CELTA is, arguably, one of the most reputable and well-known TEFL courses in the world. As you might know, there are three different formats: Fully online, mixed mode, and intensive face-to-face. In this blog, we will focus on the intensive f2f format.
CELTA is a challenging training course, and even more so if you have chosen the f2f format. You should be ready to put your hectic life on pause for a full month to be able to complete the course. So here are a few tips to prepare yourself for the course and make it a less stressful experience.
Take it as it comes.
One of the first major points of how to survive the CELTA course is to remember that the course is constructed in a way that will help you progress as a teacher from start to finish.
With that in mind, you don’t need to worry about all parts of the course at the start. Just think about each bit at the appropriate time. For example, at the beginning of the course, your trainers will focus mainly on classroom management; this means it isn’t time yet to start worrying about lesson planning or language analysis. Eventually, your trainers will focus on every aspect of the course; for the time being focus on only one thing at a time.
2. Stay positive.
There will be moments when you don’t perform as you’d like or instants when you realize afterward, “Oh my god! Why did I do that?” or “Why do I only think of these things when it was too late?”.
The solution here is to do your best and learn from your mistakes – especially since this is the nature of the course. It was designed to have teachers learn experientially, by reflecting on their mistakes and making improvements. It so happens that that is also the technique you’ll learn to use with your own students in the classroom
3. It is not a test, and nobody expects you to know everything.
You take a course to learn the methodology, various approaches, etc. — tutors do not check your background knowledge. Their primary aim is not to ‘crucify’ you for doing wrong things but to teach you how to do the right things.
The main thing is that your trainers will be expecting you to come in willing to learn and look to develop as a teacher and as an individual, and nobody is expecting you to know everything.
4. Read! Read everything.
Before the course even begins, you’ll be given a long recommended reading list. Why should you read before the course? Because you will not have a lot of time when the course starts. Moreover, some things that you will read before the course starts will be relatively easy for you to understand.
Get to know about the general course of CELTA and try to assess your skills and background knowledge of the aspects of the course. If you need to know more about grammar, for instance, start doing your research beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll be suffering twice as much as others will.
5. Be organized and have a schedule.
It’s easy to start off thinking you have everything prepared and you’ll be fine, but the work creeps up on you, and before long, you’ll have papers coming out of your ears. It can get a bit frustrating when you need to refer back to something and you can’t find it, but if “there’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place”, it will certainly make your daily CELTA life a lot easier.
Preparation goes hand in hand with this. If you have some teaching experience, you’ll find planning classes more effortless but if you’re a novice, make sure you know exactly what you need and when you need it — and always make sure you have enough copies (not too many though, as we do need to save the planet).
6. Keep the team spirit up.
By team, I mean this in many different ways.
First, you have your CELTA tutors and classmates, who will be there to help you and support you as part of a team. You’ve also got the class of students you will be teaching – they will become aware that you are training, and many will try to help you.
Just remind yourself: You’re not on your own, and you do have support.
7. Do not compare yourself to your coursemates.
Now you may be thinking, “Well, some people are more experienced teachers,” or if you’re not a native speaker you might be thinking “But there are people who speak English as a first language on the course.” However, try this: instead of focusing on your comparative weaknesses, tell yourself the following: all trainees are in the same boat – the CELTA course is new to everyone.
8. Your CELTA grade doesn't matter.
There are four possible grades you can be awarded at the end of your CELTA Course:
two “above standard” grades – Pass B & Pass A (very few usually experienced teachers get an A).
one “to standard” grade – Pass
one “not to standard” grade – Fail
Fail is rarely awarded, but that’s not because the course is easy, but because the application process ensures candidates who are likely to struggle are not accepted on a course.
Does it matter? You may ask.
Not really. It looks good on your CV, and it seems to impress recruiters, so it might give you a slight advantage, but as long as you have the CELTA, the grade doesn’t really matter. It’s tough enough getting the qualification, and everyone who has done it knows that!
9. Relax and enjoy the ride.
CELTA is a full-on course, and there will (probably) be moments when you start questioning everything like: What? How can I? This course is crazy.
To that, I’d say: Don’t forget that you’re only human, and humans need to recharge. Find something that resonates with you. If pedicures stress you out, try taking a walk instead. If you love hot chocolate, take a hot chocolate break and focus only on that. There’s no glory in being a martyr for constantly staying busy; take time to recharge and be good to yourself.
Overall, the CELTA is a challenging course, but if you are looking for a career as an English Language teacher, Celta is a great certificate to have.
For more information about the CELTA or our other teacher training courses, contact us: at firstname.lastname@example.org, or +212680542220.