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Teaching at an English language summer school in London? The three challenges and three benefits.

'Learning English to discover other cultures'

The Challenges

Challenge 1: Culture.

Summer schools typically have students from around the world. For example, in 2022 SKOLA had students from over 50 different countries. Different countries have different cultures. Understanding the similarities and differences between your culture and your students' culture is important. Your Japanese and Thai students are used to indirect negative feedback. On the other hand, your Russian and German students are used to direct negative feedback. This is useful to know when you're providing feedback to students work. Too direct with a Thai student and you risk upsetting them. Too indirect with your German student and you risk them ignoring your feedback.

Challenge 2: Fast Pace.

Adapting to an ever changing environment is a challenge. The students quickly adopt their new environment. But as a teacher it may take you a bit longer. Each week has new students. Each week there is new theme and a different excursion. There will a change in staff as some leave and others join. Remember to enjoy the moment. But also to enjoy your summer. Make plans throughout the summer for your free-time.

Challenge 3: The Heat.

If you're not used to teaching in the heat, then you'll have to learn fast. It sounds silly and a bit obvious. But when we had record heat waves in 2022, it made everything more difficult. But of course students from hot countries were unfazed by the heat. It was teachers who were suffering. So don't forget to adapt. Classroom too hot? You could move into a different room or even have a lesson outdoors. Student can't focus because of the heat? Break-up your lesson. Have short water breaks. Shorten the input. In short, do what needs to be done.

The Rewards

Reward 1: learn about other cultures.

Same as challenge 1. You learn a lot of about different cultures. This is an opportunity you wouldn't get anywhere else. The similarities and differences between us all. The similarities unite us and the differences are make us interesting. This can manifest itself in strange and funny ways. So-called "dad jokes" will make every teenager cringe. Children will get songs stuck in your head.

Reward 2: develop your teaching.

You have the opportunity to share your wisdom with other teachers. You can also learn from them. Each week offers new opportunities to try out new teaching methods. For example, have you ever tried the 'ready list'? This is where you write down the names of students who are ready to start learning. This is a behavioural management technique that one suggested I try during one summer school. I was surprised by how effective it was. It's one I still use today.

Reward 3: excursions.

Excursion offer an opportunity to bond with your students, explore London and other interesting places. Have you ever visited KidZania? That is my personal favourite. If you have explored everything there is to explore in London, then the rewarding part is seeing how the students respond.

Overall, teaching at an English language summer school in London can be a fun and fulfilling experience, offering a chance to make a positive impact on students' lives, while also expanding your own knowledge and understanding of the world and develop your teaching practice.

If you would have any questions about teaching at a summer school in London, then email me at We are also hiring. So email me if you are interested. You can also visit our website to learn more about SKOLA here.


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