Danny is one of our TEFL experts. He has taught in Italy, Japan, Poland and at a esl summer school in the UK, so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff. Summer schools are a great option to ease yourself in to teaching English as a second language, but positions are competitive, so it’s worth knowing how to apply for a summer school TEFL job; something which Danny will be helping you with…!
1. Finding ESL summer school jobs
When is the best time to look for ESL summer school jobs?
Many summer schools start recruiting in mid-January, and most of the positions are filled by the end of February; but there will also be a few last minute places available due to teachers dropping out.
Where do I find positions to apply for?
Summer school jobs are advertised on jobs boards, like yours at i-to-i. You can also type ‘summer school TEFL jobs’ into an internet search engine and find many positions that way.
Where are summer schools located?
They very often take up University campuses and use the facilities there. A lot of ESL summer school jobs are based in sunny climates like Spain and Italy, but you can find many in English-speaking countries like the UK, Australia and the USA.
When do summer schools run?
As the name would suggest, in the summer! June-August is the most common for northern hemisphere summer schools, so in line with school holidays.
2. Make sure you have the right qualifications
The vast majority of summer schools, especially in the UK, are British Council affiliated, which means you need an EDI CertTEFL or another level 5 qualification like a CELTA to work there. Head outside the UK though, and there are many schools that you can work for with a 120- or 140-hour TEFL course.
3. Students and Lessons
What sort of students attend summer schools?
This depends on where the organisation has its links: many draw students from western Europe and richer Asian countries like Japan, China and in the Middle East, but they can come from anywhere.
What kind of lessons would I be teaching?
Many schools focus on conversation classes and a small minority runs oral exams for students to work towards a qualification. Lots of schools have a focus on the language needed for the trips or activities they run, and encourage games and fun rather than focusing on the academic side of teaching. You will often encounter mixed ability and nationality classes, and jigsaw teaching is quite common.
4. What to expect in an ESL summer school job
What about accommodation?
Summer schools offer residential and non-residential positions. With residential contracts they provide free accommodation to their TEFL teachers; in many cases standard student accommodation as they use university facilities a lot. Non-residential teachers are usually given a little extra pay, but in many cases this only amounts to an extra £30 or £40 per week.
Do they provide food too?
“Yes, in the vast majority of cases, teachers eat free in the canteen with their students. The food will be of variable quality, but as this is a major complaint of the students in many cases, summer schools have begun to concentrate on this area.”
How much can I expect to be paid?
Anywhere between £320 and £380 per week in the UK is quite normal. Anything more and it is a very good deal for a standard residential teaching position. It will vary by country outside the UK, but should be along broadly similar lines.
Will I be expected to lead excursions?
Some summer schools expect teachers to help with activities and excursions, although they will employ activity leaders and coordinators to lead these. Other summer schools allow teachers to focus exclusively on teaching, so it really depends down to which school you’re teaching at.
What will my normal duties be?
You will be expected to prepare lessons – often with little notice – and teach up to 30 classes a week. You might also be asked to help mark tests and go on excursions or activities.
5. Higher level positions
Can I be a senior teacher at a summer school?
If you have experience of working as a TEFL teacher, particularly in a summer school, you can often find positions as a senior teacher. Duties will vary between employers, but you can often expect around £50 – £100 extra per week, and for that, you’ll need to help the other teachers prepare better lessons and assist the Director.
I’ve seen some attractive positions as a Director of Studies or Centre Manager – what can you tell me about these?
These positions will often require a DELTA or MA in TEFL, and several years’ experience, including in summer schools. These positions involve long hours and lots of responsibility for the successful running of the summer school; and are quite stressful, but very well paid, with centre managers earning anything between £700 and £1500 per week, and a director of studies expecting around double the wages of their teachers.
How can I get a TEFL qualification so I can find a summer school job?
Get TEFL qualified with i-to-i, then you can start applying for summer school positions – good luck!