- Mornings are spent teaching English grammar, vocabulary, and functions through activities, games, and songs. During the rest of the day, the programme is more flexible and includes games, sports, drama, arts and crafts, etc. in English. At the end of each camp, the children perform a small part in a final show for the parents. You will have time with your group during the week to rehearse and make props for a small skit/sketch.
- City Camps require you to be at school from Monday to Friday. A typical day at City Camp starts before the campers arrive and ends after any necessary meeting with the camp director and your fellow tutors. While camp runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., tutors will usually work from 8:30 a.m. until around 5:30 p.m. (if there is a meeting after camp). After that you can relax, recuperate, and plan for the next day. You will usually have the weekend to explore your area or towns and cities nearby, though if you are transferring from one camp to another, you will travel on the Saturday.
- At Summer Camps, parents leave their children in your care, so you must be responsible and attentive at all times. These camps are usually located near beaches or mountains, so you may be able to hike, swim or go on excursions with the children. Evenings are spent with fun activities such as discos, games, campfires and competitions. Summer Camps are a great way to really get to know Italian children and explore scenic locations. We usually only have around eight Summer Camps a year.
- At City Camps, tutors are usually hosted by Italian families, so please be prepared for this living arrangement. You will be given your own bedroom, and will be treated as part of the family. Families will open their home to you and ensure that all of your needs are met. They will provide a safe, welcoming environment—and probably overfeed you. Most tutors have built lifelong relationships with their host families and warmly remember this part of their Italian experience. At summer camps, you will stay at a hotel. In rare cases, you may have to share the same dormitory as the children.
Can you tell me more about the meals that ACLE provides?
- ACLE makes provisions for your three daily meals, starting with orientation. Drinks and snacks between mealtimes are at your discretion, though host families will often provide you with more than enough food. Camp directors are not expected to provide extra drinks and snacks during the camp day, and you should not expect them to.
Will we always be housed with host families?
- The majority of tutors will stay with host families, however in certain circumstances ACLE will arrange an alternative for you. Summer Camps are usually held in hotels, so tutors will stay in these. There are also apartments that will be used in particular cases. If you stay in one of these you will be responsible for keeping it clean and tidy, and ACLE will provide you with some food supplies.
Do I have to keep my room tidy?
- Yes! You must keep your room and belongings tidy at all times. You are a guest in a person’s home in a different country and you have been invited into the family. If you are staying in a rented flat, you must tidy it up before leaving.
- Each camp has a director, and often an assistant. The director will likely be a teacher (often English teacher) at the school where the camp is held. They are responsible for enrolling the students, and will liaise with parents. Some may be fluent in English while others may not be. Some may have a lot of charisma while others may have less. Some would like you to concentrate on the activity books and others just want to see the children having fun and becoming confident with their English. All camp directors expect good behavior, but will work well with you to develop a fun and productive camp schedule to make the camp as rewarding and beneficial for students.
- Requests are taken seriously, but you must remember that this role requires flexibility! You may have the opportunity to experience both if you tutor for more than three weeks.
Can I choose which part of Italy I can go to?
- Unfortunately, we are unable to accept or honour requests for specific placements. With around 350 camps and nearly 500 tutors, you can understand we have a huge juggling act on our hands. However, you will normally be given the opportunity to tutor in different locations.
When will I find out where my first camp will be located?
- At the end of your orientation, you will be told the location of your first camp. We are unable to tell you any earlier as we need to meet all of the tutors and find out their strengths and skills, and allocate them accordingly. We try to make the tutor teams as balanced as possible so that everyone is happy!
Will I be able to see a lot of Italy?
- It has been known for some tutors to go up and down Italy several times throughout the course of the summer, while camps for other tutors is more concentrated in a particular region. In either case, you will certainly see parts of Italy very few “tourists” go to, and you will see it from a very unique perspective, as you will be fully immersed in a family’s life.
- No. ACLE’s Summer Camps are especially different to those in the USA and Canada. The accommodation in ACLE’s Summer Camps is typically in hotels, whereas in the USA and Canada they are in log cabins in the mountains next to a lake where you have to walk to the toilet/shower block. The children in Italian Summer Camps stay for one or two weeks and not all summer. The accommodation in ACLE’s city camps is with host families. And, most importantly, children attend ACLE Summer Camps and City Camps in order to improve their English.
What types of facilities or resources will I have access to at the camps?
- Each camp will have different facilities. Many are held in schools and should have usual classroom materials. Outdoor areas will range from beautiful shady parks and play areas to a cement courtyard with little to no shade. You must be prepared to tutor in all sorts of conditions, and prepare activities which are versatile and don’t require too many extras. Some camps have access to swimming pools, tennis courts, horse-riding facilities, football pitches, beaches, etc. All camps have basic resources such as markers, coloured paper, scissors, and paint—but don’t expect anything elaborate! Be creative! Use your imagination and come up with simple arts and crafts ideas. Wi-Fi and computer access at camps is often available but should also not be expected.
- Each tutor will have a class of approximately ten learners (but can range from around 5-15 depending on the camp) who will be grouped according to their age and English level. Each camp varies; there could be from 20 to 100 children to contend with! You will need to collaborate closely with the other tutors in order to plan your days and co-ordinate games, songs and outdoor excursions together. You may find yourself with the same tutors at multiple camps, or you may change groups each week. Do not expect to be with the same people! In the past, these changes have caused problems due to friendships forming and people wanting to stay together at subsequent camps. It is essential that you remain flexible, and understand that moving between places and teams is the nature of the programme.
If I apply with my friend/partner, can we be placed together?
- ACLE has a company policy regarding friends/partners who apply together. The policy states that we are unable to guarantee that friends/partners will be placed at the same camps. You therefore need to be independent of each other. Requests to keep friends/partners together will unfortunately not be accepted.
- Italian culture has its own distinct way of doing things. You will notice differences, for example, in manners, eating and drinking habits, and dress. For example, walking around barefoot is unheard of in Italy unless you are at the beach or swimming pool. Even in the house your host family may offer you a pair of slippers to wear! Drinking excessively is strictly unacceptable! Italians will drink wine and beer with their meals, have a glass of limoncello and put grappa in their coffee, but you will never see an Italian vomiting in the street. It is so not cool, and such behavior makes you and your culture look bad. You must remember that while tutoring ACLE you are not only representing the company but also yourself and your country. Everyone will know who you are and who you are associated with and where you come from.
- English ability varies across the country. The levels you will be teaching will usually be appropriate for the ages of the children you are teaching, based on their school year and its curriculum. If the child’s parent is an English teacher or if the child’s mother or father is a native English speaker, then more than likely the child will be able to speak English fluently. On the other hand, even some English teachers cannot speak English very well! Italy’s educational system is very different to that in the US, England and Australia. All a teacher needs to do to become a primary school teacher is study English grammar and pass a written test! That being said, there will always be someone on hand to help you out, and you will be able to make yourself understood everywhere you go.
ACLE tutors need to be flexible and mentally prepared for the fact that each camp is different and that your role requires considerable energy. Moreover, moving every week or every two weeks and meeting new host families, camp directors, and fellow tutors can be rewarding but also exhausting.
Keep the lines of communication open with your fellow tutors and camp directors. Listen to your fellow tutors when they are discussing an issue. Be flexible and collaborate as a team! There is nothing worse than ruining a camp through miscommunication or losing something in translation. If a problem arises, discuss it at your camp meetings. If you feel you can not discuss the issue or an issue has arisen and you need to talk to someone, then call the ACLE office and talk to your team leaders. We are here to help you.
Tutoring with ACLE is not just about teaching children and then going home. It is a 24/7 role. And there are a few things you need to be prepared to do or not to do. Some of these cultural differences in the eyes of Italians can be offensive. Here are a few tips to help you along the way, in and out of the classroom:
- Make your bed every morning and keep your room tidy! You have been invited into someone else’s home. Please show respect at all times. Your host mother is not there to clean and tidy up after you. This also includes: using their phone, putting your feet on the sofa/coffee table, drinking from the bottle, etc. Things that may seem normal to you may be offensive to Italians. It is a different culture and you will be expected to show your respect to it, just as you would expect foreigners to respect your home culture.
- Always keep a neat and tidy appearance. People wearing ripped jeans, going around barefoot and having piercings might be in fashion, but they do not fit the desired image of tutors teaching English to young children.
If your camp starts at 9 a.m., then please be there at 8.30 a.m. every morning. You can do your last minute preparations for class, get your first activity ready, discuss with your fellow tutors who is going to run the morning warm-up, and most importantly meet and greet the children and parents as they arrive.
It is imperative that you sit with the children during their meals and chat to them, e.g. How are you? Are you having fun? What have you got for lunch today? Can you pass the water? It is after all an English camp! If your group of children have ‘done your head in’ then swap with another tutor.
During breaks, when you yourself are not on break, you need to join in with the children while they are playing soccer, volleyball, etc. It’s a good way to interact with them outside the classroom. Share the fun around!
When being introduced to people always STAND UP to say hello! A quick wave with a “Hi” will not do if the person is, in fact, your camp director, the principal of the school or a member of your host family.
- Italian children love stickers! Having fun stickers such as stars or smiley faces to put on their work is a great way encourage them.
- Consider bringing photos, postcards or any information about you, your country or your culture. Host families and children love hearing about it. In addition, you may decide to host an International Day at your camp, so having these items on hand will prove valuable.
Am I too young/old to be an ACLE tutor?
- Our suggested age requirements are for applicants to be 19 years of age prior to June 1st of the summer in which they are applying to 30 years of age, however we will still review applications who are outside of this age bracket.
Can I behave as I please when I’m not at camp?
- No! While at camp and away from camp, you will be noticed and you are expected to act with professionalism at all times. If you are in a village, the locals will know who you are. You are not only representing ACLE as a tutor but also your home country.
Are laundry and Internet facilities available?
- Laundry facilities will be available to you. Pack practically so that you have enough clothes to hold you over if you need to wait a day or two before washing. There are Internet cafes all over Italy, though in small villages you may not find access. If you are staying with a host family they may have the Internet at home. It is important that you ask permission before using the computer and Internet and not stay on it for long periods of time at a cost to the family.
- Unfortunately, ACLE does not pay for flights to Italy. It is your responsibility to arrange and pay for your own transportation.
How will I be travelling between camps?
- ACLE will arrange your transfer between camps. This will usually be by train, and you will likely travel on the Saturday after a camp finishes.
- If you come from a European Union country, you must provide a scan of your EHIC Card. If you are from a non-European Union country, you should have your own travel insurance policy that covers you while you are abroad for health and accidents, and you should provide proof of it. ACLE’s insurance policy covers you for accidents related to camp activities that occur during camp hours, but for incidences that occur outside of camps you will need to have your own policy. You may also want to take out an insurance policy that covers you in cases of lost or stolen items and flight cancellation. (If you are planning to purchase insurance upon being accepted into the programme, please stipulate this on your application.) ACLE also strongly recommends that you take out insurance against theft or loss of personal possessions.You may be interested in the travel insurance offered by World Nomads (www.worldnomads.com).
- Yes, duty of care is high in Italy, and the children need to be looked after AT ALL TIMES! If you need to take a break, go to the restroom, or have a cigarette, you will need to ensure that other tutors are supervising your children. At the first camp meeting, it is helpful that you set up a rotation system so that all of the tutors can have a break.
Can I smoke during breaks?
- Yes, you can go and have a cigarette during break times as long as other tutors are supervising your children. You will need to discuss with your camp director where you can smoke. Even though parents and teachers smoke in front of the children, ACLE does not wish to promote this habit.
Do I have to change the way I speak?
- You will have to slow down your speech, articulate all of your syllables, use simple words, repeat frequently, and use your hands to explain what you are saying.
- Yes, you are encouraged to do so. The more teaching resources you have, the better you will be prepared. The more exciting you make your lessons, the more fun the children will have!
If I already hold a TEFL qualification do I have to attend orientation?
- Yes, you must attend our orientation irrespective of your qualifications. As well as meeting your fellow tutors, you will learn specific information about ACLE’S philosophy and how ACLE camps function. You must arrive in Sanremo the day before your orientation. Orientations will be held in June. You will learn specific, essential skills and gain a good understanding of how ACLE camps run. Most tutors will start their first camp directly after orientation.
How demanding is participating in camps?
- Tutors need to have a lot of energy in order to gain the attention of the children and keep one step ahead of them! Tutoring at camp can be a tiring experience as there will be no limit to the energy you will need. Eat healthily, rest and sleep well!