And the wheels begin to turn…

It all starts around now, doesn’t it? After a long period of hibernation, summer school begins to rouse itself from its slumber. Although this is probably not fair as the operation really never ceases- it merely beavers away quietly in the background. Even seasoned returners only see a fraction of what is undoubtedly a complicated business. On second thoughts, the title of this post is a little misleading, ‘A cog in the wheel…’ might be more appropriate.

Last summer feels like it was… well… last year. However, prompted by chatter in the teachers’ room about what we will be doing after our language school shuts its doors from June to mid-September, summer work is gently pushed to the front of our mental to-do list. We may have had an email months ago reminding us to put in a returner application but in reality, it’s ‘right now’ that we are making our summer working plans.

Recruitment departments take on more staff to cope with the workload as a flurry of returner applications, background checks, telephone interviews and contracts have to be processed. If you are working as a teacher, you may have already been offered a contract and know when and where you are working. From experience, most teachers are happy to know there will be some consistency to their employment- how this manifests itself is less of a concern. Sometimes teachers try to dig a little and find out more specific information, but alas, always come up empty-handed. Agents and student numbers are in a state of flux, with little certain until much later on. As a Director of Studies, I’m always reluctant to answer specific questions from teachers who would like to know more about what language groups and levels we will receive, or what levels they will be teaching. I could predict the answers based on my experience but nothing is ever really concrete. I have learnt through my own mistakes that making guarantees to staff before even arriving at my teaching centre will invariably require backtracking on what has been said- nothing is written in stone. At this juncture, all we know is that we have working contracts, phew! What more do we need to know?

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