So, what happens and what is expected during CELTA teacher training? I took this course two years ago now so, forgive me if I miss out any information but hopefully, I will cover all the important information you need to know.
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher but know I didn’t want to be a mainstream schoolteacher. Teaching teenagers in secondary school would just be too daunting for me and I wasn’t too keen on primary teaching either. So, when I discovered the CELTA course after watching countless YouTube videos, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. As, I felt that like with most children of immigrants, I have been helping / teaching my mum and other relatives with their English language skills for most of my life. My mum has been in the UK for over forty years now so her speaking, reading and writing skills are amazing but occasionally certain tenses can catch her off guard.
I researched many schools in the south east of England that taught this course and settled on applying to Canterbury Christ Church University as it had great reviews and was close to home.
After filling out and sending off the lengthy application form, I was invited to attend a formal interview which took place with five other potential trainee teachers. Let me tell you, this was a tough interview! There were a series of written tests we had to take – I thought I had a good grasp of the English language until this point! I was sure that I didn’t pass the tests and interview, until a few weeks later when I received the call of a lifetime, telling me that I was one of twelve students who made the cut and was on the course! Just from the interview, I knew the next four weeks would be challenging but I was up for it – or so I thought! I don’t think any amount of experience prepared us for the amount of work and time needed to complete this course!
You may be thinking, how can you train to be a teacher in just 4 weeks?! Trust me, that four weeks, felt like the last year of a degree, that’s how tough and intense it was! Some people on the course either came from a teaching background or were studying English, some had some form of teaching experience and a couple of us just showed we were capable, competent and a little crazy to take on this challenge.
From the very first day of the course it was go, go, go. We were thrown into ice breaker games, assignments were handed out (if my memory serves me well, there were four in total to complete), we were split into two groups of six and met the students we would be teaching – for the first two weeks my group taught the elementary group then we swapped and had the intermediate/advanced group.
My peers and tutors will tell you how much my confidence grew in just four weeks, like you wouldn’t believe. By nature, I have always been shy but quietly confident. However, public speaking has always been my biggest fear, during my uni days, my voice would shake and I’d break out in a sweat in every single presentation – which meant I’d be very embarrassed and not do my best in these situations. It was no different on the first day I had to teach during my CELTA course, I couldn’t even draw a straight line on the board! However, by my last sixty minutes (yes, you read that correctly, on the last session we all had to teach our students for a sixty minute session), I was very confident and drew many straight lines on the board!
To sum up, you start teaching and learning from the first day of the course, no time is wasted. You teach both elementary and intermediate learners, plan your own lessons, have the opportunity to assess your peers and be assessed by them, dip your toes into learning a new language (mine was Japanese) and you must complete four written assignments. Once you have completed the four weeks, you can celebrate with a party and have the opportunity to meet potential employers and meet recruiters who are able to offer advice about teaching in the UK and abroad.
The pros of doing a CELTA are:
- You learn a lot of theory.
- You learn how to lesson plan.
- You are given many opportunities to teach and put into practice everything you are learning.
- You give and receive feedback from your peers and tutors – this is constructive criticism, to help you improve so it shouldn’t be taken to heart.
- There’s opportunity to network and learn from your peers as, most will have some form of teaching experience.
- It’s a very rewarding job, when you see your students learning and progressing in their English speaking, reading and writing skills.
- This course can be taken full time over 4 weeks or part time over 12 weeks.
The cons of doing a CELTA are:
- There is a lot of work to complete in a short period of time – with all the theory you are learning, the assignments and lesson planning.
- There isn’t much or anytime to do anything else like socialise, housework etc for the four weeks – sounds extreme but trust me, there isn’t time to do anything else so, it’s important to keep that in mind when making the commitment to do this course, otherwise you will stress yourself out.
- The cost of the course isn’t cheap, it can vary from school to school but average cost is approximately £1500.
If you choose to take on the CELTA qualification challenge, good luck! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to help if I can!