Summer working. Is that not an oxymoron? Summer is about sun, beaches, fun, and relaxation. If you happen to be a teacher or a student, then you will probably be blessed with at least two months of holiday. A two month holiday you say? Who wouldn't jump at the chance? The careful remainder from that annoyingly sensible part of you could possibly lead you to think twice, and remind you that all play and no work may also have its consequences. Then the 'summer school' - is this too not an oxymoron? - craze went and threw together some 'summertime' with some 'work' and some 'play', and created refreshingly tantalising summer sensation, catering for all your summertime desires. Parents send their precious little beasts off for a few weeks of classes, sports and adventures, all whipped up together with a fat dose of fun. So, which one do you choose? Well, one a booming summer camp went and put the icing on the oxymoron cake with their summer school: English Summer. Strategically not located in the English land, but in the north east of Spain, where the sun shines and the fiestas flow. So you may be wondering where the 'English' part fits in. Well, that's where us teachers fit in. Our mission, should we decide to accept it, is to teach all the little Pablos and Marias as much English as can be fit into their Spanish babbling brains as possible in two weeks. I accepted. For ten weeks.
Tamarit, one of the English Summer summer camps, is would probably fall into the sea if it went any closer. But that would never happen, because Tarragona is too close by and would always swim out to save it. So evidently a perfect location for an afternoon beach session with the occasional paella with the little munchkins, some free time fiestas, or just some plain old simple sun soaking. Summer and work hand in hand right there.
Back at base, the morning is busting with English classes. Afternoons include playing down at the 'playa', some good old fashioned team sports, with the odd wild adventure thrown in there for fun. And the party doesn't stop there, in fact it hasn't even started. In the evenings all the focus is on the fiestas. Get the face paints, bed sheets and bin liners out, we are going in costume tonight. And so are you. Remember: maximum effort, maximum entertainment, so yes please, let us go the whole hog and make a big song and dance about it all. English Summer Style. Singing and dancing from eyes open to eyes closed. Two left feet and a Froggie in your throat? Let English Summer sort that for you. The antidote? A two week treatment of jive bunnying away and stretching out your vocal chords. Exhilarating entertainment which will spin your head loco. You have to experience it to understand it.
So what exactly is a day in the life of a Tamarit teacher like? The mornings are your chance to shine as a teaching guru. Team Tamarit works like one big happy family, so whatever your teaching trouble, or your camp conundrum, any member of this flabbergastingly fantastic family will be all ears and be more than happy to give you a push in the right direction. It may be hard to forget, but the summer session is still in full swing, so don't be afraid to put down your pens and throw yourself and your little gems into the pool of possibilities when it comes to English learning activities. Get the giggles going and the brain bouncing all in one fail swoop. So this all means one thing: planning. To be fit in at some point in the afternoon, with a dash of of the occasional set of exam prep and paperwork drizzled over the top. Welcome to the world of teaching if you haven't been here before. But don't despair, the longer you are here the easier it is to find your way around. You will be flying through it in days. You may even be able to sneak in some summer sunbeams too, but don't put your feet up for to long, the mighty monitors could desperately do with a helping hand. So who are these fine chaps and chapesses I hear you cry? They are toughest, craziest, golden-hearted Spaniards on the east coast of Spain. They form the backbone of the English Summer establishment, and without them a camp catastrophe would be imminent. With their warrior-like status, they work around the clock to care for and entertain their precious princes and princesses. Let us not forget their co-partners in crime, their MP's, or Monitoring Projects, the aspiring monitors of the future. A mouth-watering fruit medley of workers carefully selected to show the charming little children the time of their lives. Together, team Tamarit form a network of diverse and dangerously energetic team devoted to ensuring the fun never stops for the little campers during their two week trip to Tamarit.
So what was my role in the Tamarit tales of twenty ten? I taught the tiny tots for ten weeks. That's the five to eight year olds for five terms. High energy classes leaving me somewhat like a wet paper-towel when finished. Yet what I learnt about myself, others and my star students as a result was invaluable, and without any doubt worth every second. Experience the world and grow in yourself. Now I am blessed with a bountiful collection of magnificent memories. Take a peek inside and you will find an assortment of goodies: students, friends, fiestas, avatars, romans, zombies, farm animals, ... the list does anything but lack in length. It will be cherished forever. Give it your all and you will get it all back with cherries on top. What will be on your list, I wonder??