My Dearest Mad-Readers,
Let me proudly present my first ever blog post about traveling, which is logically linked to my first ever solo trip. I remember how nervous I was. I didn’t want to forget anything before leaving, so I made a list, and I was afraid I would miss the bus or that I wouldn’t find my way at the airport, or in Oxford, if I even managed to get all the way there. In the end, everything went fine. I have come back home in one piece, ready to tell you my experience as a CELTA trainee !
What Is The CELTA
CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. It is an ESL (English as a Second Language) training course for people aspiring to become teachers or who are already teaching and would like to get an official and globally acknowledged certification. If any of you is looking to become qualified as an English teacher, I recommend you also check out TEFL courses.
Preparing For The CELTA
The CELTA course being extremely intensive, I can only advise people who intend to sign up to prepare not only for the tests to be accepted into the course but also for the course itself. A month can sound like a short endeavor. It really is not. It is a marathon, and just like any marathon, you need to be mentally (and financially) ready for it.
Books you can read :
- 700 Classroom activities*
- Learning Teaching* (Jim Scrivener)
- Advanced Grammar in Use* (Cambridge)
- ESL Classroom Activities*
- This website also offers an excellent guide (it helped me a lot whilst preparing)
Needless to say, you need to be comfortable with grammar (and ideally, basic phonology) before taking the CELTA course. If you are not, you will most likely spend too much time studying it instead of focusing on what matters most : teaching. Teaching should be at the center of all your preoccupations, since it is the skill you need to sharpen when you take such a course (except for those who already have experience as teachers, but they are quite rare).
You need at least a level of C1 on the CEFR scale, but really you should be C2. Otherwise language may get in your way. You don’t want to have to think before you speak/write, or it will take too much time to do the most basic things. And God knows the CELTA is a lot about time management and organization.
How Expensive Is It
The CELTA should be considered as an investment. The price varies depending on where you intend to take the course and if you have any additional expenses (i.e if you need to fly to another country, like I did, pay for food, etc…). It can be as “low” as $1500 and can go up to $3000. If you want a more accurate price, I recommend you check out this website or even directly contact the school where you intend to take the course. For those of you who like Oxford, here’s the school where I took the CELTA.
Why Fly Away To Oxford
As I currently live in France and since I was craving for an opportunity to travel to an English-speaking country at the time, I settled for Oxford. A Month in Oxford, that’s the dream, right ? The architecture, the university, the libraries… Who in their right mind wouldn’t say yes to that ? Not me.
Preparing For The Whole Journey
I made a list of what I needed to bring with me : necessary books, clothes, passport & wallet… This is what I advise you to do : a list. It’s basic advice but you should do it several weeks in advance, ideally. This way you have a lot of time to add up any item you might have forgotten.
What You Do As A Trainee
The CELTA as I did it is broken down into 4 weeks (a month, you know?). The first and second weeks are the toughest. During the first week, you need to get used to the fast pace of the CELTA, and the second week is even more work than the first. The third is less stressful, since you know what you’ve gotten into, and the fourth is much more chill for a very simple reason : If you are still there, you can be pretty sure you will succeed. The only thing that matters then is which grade you are going to get. Most people only get a pass, but that really is because those who get a higher grade have much more experience in the first place. You can get 3 grades : Pass, Pass B, and Pass A (the latter being the highest).
A day is usually divided into 2 main parts : Theory in the morning ; Teaching Practice in the afternoon. If there is few trainees, you should teach everyday (as was the case for me) but you will not be observed everyday. By theory, I mean grammar, phonology, listening/speaking/reading practice… You need to be able to teach all these skills.
Why I Encourage Everyone To Go On A Solo Trip At Least Once In A Lifetime
The way I see it, people tend to believe that you need to be with someone all the time. It should not be that way, not to me. A relationship is much healthier when you don’t fully rely on someone else to complete you, right ? Well, if you go on a solo trip, you will only be able to rely on yourself. You will have to book hotels (or just find somewhere to sleep), find ways of transportation, find the way when you are lost… Just survive by yourself. If you want to get a taste of freedom, this your chance! Fly away, discover a new culture on your own and have a lot of fun without having to adapt to others’ needs!
After the CELTA
You have many opportunities when the CELTA certificate is yours. You may keep teaching, if you already were. You may begin, if you weren’t already. Since the CELTA is internationally renowned, you should have no trouble getting a job. As the training is hard, employers will also look at you differently (and consider your application more seriously).
If you want to find something quickly, I recommend tefl.com. Check it out, there are lots of job opportunities there.
The DELTA course becomes an option when you have one year of experience as a teacher. If you are serious about teaching, this is the logical follow-up to a CELTA. It is expensive but such an investment will allow you to earn more, publish your own books, become famous… (you know, the usual?)
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Take care of yourselves,
* This is is an Amazon affiliate link