summer camp

A Day in the Life of a Summer Camp Trainer

In July 2015, I spent four weeks volunteering at a TEFL Summer Camp in Brasov, Romania. I was teaching English as a foreign language to children aged between 9-17 years old. This is a typical day at the Summer Camp.

08:00: Wake up and get ready for the day ahead

08:30: Breakfast is served to all the children and trainers in the main dining hall

09:00: Trainers head to the office, where all my teaching materials are kept, then check I have all the materials I need for the days lessons and do any last minute copying or printing of worksheets etc

09:15: All 12 trainers gather on the main outdoor stage and do a couple of dance routines with the children to make sure they are awake ahead of morning lessons

09:30: First lesson of the day – each day I run a theme through my lessons, the theme is introduced in this first lesson e.g. ‘The Body’ lesson, started by teaching words to do with the face/head

10:15: 15 minute break for children and teachers

10:30: Second lesson of the day – the theme from the first lesson is continued: teaching the rest of the body; splitting the class into two groups; each group drawing around one member of their group on a large sheet of paper, and then each team names as many body parts as possible and the team with the most correctly spelt words wins a prize

11:15: 15 minute break for children and trainers

11:30: Third (and final) lesson of the day – two or three trainers join classes to form a larger group. Something that always goes down really well with the children in Romania is musical chairs, of course played with music in English, the children were very competitive!

12:30: Lessons finish for the day. The children have thirty minutes of free time before lunch and trainers use this time to gather in teaching materials and the work done by the children, sometimes having to crawl under tables to pick up stray pens and pencils! Materials are then returned to the trainer’s office before heading for lunch

13:00: Lunch is served to all the children and trainers. All the trainers sit together and catch up and trade stories from the morning lessons

14:00: Trainers spend an hour after lunch preparing lessons for the next day, usually together so we can learn from one another and share ideas

15:00: Due to the warm weather in Romania, the trainers sleep/rest for a couple of hours in the afternoon. The children are under the supervision of their teachers and the camp organisers, most of them heading to the pool for a while or taking a nap

17:00: Two of my colleagues and I take the children for sports, this includes football, tennis, basketball and badminton. This session usually lasts for an hour and a half, but it isn’t uncommon for children to leave mid-way through as it is still very warm. On really hot days we don’t start this session until 17:45/18:00

18:30: 30 minute break for children and trainers before dinner

19:00: Dinner is served to all the children and trainers

20:00: Evening activities with the children. Each week, for four weeks, we had different groups of children at the camp, so there was a theme for each night of the week which remained the same throughout the four weeks. On Monday nights trainers would introduce themselves to the new children, Tuesday night was karaoke, Wednesday night was traditional Romanian dancing, Thursday night was sports night, Friday night was the talent show and Saturday night (the children’s last night) was a camp fire

21:00: Disco for the children, trainers staying around for a short while but usually heading off around 10pm to relax before bed

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