Teaching Kids English on a Summer Camp: A Transformative Experience

July 11, 2023

I learned a lot from them, and I hope they did learn a bit from me too…Although the focus was on fun learning 😊

With the flexibility of freelancing comes spontaneity in how to plan your days, and that’s what I love the most about this form of doing business. Also, it is summer, and it's hot. Your brain doesn’t work as well as during winter. If you don’t have cooling drinks and air conditioning you are basically doomed. Not to mention how your feed is full of people's moments on the beach all around the world. 🏖️🌅

I am a DIY fan and love working with my hands too. — Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

So when my friend Fazzie asked me if I knew someone who would be interested in teaching kids English in a Croatian coastal little town called Brodarica (close to Šibenik) as part of an International English Summer Euroclub, I instantly said: Me!

Of course, I mentioned it to a few other people just in case someone wanted to join, but I have always loved teaching and transferring my knowledge to others, so it was an easy decision.

Kids and a teacher in a outdoor classroom
This was our outdoor classroom! 😊

What is my experience in teaching, and how was it transferable to the classroom? Well, I have more than 10 years of Translating and Interpreting experience and I love learning and sharing my knowledge and random hacks and facts with people around me. Anything that can make your life easier or better, I will share it with you. I have also a few months of experience teaching Computer literacy online as a course as well, and as giving an introduction to freelancing for a client/colleague through a consultation.

And of course, I love interacting with kids which made my decision to become a no-brainer. But even after I sent my application a small part of me thought: Would you be able to do it? What if they don’t listen to you? Then me and my friend had a very productive meeting before our departure to the coast and went over the usual framework of how the camp classes are structured. And her saying that fun is prioritised over learning made my audible exhale in relaxation. I thought: Oh, that’s easy then, I will just make sure it's fun and interesting.

And with some preparation and testing the waters every day I realised how hard and rewarding teaching is. First, I didn’t have much data to research my target audience 😁, I just knew my kids might be in the age range between 7–17 and probably between 10–15 as part of the class group. Ended up having 10 kids ages 9 and 10 mostly. But the difference between them was the challenging part!

This is group 2 - my group 🥰

Challenges I encountered during that week:

  • Making the material interesting for every one of them
  • Getting to know my students without being drained
  • Paying equal attention when they call me: TEACHER! 🙋🏽‍♀️🙋🏽
  • Filtering the jokes and silly questions
  • Dealing with mood swings and depressive comments during class
  • Juggling admin tasks and paperwork
  • Giving a good introduction to the material so it can be absorbed easily
  • Switching between English and Croatian when necessary
  • Researching their interests better so I can give them more interesting tasks
  • Having fun with them and giving them the attention and love they crave
  • Participating in activities and games outside the classroom so I can get to know them even better

So based on my efforts and research, we formed quite a group and had lots of fun until the last day. We went to the beach together for our last lesson, and I got some compliments like:

  • Teacher, you look so beautiful!
  • Teacher, you are the best!
  • Teacher, are you coming next summer?
  • Do you have a daughter?
  • You are so cool! Can you sign my T-shirt?
  • Teacher, can I swim with you?

Accompanied by lots of hugs and kisses. And yes, it was very hard for me to leave the camp on Sunday without shedding a tear. *Sobbing now while reminiscing*. I hope all my students and other camp members find their purpose and happiness in life. And would be lovely if we meet again one day and hear them scream: Teacher! 🥰😭

P.S. Our podcast has the first 4 episodes lauched! 🎉

Where to listen and watch us:

💠RSS feed

💠YouTube (video recordings of the episodes)


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