In the Spotlight: Director of Studies
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What is your role at summer boarding courses?
As a Director of Studies, my role is to look after the school from the teachers’ meeting at 8.40am through to lunchtime at 12.40pm. This means making sure all the teachers are prepared for their lessons and that all the students are happy in class. There is a lot of administration, such as organising the registers, sending emails and proofreading reports, but also a lot of time is spent with the teachers in inductions, observations and during social activities.
What’s the average day like at summer school?
Obviously, no two days are the same in summer school but on an average day. I start with a morning meeting at 8.40am to let the teachers know about any important notices and to give the teachers a chance to ask questions and grab a coffee. There are three hours of lessons with 20 minute breaks in between each lesson. During this time, I like to peek into classrooms and see what engaging lessons are taking place. At SBC Oxford, the students complete different engineering tasks in their Time to Shine lessons and it’s really exciting to find out how the groups are getting on.
What have you enjoyed the most about working with Summer Boarding Courses?
I love the team spirit. SBC is a company that is built on creating a positive and safe environment not only for our students, but also for the staff. Everybody feels looked after and valued. It’s also an opportunity to get to know wonderful new people from all around the world and to leave at the end of summer with lots of brilliant friends. I have visited SBC friends in different countries and have stayed in touch with people who I worked with over 5 years ago.
What have you found difficult or challenging about working with Summer Boarding Courses?
Four weeks can be a long time and there are certainly times when the excitement of summer school takes its toll on your body! It’s important to know your limits and to take a break if you feel like you need it. A few early nights, lots of water and a walk away from the school is the best way to get yourself back on track.
What have you gained from working with Summer Boarding Courses?
SBC was my first teaching job back in 2014 – it was the place in which I knew that I wanted to teach. I was in such a supportive environment that I grew in confidence not only as a teacher but as a person. SBC also helped me to understand the importance of self-reflection. There are plenty of opportunities to reflect on your SBC achievements, both academically as a teacher, and in a wider professional and personal sense.
What advice would you give a staff member going into their first summer with Summer Boarding courses?
Go for it! Take every opportunity. High five every student. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. Don’t forget to eat vegetables. Working at SBC is truly a life-changing job – it is not only a quick way to make money over the summer, but it’s a way to become a much more competent teacher in a fun, caring environment.
What’s your favourite summer school memory?
Sensible answer: Seeing the students return year after year and watching them grow from tiny 12-year olds to towering 17-year olds, catching up with them every summer like old friends.
Real answer: Thinking ‘oh my god, I can’t believe going on the London Eye/playing on this bouncy castle/dancing like a lunatic at the disco and holding an owl is my JOB!’