APASS: Main Page — FAQ: 1. Main questions / 2. Emailed questions / 3. Some advice for camp leaders
APASS FAQ 3: Some advice for camp leaders
So you volunteered, eh? Don't panic. Here's what's involved... and if you scroll down, there are some downloadable files you may find useful — specimen tests, reports, etc.
- Passing on information from APASS to team members (eg, dates the office is open.)
- Preparing them, once they get in touch: reminders about passports, E111s, travel insurance, currency, giving suggestions for resources and other packing.
- Being the point of contact between the camp director / translator and the team when on site. Invoking disciplinary procedures in the unfortunate situation of any becoming necessary (inappropriate or violent behaviour, etc. Don't worry, this is frankly rather unlikely to happen.)
- Organising kids into teaching groups by means of written and oral tests. Typically a group of ~100 kids and twenty staff (including yourself) is subdivided into ten teaching groups with two English staff to a group. Some camps encourage the English team leader not to teach — personally I'd suggest pairing yourself with someone you can trust to be able to cope when you have disappear at short notice to organise something.
- Organising staff to dorms and teaching rooms during camp and the tour, or having meetings to arrange things — though this can be less practical than it sounds. Sometimes you need to make decisions on the spot.
- Being visible on excursions and at evening events — or delegating — and dragging as many of your team as possible along to same, as a show of goodwill.
- Giving the impression of calm and that you know what's going on. Chainsmoking is also an option, and won't be regarded as unusual behaviour by your hosts.
- Holding exit tests to measure improvement, signing (and handing out) certificates at ceremonies, taking some time away from teaching yourself to monitor afternoon activities and the teaching of other groups.
- Organising activities to be run after lessons, using whatever resources are on site or people brought. Organising rotas or staff switches for running and supervising activities. Organising sign-up lists for students if activities aren't conducted in their pastoral groups.
- Holding feedback sessions with your team and with a camp vice-director/translator about how things are going, to be aware of and try to rectify any perceived problems.
- Be prepared to teach lower-ability groups or find and make arrangements with the members of your team best-suited to this. Ditto for higher ability groups who require more challenging activities.
- It's worth taking along British souvenirs to give as gifts to directors, your translator, etc. And/or you could chip in on alcohol for a leaving party for the Polish staff before the tour. Sometimes all Polish staff go on the tour, sometimes just a translator.
- I strongly recommend taking a heavy keyring (such as a steel bottle-opener) with a large dog-lead style clasp attached... this will be very useful for temporarily storing incoming and outgoing keys, of which there will be lots.
- Personally I thought it was a good idea to get my team to write short individual reports on each student in their group, noting a couple of strengths and a couple of things they could usefully work on. This prompts them to pay attention to progress, and the reports can be passed to the vice-director to be sent back to schools.
I'd also suggest that it's worth copying stuff into Word and editing it for the exit test to match the topics and vocabulary that have been covered by staff during lessons on your camp.