What better way to start off my blog than to discuss the actual teacher training?
I wasn’t always going to do a CELTA course. In fact, my job didn’t require it and I had taught before, but I decided to make things more ‘official’ and signed up to an intensive CELTA course at the University of Sheffield’s English Language Teaching Centre.
The first thing I was made aware of is that this course is intense. It is 120 credits in a month. That is a year’s worth of university in four weeks. That is a lot of work.
However, I had the summer off work (working for the Students’ Union has its perks!) and I scraped together the £1500 it cost to take the course and I can tell you hands down that it was the best £1500 I have ever spent.
So, should you take a CELTA course?
The CELTA course will open up doors that just any TEFL course might not
CELTA is still a TEFL course, and yes, it is quite a lot dearer than other TEFL courses (especially those deals on Groupon), but you may find that a lot of companies will not take a TEFL course and require a CELTA or CertTESOL or they will not even consider your application. I would suggest looking at the job seeker section of tefl.com and consider what you’re looking for in terms of employment. If they don’t require CELTA or similar, go for it! If they do require it, well it may be worth the investment.
The £1500 you spend does not mean that you’ll pass
It seems obvious but this is just like a university course. You spend however much on a degree but you don’t automatically expect to pass, do you? The CELTA course takes a lot of work, a lot of dedication and I think I was averaging about 4 hours sleep a night from my second to fourth weeks on the course. This means that you might be cranky and you might cry a little bit (I cracked in my fourth week), but as long as you give it your all, you should be great. Plus, you can always circle the end date in your calendar and breathe a sigh of relief as the date draws closer.
You will meet some amazing people on your course
You are with these people from 9-5 every weekday and you all have similar goals. I have met some of my closest and best friends on the course, and now I have places to stay when I visit the countries where they will be teaching, which is just a bonus in itself to be honest. The people on my CELTA course were absolutely fantastic and we could share tips and hilarious stories about what went wrong with our classes.
You should know your grammar
I am a huge grammar nerd, but I was not prepared for the in-depth knowledge you are supposed to whip up at a moment’s notice. So, if you’re not hot on grammar? Grab a grammar book and pore over it. Seriously, know your verb tenses, know your content inside out and let the grammar just wash over you.
Teaching adults is not that scary
For someone who really feared the actual teaching practice (and relished the teaching theory), I was dreading my first lesson teaching adults. However, they volunteered to be there and they want you to do well, they are not waiting for you to fail. The best part is that you get constant feedback, you can see what is working and what isn’t immediately, you learn to think on your feet and you will never be without some very honest opinions following every lesson. You quickly learn what your students respond to and learn how to gage the interest and level of the learners, as well as how to avoid derailing questions which they will definitely throw at you. If you’re still terrified, I can tell you first hand that when you’re up there in front of the students, the fear just melts away.
But £1500 is a lot, right?
Yes, it really is. I felt physical pain handing that sum of money over, but at the same time, it makes you so employable and if you see it as an investment for your future, it’s really not that awful. I worked out that in 3 months, working in Moscow, I will get that money and more back, plus it sets me up for my career in English teaching for the future. In this course you get excellent tuition, teaching practice, teaching theory and links with various companies so that you can kickstart your teaching career.
So that’s it for my first blog post, but if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment below or contact me for a more in-depth reply.