you require of them. A staff room quickly becomes a panicky, pre revolution mob when a manager is weak, indecisive, dithery or flapping. Sometimes it’s better when a not ideal solution is implemented with conviction (and learned from if needs be) than when the perfect solution is arrived at from a three hour democratic, crowd sourced, backtracked mess with no clear leadership.
You don’t act like their mother
Delegate tasks and challenge those who can take it with some responsibility eg a buddy system. You don’t have to give equal attention to everyone in your brood.
Make them tidy their classrooms. Don’t do it yourself. They won’t learn and you won’t always have time. I’ve seen classrooms with apples rotting on windowsills from that approach.
You are positive and cheerful
When the owner of the school or equivalent comes round, acknowledge them and act with basic courtesy. Don’t whinge at them about how hard the job is.
Your director and the other managers will get on better with someone who’s pleasant to be around than someone who’s deadly at the job.
So all that stuff I’ve just said? Do it with a smile. And biscuits.
You’re in control of yourself
Temper tantrums are best engaged in alone. Not in front of your Director for asking you for some paperwork.
Naps should be carried out in your free time, rather than during prep time which you should be in the staffroom throughout.
Your bladder is your own concern. Pissing out of your bedroom window makes it everyone else’s.
If you can manage all that, here are the best schools who I’d bet are looking for people right now. And if you want to work with me, number 5 on the list, Bede’s, is taking applications 🙂
Top 20 UK Summer Schools according to British Council Points of Excellence
1 St Edmund’s College
2= Concord College, d’Overbroeck’s College, Windermere International Summer School
5 Bede’s Summer Schools
6 Bell Young Leaners
7= Discovery Summer, Heathfield Summer School, International Language Holidays
10= Bucksmore Education, International Student Club
12= Babssco, EJO, International Summer School (Accord), Vacational Studies
15= Brighton International Summer School, Fettes CLC
17= Absolutely English, Bedford School, Cambridge Language and Activity Centre, Millfield School, MM Oxford, Taunton School, UIC Vacation