You think summer and school can’t be combined? You’re wrong! Imagine the easiest combination and exactly this is what summer school means: It’s voluntarily attending a school or university during the summer break while your friends are lying on the beach or at a lido. Why did I choose to attend a summer school for teachers in Salzburg then? It was a new experience that I wanted to try and I think it was worth it, so here are some good reasons why you should at least take part in a summer school once in your life.
A meeting point for students, teachers and professors
The first reason to go to a summer school is that you meet a lot of nice people. Some of them are students like you, some of them are already teachers and some of them are even university lecturers. Everyone of them enjoys conversations and you can easily get a first impression about how other school systems and universities are structured. The participants during my time there came from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. So you can get different perspectives on teaching. The exchanges between the participants enrich your experience a lot and it often gives you some good new ideas for your own teaching practice.
Learn teaching by watching teaching
Secondly, the workshops are structured in a cool way. Most of them include active participation by the group members. The lecturers get you to try out different games, give feedback on your contributions and there’s a lot of talking and discussing in groups or with the whole course.
Explore a different world
Last but not least, you shouldn’t neglect to have a look at where the summer school takes place. In my situation it was one of the most beautiful cities in Austria, Salzburg. Although the courses did take place from the morning until the afternoon, you always had some time in the evening to explore the city. I was glad we stayed in a hostel near the centre, because that allowed us to have dinner and some after-work-drinks (I guess, you know what I mean). My friend, who joined me on this journey, and I really loved the old buildings. One of our personal highlights was the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which you can see from the roof terrace of the university building while drinking a cold beer with other course members. Just wandering around the historic centre in the evening was relaxing.
The summer school in Salzburg was a great experience and I got a lot of new impressions on all sorts of topics. As I took part in courses about English teaching and how to do small exercises during lesson breaks with your pupils, I guess my future teaching will focus on things I learned about these topics to keep my lessons alive. I hope I’ve been able to get across my passion and excitement for this kind of event. It was a cool trip, I met a lot of great people and I may be part of it again next year.
Author & Pictures: Alexander Gallwitz