Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UK Summer Schools - A Masochist Writes...

Well, as the dreadful summer school season is swiftly marching towards us, I thought I'd dig out a few of my old 'dissertations' on the unfortunate subject, and present a sort of thematic approach to the coming few weeks' blogs on The TEFL Tradesman. Skillful, ain't I?

Have you ever done a Summer School? No? That's excellent. Best try and keep things that way, actually. Having volunteered for many (far too many!) summer-time incarcerations in the past, I am very probably the least enthusiastic about the whole charade, as I know what working on a summer school really involves. After all, I did about a dozen of them in the 1990s, before the proverbial penny dropped. So, never mind the crap entreaties to ‘join in the summer fun’, and such tosh, which you can read on tefl.com these days – the reality is utterly different. Let me provide you with a few examples, served up, with no apparent relish, from my bitter memories…

If you’re a virtual novice teacher, with a Celta and say a year or two’s experience in taming teenagers in Mediterranean classrooms, you can expect to earn around 200 quid a week, after you’ve paid your tax and National Insurance. On top of this you’ll be provided with free accommodation and meals, although not all schools guarantee this. This might sound like a lot of money if you’ve been earning peanuts in Poland, but on the UK salary scale it’s probably about the same as you’d get doing a McJob – or washing cars at your local Tesco car-park.

The real downside is, of course, the hours you’ll be expected to put in – around 12 or 14 a day, for six days a week. In other words, your 200 quid works out at around three quid an hour for your six-day sentence! You do get a little time off for good behaviour, though - the nightmare of the weekly excursion, where you, a 'responsible adult' have to escort groups of spoilt foreign teenage brats to castles and museums,, and listen to them moaning about how expensive and crap the souvenirs are, they can’t find the toilets, and 'Teacher, I feel sick..." on the coach.

A typical day (although there never is a ‘typical day’, really) could involve struggling to get the kids up around 7:00, and making sure they’re dressed, breakfasted and ready for class at 9:00. This might sound like a relatively unformidable task, but don't forget it does involve finding the delightful buggers in the first place, as many will have 'travelled' during the night to a neighbour's bed or floor. On top of that, you have to ensure they're not still wanking, putting on the right clothes, and all manner of things that they manage to find extremely difficult now they're in a foreign country. Somehow, at the same time, you have to remember to get your own breakfast too, and attend a morning meeting before classes begin, with your DoS, who is probably a survivor from the previous year’s course - perhaps the only one, in fact.

She or he will take great pleasure in giving you the worst possible classroom combination of teenage angst and ebullient hormones to manage. Even worse, as a non-teaching DoS (which doesn’t necessarily mean he/she can’t teach, but might well) your unpleasant boss will be swilling cheap coffee and working off a hangover in the morning while you’re trying to keep vicious Vladimir from attacking gentle Julio, whilst at the same time making sure romantic Mario doesn’t try to shaft pretty Paula in the mid-morning break.

Then, after three hours of quite pointless classroom games, exercises and activities, you’ll be expected to escort your charges to the dining hall and watch over them whilst they chuck the revolting English food at each other. This is all on a typical day, remember. On the atypical ones, you’ll be expected to wipe up their puke after they’ve delivered a gastronomic thumbs down on the British pie and chips; and later you'll probably be expected to keep them from escaping off the site, or you may even have to chain Sergei the Russian anarchist (or shoplifter/brains behind the school's chocolate ice-cream racket) to a litter bin until the police arrive.

It gets better, though. In the afternoons you get to don the company t-shirt, perhaps even a clean one, and – hey presto! – you’re transformed into a sports and activities supervisor. Now you’re expected to entertain them with games of rounders and sack races, keeping them from smoking too much grass at the same time, and generally make sure they’re too shagged out to want to do anything else (especially shagging) after dinner.

As if that wasn’t enough, in the evenings you become a Butlins Redcoat and run the entertainment programme. You name it, you’ll be doing it – bingo caller, quiz master, DJ; or any combination of all three. Of course, you might be lucky and get posted on video duty, which means you’ll only have to endure a couple of hours of adolescent films and teenage farting, plus supervise some heavy petting in the back row behind the sofas.

And then, just as you thought you were about to slope off up the stairs to Bedfordshire, your Course Director reminds you that you’re on ‘put-down duty’. Much as you might like to put some of the loathsome miscreants down for good, with a sharp jab from a vet’s syringe, this actually means you have to make sure the boys stay in their beds and do not scamp across the playing fields for a midnight rendezvous with the opposite sex on the cricket square.

Finally, some time after midnight, as some of your colleagues are coming back from the pub and rowdily chanting racist football songs, you get to take that slither of valium and fall into a sweet, dreamy oblivion - for about six hours or so. Then it’s up again at seven to repeat the whole pointless fiasco, just to keep some rich kids amused for a couple of weeks or so.

You get the picture? And as for those crackpot colleagues, well – that’ll take another posting, perhaps next week.

By the way, if you do decide to do a summer school this year, just don’t say you weren’t warned, OK?

First Published: Friday, 15 April 2005

14 comments:

SEEKER OF PERFECTION said...

And THUS you mock and DERIde, you sand-dwelling invertebrate POLTROON devoid of all INTELLECT. MY summer school will be BEST EVER this year, in between COMMUNITY SERVICE and WORKING ON THE manuscript of my AUTOBIOGRAPHY (didn't know bout dat, did he? ha ha)Watch it hit the SHELVES in time for CHRISTMAS, the FULL STORY and EXPOSY of how ASHLEY deceived and betrayed me and CAUSED ME TO COMMIT CRIMES that are NOT in my natural construction. I shall be RAKING IT IN, laughing at the likes of you, tefl chavster. Pls twitter some more in your unique styl;e, YOU have been DEFEATED again, it will NOT go your way. SEMPER FI SEMPER GRAMMATICUS. That is my SLOGAN. Watch the fort, hold the line.

Anonymous said...

Yes MASTER.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Who let you lot in here again? Didn't I put Shaunie on door-duty? I guess he must have been having a crafty bong-break...

I'll find that lousy little provincial pothead and give him a piece of my mind!

Shaun Ryder said...

Aye, hello Paul you fookin' fart hammer. Your book's got a much chance of being published as you 'ave of stayin' out of the fookin' loony bin. What's the title- 'I'm a Coont and a Thief and a Twat and a Liar and a Mental' ? Must be 'ard multitaskin' like that-still, 'aving multiple personalities must 'elp. You should just call it 'Thieving Cunt', thems the salient points, lad.

Seeker of LIGHT said...

FOUL non-spark and PERVERTER of EFFULGENT GENIUS how it must please you to MOCK to JABBER AND PREEN. YOU know nothing of my AUTHORIAL ASPIRATIONS the genius that LURKS beneath my effortlessly groomed exterior. I will EXPOSE the full story, the way I was stitched up and BETRAYED by those I trusTED also OVERCHARGED for LEGAL FEES bailiff visits and COURT FINES. AND you think I care about the DAILY SHMIRROR in fact I am SELLING MY STORY to a major PR AGENT (think Jordan, think PETER, think TALENT) and thence to the very PORTALS of FLEET STREET yes I mean SERIALISATION in the major SUNDAYS plus an adaptation on Channel 4 (NOT C4 Welsh, the real McoY) with me being PLAYED by the guy who did James Bond and SOL being played by my all time favourite BRITNEY SPEARS (yes BRITNEY 1999 that means something to many people does it not, readership). YOU SEE how it WORKS, scumbag under yr stone? I have turned this to MY ADVANTAGE, my benefit, thinking ON MY FEET like a true ENTREPENEUR not a sponging desert dwelling hooch mentality hanger 0n such as your under-educated bullied at school self. WAIT till you see me on C4 and I'm giving INTERVIEWS ha ha ha you'll be kicking yourself up the Yangste I AM GOOD I HAVE WON SELF IS GOOD. Even the Spanish inlaws, the fish-eating whelks, will let me back in the casa en espagna (I am currently PERSONA non GRATa the thick Angorran yokels) so I'll have somewhere to live again when the Windsor lease runs OUT IN 8 YRS just as I hit 60. Planning, you see, chavvy boy. Something I learned at SCHOOL which you NEVER DID.

Shaun Ryder said...

Alright, Paul, Less see if you talk like that when I visit yer fookin' khazi of a 'otel. Yer in-laws think yer a coont, do they? Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Paul's hotel won't exist if i ever visit it.As long as there's a fucking petrol station nearby and i have a Bic lighter.Use Shaun Ryder as a bouncer? Fucking hell,Sandy...About as much use as a chocolate fucking fire-guard!

William Frederickson

King John said...

Ah yes, the in-laws. God-fearing Catholic folk, apparently, and not inclined to allow convicted criminals to lodge under their terracotta-tiled roof. Now Paul must come clean over which country he actually resides in - is it Spain or UK? You have to pay tax somewhere, Paul. Er, you do pay tax, don't you? Paul? Paul?

Anonymous said...

SEEKER OF SHITE:

You are raving mad.

Oliver Twist said...

It seems we are all a wee bit raving mad round these parts. But ... just WHO is the maddest of all?!

Well, come to my blog and find out!

Al W-a-th-w(a Concierge said...

LASH!
LASH!!
LASH!!!

To the entire lot of you here.

You all need some desert discipline.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Ooh, keep on lashing, wuntcha! Cherish the pain, gorge on the blood...

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Clarence Rhode said...

You stupid cunt