Updated: Jul 2, 2019
I have recently commented on a Facebook post about working in England as a non-native speaker of English. It was just a passing comment, nothing major. Within the next couple of days I had people contacting me to ask "but how?!"
I thought about myself from five years ago: "they will never employ me, no point even applying; why would they employ a Pole with not much experience when they have a whole country filled with native speakers". After all your questions I realised that I wasn't/am not the only one with those kinds of doubts and I decided to share my experience with you.
One day, about five years ago, I though "I could just apply to a summer camp in England ... just for fun ... to see if anyone even replies". I started Googling summer camps! I had no idea there are so many!!
WHERE TO START?
On TEFL.com. The best thing to do is sign up to their mailing list. This way you can get job offers coming to you each day. Now is a good time to apply because summer schools are looking for people for this coming summer so there are many places and schools to choose from.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED?
I have a bachelor's in Early Education with TEFL and I also studied English Philology for 5 years (bachelor's + master's). I do NOT have a CELTA, DELTA, or any other TEFL certificate. Most job offers ask for "CELTA or equivalent" and if you studied English at uni THAT is your equivalent.
DO I NEED EXPERIENCE?
Personally, I got three job offers within two days without having official experience (only private lessons). I don't mean experience in working any job in Britain, I mean experience working at any school anywhere.
DO I NEED OTHER QUALIFICATIONS, LIKE FIRST AID?
Not where I work. There's a nurse and about ten staff members with first aid training at the camp where I work. It is possible that some camps will require you having first aid training but certainly not all of them.
WHAT'S THE MONEY LIKE?
I get paid once, for the whole summer. What you usually find in the ads is the weekly wages. I started at £350 per week and now I'm on £480. I've seen ads offering even more to experienced teachers. You might think that it's rude of me to talk about my earning so freely but I personally have no problem with that.
I get a pay rise every year. I don't know to what extent that is a norm and to what it is me having a really cool boss 😅
WILL I BE ABLE TO SUPPORT MYSELF LIVING IN ENGLAND IF I GET PAID AT THE END?
Yes, you will. It obviously all depends on the camp you chose to work on, but I get a room and three meals a day. If I wanted to I could not spend a penny for six weeks ... I obviously do because it's England and there are just too many nice or tasty things around 😝
ARE THERE CAREER ADVANCEMENT OPTIONS?
Yes, there are. I became a Director of Studies by the second summer. I didn't need to attend any additional courses for that. I got promoted based on my skills and dedication.
IS IT DIFFICULT?
It's not for everyone, it can be exhausting in many ways. I work for six weeks non stop from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. Planning and conducting lessons is one thing, on top of that you get trips, meals eaten with kids, discos, other activities available on camp, airport runs, etc. What I usually get to do is art and sometimes I help with games and special themed activities. Your other duties on camp depend very much on the place you work at. There are camps were you'd get assigned your own dorm and then you're the one responsible for waking the kids up and putting them to bed in the evening. You might be asked to roam the camp site making sure everyones safe and everything is working fine.
I have to attend a daily meeting which only starts after all the kids had gone to sleep, so usually after 10pm.
I get 24h off per week starting at 5pm one day and finishing at 5pm the next day. Why is it like that? Well, drinking alcohol is absolutely forbidden on camp ground so when some staff members get their evening off they like to take advantage of that at the local pub. They would not be very fresh and ready to work in the morning the next morning.
By the time the 6 weeks are done I am exhausted, more mentally than physically but it all goes away when log into my bank account two days later 😄
WHERE DO I WORK?
Why did I write all that? To show you that it's possible! All you need to do is put yourself out there and wait for the offers to start rolling in 🙂
Have fun applying 😅