No Summer School Blues: Avoiding Summer School Stress

By Neil Root
Neil Root is a writer and London based English Language teacher with 10 years experience.

No Summer School Blues: Avoiding Summer School Stress

By [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

On the surface, summer school EFL teaching appears more relaxed than other EFL teaching disciplines. But this can be deceptive. The language delivery may be less stringent and high-powered than exam or higher level general English classes, but there other stresses to bear in mind. Below are a few of the stresses you may encounter, and tips on how to deal with them.

Summer schools are a pressurised environment.

Summer schools are a pressurised environment. The summer months from the beginning of June until the end of August give EFL schools their main income for the year. Consequently, student numbers in most language schools double, triple or even quadruple in size during this time. As a result, stress levels can also increase. The staffroom will still probably have the same facilities, despite the fact that there could be twice or three times as many teachers using them compared to the rest of the year. Resources and space are limited, and tempers can occasionally flare around the photocopier. The Director of Studies, Assistant Director of Studies or Academic Manager will usually be more stressed than normal too – their jobs depend on delivering a successful summer programme. They will try to help you, but their time is stretched, teachers go sick, and class numbers can go above the agreed limit. Complaints from students (or with teenagers usually their parents) can be made daily. You have to try to avoid these stresses as much as possible to enjoy the summer programme.

Make sure you prepare well.

Make sure you prepare well. Have your weekly teaching plan ready every Friday for the following week if possible. You have to be very adaptable in a summer school, and you may have to change classes at the last minute through no fault of your own, but you still have to give yourself the best chance to operate smoothly. Do your photocopying in advance and make sure you have a CD player or your laptop for listening exercises. Arrange your classroom before the students arrive. Deal with student queries and complaints as far as you can, but if you feel you can’t handle it, go to the management. It’s their job to deal with these problems. You’re a teacher, not an administrator. As long as you deliver your lessons well and do your teaching paperwork, your responsibilities are fulfilled. There is a cure for the summertime blues.


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One Response to “No Summer School Blues: Avoiding Summer School Stress”

  1. Del Sten
    December 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Nice post about avoiding summer school stress! Thanks for sharing….