One of the jewels in the BKC crown is our camp "Языковой лагерь «BKC-camp» Отдых+English" For you non-Russian speakers, this translates as Language Camp BKC - Rest and English. However, when Russians say 'rest' they mean rope parks, horse riding, quests, concerts, rock schools, sport, journalist clubs, hand crafts and a million other things most people wouldn't consider "rest" in the rest of the world. Furthermore this camp is unique in that it's not so much an English Camp, but an activity camp in Russian with the great selling point that each child has 10 hours of English lessons a week with a highly-qualified international team of teachers. That's us!
The camp is located at one of two places; both situated 95km to the north-east of Moscow on the road to the Golden Ring city of Vladimir. The Sheredar Centre is the site of BKC's English Camp in the summer and winter. In summer, there are 7 sessions from May until September and every session last for two weeks. BKC teachers have an opportunity of signing up for one or more sessions and there is usually a team of 7 teachers a session. In the winter we hold a week-long session over the Russian New Year's holiday. This is a fantastic opportunity for teachers to make money in the Russian countryside over the holiday and get some holiday days reimbursed. Autumn and spring sessions are held at BKC Country, 3km from Sheredar. BKC Country is a resort site for the general public containing cottages and beautiful nature and is more suitable for these smaller cosier sessions. Usually one or two teachers go to these sessions. Sheredar is also the name of our charity which provides rehabilitation courses at the site, when camp is not being held. They are offered to children recovering from cancer and their siblings and is the only such site in Russia, providing support for free. Teachers are able to volunteer to take part in courses or events for Sheredar at their own volition.
The children who come to camp are aged between 7 and 17 and are grouped according to their age and level of English. Teachers are responsible for placement testing the children on the first day and then teaching 3 groups, once a day for two academic hours (1hr 30min) from Monday to Friday. Teachers are asked to spend a further 2 real hours of contact time outside the classroom with the children, usually on the second Wednesday and Thursday when we play games with them outside. We also have a parents' hour on Saturday morning, and have to write certificates for the children, but other than that weekends and time outside of classes are our own free time. Every day at 8pm there is some event like a theatre performance, bonfire, rock show, comedy show and so on. Though not obligatory for the teachers, many decide to watch them and some even take part!
Outside of English, the children are cared for by native Russian group leaders, mostly students aged 18-25 from Vladimir University and other cities. They are friendly and, despite some language barriers, can become good friends at camp, and beyond. In a typical summer session there will be 22 groups of 12 students living in their own wooden cabin with their group leader. The teachers also get their own cabin, 'House 3' which contains 4 bedrooms, boys and girls bathrooms, a planning and relaxation room and WiFi of course. Teachers also get food up to five times a day at the same time as the kids.
There aren't text books but there is a set programme based on the Camp theme which guides what teachers do in the class; teachers often work together to create unique materials for that session with Senior Teacher and ADOS guidance. A typical week will include a 'Getting to Know You' or revision day, an input day where students will practice receptive skills and learn vocabulary, a project preparation day, a project presentation day and finally a day of games or teacher interviews. These lessons give the children the chance to create a piece of work using all the skills they already know or have learnt at camp. Wall displays, recorded radio shows, photo concept story boards, board games, magazines, presentations are just some past favourites. These can be displayed on the corridor walls, shown to parents (on parents' day), and taken home at the end of the session.
Teachers return from camp, having had a positive experience, are full of ideas for their Moscow classes. The support system at camp is far stronger than you would find in any teacher's room in Moscow, with ideas and discussions flying around freely. Of course, as with the kids, teachers come to camp to have fun too, and there's plenty to be had; with the children or not...bike riding, tennis, basketball, volleyball, walking in the forests, going to the beach, bathing in the river and the banya (Russian Sauna)!
Energy, imagination, an interest in trying out new ideas in the classroom, and a sense of humour are the essentials of a camp teacher, so if this sounds like you, get in touch with our recruitment department.
Also, check out the BKC Country website for more information: www.speakenglish.ru