Ok so here’s the truth – camp is a lot of work with great benefits, so for the lazy I suggest you remain in Moscow over summer where the work load is rather light but you’ll be on call and doing covers left, right and centre. For the ones that are not afraid of hard work and enjoy the challenge in an intense environment- Sosnovy Bor is the answer!
I would especially recommend camp to new teachers as working closely with colleagues, making lesson plans together, and most importantly getting feedback on what worked and of course what didn’t, is the most valuable experience.
Camp sessions are two weeks long (except the 6th session which is 3 weeks). There are on average 250 children who are sent to camp, ranging in age from 6 to 16. They are divided into groups of about 12 depending on their age and English language skills. There are 6-7 teachers at each session, and each is assigned 3 groups of students to teach for two academic hours a day. No syllabus is followed, so the ADOS, or senior teacher, at camp makes an outline of the teaching program, and then it’s up to us, the teachers, to decide on what we would like to do.
In all honesty, for the kids, we are the ‘boring’ part of their day, the never ending hour and a half in which they are forced to think and sit inside a classroom, while the rest of their camp time is filled with outdoor activities, sports, theatre rehearsals, horse riding and the like. Keeping this in mind, it is huge challenge to keep the children’s motivation and interest, but if we never challenge ourselves we will never excel in our field. The great thing is that you are sharing this experience with your fellow teachers, and the support is just wonderful! During the two weeks, you will really get to know your groups, and they are mostly wonderful children, who will adore you even more if you put a tiny bit of extra effort in and play some table tennis with them, go to the disco or simply attend one of their performances- basically take an interest in them.
In between and after work, there are numerous options to fill one’s time with, these include bicycle rides, gym, basketball, a swim at the beach, a session at the sauna, a shashlik (barbecue), a party with the group leaders…
Hope you will find this information useful. Cheers!!!