A day in the life of a Welfare Manager
Summer schools are always exciting and action packed but I think what sets Dusemond apart from most other Summer School providers is the dedication and passion for customer service and employee wellbeing.
My day would generally consist of getting ready and heading to the dining hall for breakfast, where I would say good morning and check in with group leaders and students. I found this particularly useful in the first few days of a term as group leaders could bring to my attention any concerns or issues they have faced the previous night. I made sure I wrote these down (my memory became no more than a gold fishes’ quite quickly with so much going on!) and as soon as I sat down in the office I wrote emails to relevant people to fix the problems.
Once students began classes, I would follow up on any absences that had been reported, made sure my team of Welfare Leaders attended any first aid emergencies and that juice and biscuits, as well as a tuck shop, was run during the break time. We would also have our group leader meetings in the mornings, which further allowed considerable time to report and fix any problems with accommodation, catering etc. and get important information out to the Group Leaders.
My days would consist of working alongside the Centre Manager, Academic Manager, Activity Manager and OSAC to ensure the centre was running smoothly. I would check and send off catering sheets, edit rooming lists, oversee first aid and keep up-to-date with student’s birthdays so we could celebrate with a cake at dinner! Depending on how far into the term we were, I would organise fire drills, oversee lost property and organise/check transfers.
In the evenings I would catch up with my team of Welfare Leaders and go through plans for the next few days, attend excursion meetings for activity leaders and socialise with the Group Leaders. Most evenings we had some form of social with the Group Leaders; the wine and cheese evening was a firm favourite! It would be a great chance to catch up with group leaders and learn more about their lives back home, and I was able to make some very good friends from all corners of the globe.
Certain days posed different challenges – excursion days meant earlier starts to organise the packed lunches and more relaxing activities in the evenings delivered by my welfare team. We also had certain Group Leader events such as a mystery excursion (to Burghley House!) and a walking tour of the historic part of the school. Excursion days generally meant staying onsite to catch up on office work, but we were quite often treated to lunch out in the town and were able to catch up with staff from different centres too. Transfer days were the longest! They often started in the early hours and finished well into the late hours. However, nothing could beat the feeling of welcoming new groups and saying heartfelt goodbyes to those who you got to know so well.
Being a Welfare Manager at Dusemond can be challenging at times, with such action-packed days and the list of jobs seemingly endless. But it is well worth it in terms of reaping the rewards – the company supports you and looks after you very well, and it is a fantastic feeling seeing the students and group leaders enjoying their time here in the UK.
A day in the life of an Academic Manager
The Academic Manager starts the day earlier than other members of the teaching team. The Academic Manager is responsible for the student body and teaching team alike so he or she needs to make sure everything is ready in the morning before anyone else arrives. Class registers have to be up-to-date for the teachers and class lists printed and clearly displayed on the Academic noticeboard for students to refer to when they arrive after breakfast. Communication for the morning’s staff meeting needs to be prepared and of course both teachers and students will have to get to classes on time.
Once classes have begun, the Academic Manager may then have some time to check emails from colleagues on other sites and coordinate level tests for any new students that are soon to arrive during the next few days and allocate teachers to excursions and evening activities together with the Activity Manager. Technology skills will certainly be needed for the Academic Manager to be able to carry out all duties in the best possible way.
An Academic Manager has to create his or her team and make them bond as a team. People skills are an important part of this 24/7 job. Academic Managers need to be sensitive and intuitive, this could range from offering a colleague a cup of tea to trying to cater to the teachers’ preferences for activities or stepping in for a teacher who is ill. The Academic Manager will help teachers to maintain a high level of professionalism and to adopt the Dusemond teaching philosophy. Lesson observations will occur at least once for each teacher during a summer school.
Effective communication between the Academic Manager, Centre Director, Activity Managers and Teachers is essential to ensure that everyone has the information needed in order to do a great job. Working together, good team spirit and helping whenever needed are vital components of survival during summer school and it is up to the Centre Management Team to get people to work together and be nothing short of a family by the end of the summer.
Taking care of the Group Leaders and making them feel at home at your centre is another important part of the AM’s tasks. The Academic Manager will need to plan and participate in some Group-leader activities, which are meant to introduce the Group Leaders to each other and to other Dusemond staff members, in order to make their experience abroad as international as it is for the students.
If the day’s gone smoothly, the Academic Manager can look forward to finishing work around dinner time. And the Academic Manager has to be in bed early to be ready for an early start.
A day in the life of a Senior Teacher
Senior teaching is all about facilitating.
The day starts at breakfast, helping the Academic Manager who checks with group leaders and staff alike that students know where to go for the morning lessons.
Then, at the teachers’ meeting before classes start, the Senior teacher will aid the Academic Manager in providing teachers with last minute details and information to make sure everyone knows what they are doing and where they are supposed to go. Once teachers go off to their classes, it is their job to make sure that all the children have gone to the right classroom and none are missing.
Senior teachers also need to make sure all the materials (such as books, folders, etc.) or equipment (like computers and overhead projectors) are in place and can be used in lessons.
Senior Teachers manage and coordinate the team of teachers, as those teachers guide their groups through the creative process of producing student-led projects. Senior teachers are responsible, should teachers have doubts about some student-led projects. This involves a lot of tech prep and suggestions to the team by Senior Teachers. Senior Teachers need to make sure the teaching team is on the same page about student-led projects and that the correct online materials are used for each level.
Office duties are assigned by the Academic Manager in view of the changes or needs that often occur during summer camps, which can range from setting up and updating teachers’ folders for their lessons, certificate printing, and managing and producing each turn’s online newspaper and/or video memory class projects so they can be presented at the Certificate Ceremony at the end of each turn.
As facilitators, a senior teacher’s job is to help the Academic Manager and teachers and, if needs be, teaching a class as well. And, from a health and safety perspective, if there is a child who is sick or feeling ill during lessons, liaise with the welfare staff and ensure that they are seen to promptly.
There are always little and big chores throughout the day and often until late in the evening. No stone is left unturned. It is a very gratifying position as one can really be helpful to ensure that the teaching side of a summer camp runs smoothly.
A day in the life of an Onsite Activity Coordinator
As Onsite Activities Coordinator, my role was to create and plan onsite activities to cater to the needs of the students on campus. Dusemond provided me with guidance on what activities they want to be delivered on their two week programme and I did my best to offer this and more when possible.
Every day when I woke up I would check the weather forecast for the day and see if my planned schedule was suitable. I’d have my breakfast and visit the schools facilities management team and double check bookings that I (or the company) had made for the afternoon activities, that I had planned on a previous day. I would double check my plans against the staff rota and allocate activity leaders and teachers to activities, ensuring that I maintained good staff to student ratio for each activity.
Once my plans were finalised and printed off, I could put them aside and focus on planning for the next few days. Group leaders like to be well informed of what is happening for the next week so every few days I would meet them and let them know my provisional schedule for the next few days in the daily group leader meetings. These meetings were also an opportunity for me to get feedback from group leaders on the sort of activities they were interested in their students doing. Every day I would also give them my detailed plan for the day and let them know of any changes due to weather etc.
After the group leader meeting I would start to focus on planning for the next few days of the programme. Creating detailed guidance for activity leaders on how to run each activity, equipment they might need and timings of the day. It is important to keep ahead of your work so it is easy to adapt to unforeseen circumstances!
Half an hour before each activity starting I would have a meeting with the AL’s and teachers helping. I would let them know their roles and my expectations of high energy, enthusiasm and responsibility. Ultimately Dusemond want the activities to be as engaging and fun as possible! All my leaders for the day would be given a printed copy of the plan of the day.
During activities I would move between activities; making sure the activity leaders are OK, the students are engaged and the group leaders are happy. If an activity needed more help and assistance, I would coordinate ALs to move between activities when appropriate and even help out myself.
After activities I tried to make myself as approachable as possible to group leaders, seeing if they’re happy with the programme offered and if I could offer anything else to ensure their students had the best time possible.
My day was over once the activities were over, my staff had safely got students back to accommodation and I was comfortable that the next day was well organised.
A day in the life of an Activity Manager
Being an Activity Manager with Dusemond has been one of the best experiences in my life. There is a big responsability under all that hard work but once you see that your team and students are enjoying themselves, it is very satisfying! So this is how a normal day would look like:
8am is when work starts by assuring that breakfast duty is running smoothly at the same time as talking with activity leaders and group leaders. This time of the day is crutial as its when I make sure that everyone knows what they are doing and solve problems/doubts before it actually starts. Quick meeting with ALs who are in morning and afternoon shifts at 8.40am. Group leaders will come to the office to check their different programmes as well as book additional trips or change destinations before the morning meeting (dont panic, happens a lot). Quick meeting with management to discuss key points in group leaders meeting. Management will then have a meeting with all GLs to discuss any issues as well as informing them about the upcoming days. Once the meeting is done, GLs will come to the AM office again to rearrange activities and trips. AM will walk around campus making sure that activities are running succesfully. Before lunch, daily calls to confirm,amend or make bookings for as many trips as possible. Lunch time to socialize with ALs. After lunch, I would answer emails and make last minute calls as well as preparing excursion packs. These excursion packs included: 2 bus signs, detailed bus information, walking tour, entrances and a detailed excursion description. If meal vouchers were needed, these would be in the pack too. Before dinner, I would have a meeting with all the team to go through the different excursions itineries. Going through the walking tours on Google Maps is a great idea and ALs will feel more confident. Staightafter dinner, I will meet GLs for a quick excursion itinery. They will be given a piece of paper too with detailed information and emergency numbers as well as maps. Before leaving the office, quick informal management chat about the day.
Mobile phone will be on 24/7 as well as the different WhatsApp groups just in case people need help or want to inform you about something.
Sounds like a very busy day but I can tell you that its so much fun! Those long days are worth it 🙂
Dusemond Core Values
We believe that the opportunity to travel, learn and meet other people from around the world is a privilege not only for our students but also for our staff. It is our job to ensure that everyone involved in our programmes leaves enriched by the experience. We ask & encourage all “Dusemonders” to be: