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Amrita Janssen: Teaching at Bellnor Summer Camp

Amrita Janssen was an English teacher at Bellnor Summer Camp in 2018. She shares a little bit about her experience, her favourite memories from the camp and shares her advice for anyone who would like to teach English at Bellnor Summer Camp.

Your best memory of the camp?

I have several memories I would like to share. One of the most memorable experiences during the camp was the day trip of the teachers and supervisors to Helsinki, Finland. I also enjoyed the entire location of the camp. It was very close to nature and the beach and the forest were very beautiful, and we were very lucky with the weather. The Hair and Make-Up Show, where our team won two awards, and the evenings, where I played Werewolf with the children, were the best memories of the time in camp.

What did you learn/take away from the camp?

I learnt how to work with teenagers, who sometimes behave a little bit ‘rebellious’ during class, and how to make the classes interesting enough for them to stay focused. I learnt a lot about planning the daily lessons and about teamwork, as we were two teachers for this class. After the camp, I decided to learn Russian, as I did get in touch with this language a lot during the camp, and am successfully studying it for two years.

Why did you decide to come teach at the camp?

I decided to teach at this camp because I like to work with children and have had some prior teaching experience as a tutor for middle and high school students. I was curious, how teaching a larger group would be, as I was only experienced in one-to-one tutoring. When I was younger, I attended several English camps (Berlitz) and always wanted to be on the ‘other side’, teaching or supervising in a camp myself. The above points and the opportunity to travel abroad were the crucial points why I applied to Bellnor.

Would you recommend this experience to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who is passionate about teaching. It is a fun experience and you gain many new skills in teaching, teamwork, etc. There is also lots free time, so it does not feel like work only and there are lots of options to join with the children’s activities, plan lessons or e.g. go to the beach or the city (Tallinn). I often think back to the memories of the camp and I hope to return as a teacher again soon.

Your expectation vs reality in terms of the lessons?

I expected it to be easier to keep the class quiet and focused. I also expected the class to stay the same during the two weeks, but some of the children I taught, were very good in English and could change to a higher class and we got some other children in our class too.

What would be your advice to someone coming to teach at the camp?

I would advise others, who come to the camp, to prepare some games, songs, and other teaching material in advance before coming, to make lesson planning easier and not to be entirely unprepared.

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