Summer Camp or Summer School?

I have a decision to make, and it’s all about where I’m working once the big June 12 hits. That’s graduation for my seniors, the last day of classes for my sophomores.

I could work at a summer camp. It’ll be my third year running. They write great recommendations — or so they say — and I don’t mind my peers. Management is often hard to work with, but that’s management for you. Experience with 7- to 16-year-old kids and experience with digital photography, a future teaching goal. Room and board.

I could work at summer school. Experience in a classroom, connections with administration and faculty. Very likely, I’m teaching something I know nothing about — a plus. Naturally, no bed, no food.

Economically, considering room and board and miscellaneous costs, I come out even between the two. Which should I take?

Let’s assume it isn’t about the money — I’ll have enough saved by June that the other benefits of the job are more important at this point in my life.

Uniformly, teachers around here suggest that connections are key, and in the game of connections school trumps camp.

On the other hand, working at summer camp again — this, my third summer running — would show that I could get and keep a job. I would show I’m not a flake, and that I’m a committed employee.

This weekend, I’m down at a camp reunion. It’s little more than a sales pitch to potential campers’ parents, but I’m participating. Hell, I did for that camp their promotional slideshow, paid peanuts plus gas money. How much better of a recommendation could I get?

Both steps are still up in the air. Applications to summer school don’t go in, yet, and I don’t have a contract from that camp.

The camp seems to have been putting it off for some time. Everyone else already signed, of course. Now, I haven’t spent time on this Earth to immediately see through the packaging on my very own, brand-new runaround, but I have a feeling they’re giving me one, anyway.

This may not even be my decision.

Moral of the story? Sure things have signatures.


  1. Summer camp sounds like more FUN, but I’m not sure at this point how necessary it is for you to have those “hard” elements on your vitae, with respect to jobs and such. Is the summer school better for your vita?

  2. dkzody

    Summer school, in our district, is hard if you are teaching remedial classes, which most likely you would be as the original credit classes are usually scooped up by the older teachers who have been doing it for years.

    I don’t know which summer camp you are applying to; my daughter worked at Sugar Pine for many summers, finally being named director her last summer, and even now she is pursued by them to return and work there. She now takes her students as campers, being there as we speak for winter camp. They have always been gracious with the recommendations.

    Summer school is only 6 weeks, that’s a big plus, but the pay is pretty low for what you have to do. Maybe there is a third option out there and you just need to wait and look some more.

  3. Ideally, I’d get paid for watching old episodes of The Daily Show, but I think that’s over-reaching.

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