I wrote about my CELTA experience on this blog both for self reflection, and to give advice to anyone who might be considering taking the CELTA. So, below is a general reflection on my thoughts after taking the CELTA, as well as links to detailed posts about specific aspects of the course.
If anyone reading this has questions about doing the CELTA, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will try my best to help.
About the CELTA
- CELTA application and interview – How I got into the CELTA program
- Szia! – My first CELTA lesson
- Input Sessions – The classroom part of CELTA
- Teaching Practices – The hands-on part of CELTA
- On watching others, and being watched – The peer-review part of CELTA
- My CELTA Students
- My CELTA Instructors
- Teaching practice #2 – An example of an average first week lesson from the textbook
- Teaching practice #5 – An example of a bad lesson (It happens to every teacher, right???)
- Teaching practice #8 – An example of a lesson using original material from outside the textbook
- CELTA Top 10 – My personal top 10 tips, top 10 problems, and top 10 lessons learned
Reflections on CELTA
I don’t yet know if my CELTA certificate will help me get a better job or better pay, I just started searching for my next job – I will update this post when I have more to report.
However, job prospects aside, I’m really glad I did this course. There are a lot of TEFL / TESL courses and certifications out there, and some of them are probably pretty good, but I was very satisfied by the content of the CELTA. I really think it will help me become a better English teacher – and even if I decide to move outside of the ESL world, I think the student-centered approach favored by the CELTA has given me a good teaching foundation.
I am VERY glad I did a full-time, in-person certification program. I’m convinced programs like the CELTA, with lots of real observed teaching are 1000X better than the online paper-mill certificates that some people take. Also, it really helped focus my attention in a way that a part-time program would not have done. And being able to lean on the shoulders on my fellow trainees really helped me get through the program – we may never meet again, but for that one month we were best friends and family.
It’s also really important to say that the full-time CELTA is a REALLY stressful experience. To be honest I had a lot of trouble learning to be a student again after being out of school for 3 years. I had a little time to relax on the weekends, but sometimes I wish I had opted to do extra work instead of relaxing. There is no time for serious travel DURING the CELTA, but it’s a good idea to set aside at least a few days vacation time immediately after.
I completed my CELTA on August 26th, 2011. IH Bangkok then had to make my evaluation and send it, along with all my lesson plans, to Cambridge University in the UK for final evaluation. I recieved my final certificate on November 10th, 2011.
There are a total of 4 grades possible for the CELTA – “Fail”, “Pass”, P”ass B” and “Pass A”. I got a “Pass”. This means that I met all of the standards set by CELTA. It’s not a bad grade, it just means I still have things to work on as a teacher. It’s really hard to get a “Pass A,” and as far as I know nobody in my group of trainees received one. Most people in my group also got Pass grades, with a few “Pass B” grades, at least two people got a “Fail” grade.
- Areas of achievement
- Good rapport and engagement
- Supportive monitoring
- Varied practice activities
- Effective eliciting, modeling and drilling
- Student-centered lessons
- Areas for future development
- Planning in adequate detail and time (Don’t procrastinate!)
- Avoid oversimplification of language (Don’t “pull a Seth“)
- Overall comment
Seth was a thoughtful trainee who contributed perceptively to input sessions and feedback. Although he came to the course with some experience, Seth was not used to planning lessons. By the end of the course, his planning was student-centered and often creative, but would still have benefited from more detail. He had a quietly sympathetic and encouraging classroom presence, he could grade his language well and give clear instructions and he became increasingly able to apply techniques for clarifying meaning, form and pronunciation. He showed an ability to generate student talking and to provide varied opportunities for student interaction. With further support and guidance, he should develop into an effective and sensitive teacher of English
Well, that’s all I have to say for now. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and I think it will help me a lot on my ESL teaching journey. Again, if you have any questions email me at email@example.com.
International House Bangkok – My CELTA center