Updated: Oct 7
Aicha Boubakr 30 years old.
An English teacher in Temara, Morocco.
English For Africa CELTA graduate.
Took the course in August 2021
Looking for lost passion
Prior to taking the CELTA course, I had worked as a high school English teacher for 7 years. I was at a point where I felt like I was going through the motions and just teaching out of habit. I was experiencing teachers’ burnout firsthand. I had many practical reasons for taking the CELTA. Namely, it is a prestigious world-recognized certificate. I also aspire to teach English abroad and having the CELTA is one way to enhance my chances of being hired. Yet I found myself hoping that it would also reignite my lost passion for teaching. Now post the course I can say that it really did help me spark that flame.
The Google matchbox
After approaching other service providers, I always found myself in a difficult situation. Some options required me to travel abroad, others were too overpriced or they did not care to provide me the information I needed to make a decision. On the brink of giving up, I did a final Google search. It brought me to these amazing people at English For Africa. From the very first encounter, I was impressed with their response time. I got an abundance of information on the course, the schedule, and what to expect. However, what really sealed the deal for me was their competitive prices.
The start of an adventure
After my interview, I went home full of trepidation. The extensive online search I did only made my anxiety mount even higher. What with reading about how extensive the course was and how stressfully draining the CELTA can be. I remember showing up the first day and feeling like a fish out of water. However, once I got a chance to talk with the other trainees and our two trainers I felt like I was at the start of an adventure.
From the Get to go, our CELTA trainers at EFA kept a supportive and informative demeanor. We got extensive materials about what we are required to do at different stages of the course. Our trainers were extremely approachable and ready to answer any and all our questions. They were highly invested in our success and made sure to facilitate it.
The missing puzzle piece
The input sessions were the highlight of the course. I admired how our teachers would model their session in a way that demonstrates the techniques and methods they were teaching. For example, we learned about text-based learning by reading about a castle in England. We learned about using Drama by impersonating our favorite childhood story monsters. At the end of every session, I felt like I was upgrading my toolbox. I also kept getting a sense of finding the missing puzzle piece, especially regarding alternative ways to teach different things. Things from lessons I had thought repeatedly over the years but was never satisfied with them. The assignments were another favorite part of mine. Each assignment helped me to understand a different aspect of ELT. The 3rd was my personal favorite. I remember I started it late on a Saturday planning to just write a part of it and complete it the next day.
From dreading feedback to embracing it.
The government training I underwent before I started teaching left me with a few bad memories. So I was dreading the feedback sessions. Nevertheless, it did not take long before feedback sessions became something to look forwards to rather than dread. I learned so much both from feedback on my lessons as well as the lessons I got to see my classmates teach. It became such a thrilling experience to witness both my progress and that of my teammates. A Progress made possible because of the helpful feedback and the planning sessions.
My biggest takeaway from the course however is the relationships that we have garnered through the course. I mean 4 weeks might not seem like a lot of time to create a bond with one other person let alone 13 people. But the level of cooperation, understanding, and support we experienced was off the chart.
Our course was exceptionally unique. With some of our teammates going through hard times (loss of loved ones, accidents, health problems) yet it only served to bring us closer together. Often you would find trainees working together on preparing materials, proofreading each other’s work, and brainstorming ideas for lessons. My favorite time was the lunch break where I get to make a pot of tea and we shared food and got to just talk and unwind. By the end of the course, I knew had made some lifelong friendships.
Even though the CELTA is by nature an intensive and exhausting course, it is not impossible to succeed in. Yes, it requires you to have good study skills, organization, and time management skills. Yes, it needs you to be dedicated and willing to put in the work. If it is something you want, English For Africa is
the best to guide you through it.