My CELTA experience PART I
Are you thinking about taking CELTA? Have you already taken CELTA and want to read about my experience? Do you like cats? Well, this blog post might be for you!
Please keep in mind that the opinions posted on this blog are my own.
Everybody might have a different experience and go through the CELTA process differently, and that's OK.
Even though I obtained an online TEFL certificate at the beginning of my teaching career, which made me an eligible candidate for ESL positions, taking (and passing) CELTA has been my dream for about 10 years, yet I was never ready - financially and time-wise. When I became self-employed and had 2 months off (working part-time feels like having time off) I finally came to the conclusion that CELTA is finally within my reach and if I don’t do it now, I might as well forget about it. A feeling of excitement rushed through my veins as I applied for the course, followed by a feeling of pride when I was accepted as a CELTA applicant. As dramatic as it sounds this course was truly a cherry on top of my career even though it’s for both aspiring and experienced teachers.
What is CELTA?
CELTA is a qualification for teaching English as a foreign language. It is world-renowned and widely respected by employers. It allows you to learn various ESL techniques theoretically and, more importantly, in the classroom. It can be done in a physical classroom or online. I participated in the latter option as it was available in British Council Krakow (where I am located at the moment) and, to be honest, was much more convenient for me as I kept on teaching at home throughout the duration of my course. You can read more about CELTA on their official website
Why not just take a 120h TEFL/TESOL course?
I had already been working in ESL for around 2 years before my former boss was generous enough to pay for my online 120h TEFL/TESOL course. As interesting as it was I didn’t find it particularly motivating and adventurous as it was mostly doing units on a simple teaching platform, writing essays and taking a quiz from time to time. It was done entirely online before anyone heard of teaching platforms or fast internet for that matter, so teaching practices and observations were non-existent. The course also focused on teaching all age groups, therefore it was not exactly beneficial for my particular profile as my goal has always been teaching older teens and adults. This course is great for teachers who want to quickly start their ESL career, but are not able to invest much time and money. If you have a choice, a lot of time, some money saved, or a generous employer - always go with CELTA.
How to apply for CELTA?
First of all - find a CELTA centre near you. I took my CELTA course at British Council in Krakow, which is widely known for its training programs and experienced tutors. The tutors make sure you are a suitable candidate for the course, meaning you are not accepted based on the ability to transfer the course fee quickly but based on your knowledge, intuition, logical thinking and determination.
To be accepted as a candidate you must fill out a long questionnaire and do some pre-interview (that’s right, there is also an interview) tasks so the tutors can see if you can handle quality teaching in the future. Once your questionnaire is accepted you are invited to an interview with one of the tutors to discuss you, your experience, your motivation, your (future) teaching style and go through your answers.
Only after successfully completing these steps you are awarded an invitation to take part in the course - congratulations! You probably will become a CELTA-qualified teacher soon as not many people fail this course (once accepted). All of the above already shows why this course is so widely respected by the ESL community.
After 12 years of teaching - why even bother?
Just because you’ve been doing something for a long time, doesn’t mean you’re doing it well or that you can’t flourish. A good teacher is someone who seeks constant improvement, self-development and constructive feedback. Sharing those 5 weeks (if you’re doing CELTA full time) with other experienced teachers as well as teaching newcomers and tutors can be a cathartic adventure where you learn from each other and evaluate your own teaching style. You gain more insights and perspective than you expect and it is the ultimate test if this is what you want to do.
This part of my blog was more theoretical than I wanted but necessary before I share my true opinions about CELTA and experiences from the course.
PART II is on its way…