…each lesson is different and therefore presents new challenges
Here we continue the series of interviews with CELTA trainee teachers who have just completed the recent January to March 10-week intensive course. This time Erika tells us of her experience.
- Hey Erika, thanks for taking the time to do this. Now that the CELTA course is over how do you feel?
I feel relieved, delighted, excited that it’s over but really happy that I did it.
- What were your reasons for doing the course?
I want to move to France and teach there, so I needed to do an ELT course but this is definitely the best out there. It’s internationally recognized and it’s the only one that gives teaching practice incorporated as part of the course.
- Can you tell us a little about the application process? What did you have to do?
Well like any course there’s an application form and you must send in copies of your educational qualifications with it and then an interview.
- How about the first few days of the course? What were they like?
The first few days we were just settling into the course and getting to know each other.
- On the course you have to teach for a total of six hours? How does that work out?
It works out as; 20 minutes for the first lesson, 40 minutes for the next 7 lessons and finally the last lesson is 60 minutes. In total this makes 6 hours of teaching practice. In the part-time course, each lesson is usually a week apart.
- Are the students ‘real’ students?
Yes, they are definitely ‘real’ students. We were given the opportunity in the beginning of the course to interview them to see what level they were best suited to; Upper-intermediate or Pre-intermediate.
- On average how long did it take you to prepare for a lesson?
On average four hours.
- Did the tutors give you a lot of help in the planning stage of your lessons?
Yes, the tutors were very helpful in the planning stage as we knew we could email them any questions we had or when we send in our lesson plan they would send it back with their suggestions.
- Going from one lesson to the next do you know what you need to do to improve?
Yes, there is a reflection/feedback session after every lesson and the tutors will let you know what you are doing well and what you need to develop or work on in the next lesson.
- What about the afternoon input sessions? Tell us a little about those.
These really helped to inform the teaching practice, for example there’s an input session on what are receptive and productive skills in language teaching.
- Are there assignments? Are these easy?
Yes there are four assignments which have to be between 750 and 800 words. They are not easy but they are doable.
- What is the hardest part of the course?
The teaching practice was the hardest for me as each lesson is different and therefore presents new challenges.
- Was there anything you found easy?
The first two assignments; Focus on the learner and Lessons from the classroom, were easier than the last two.
- Was there anything you had not expected at all; something that surprised you?
I never realized we were meant to observe other tutors in the language centre outside of the course hours until I was in the course. So anyone thinking of doing the course should be prepared to go into UCC mid-week between 9-1 or in the evenings between 6-9.
- What advice would you give someone preparing for the CELTA course? Are there any books or websites you would suggest?
Yes, I would suggest using these for language analysis: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/learner-english/
http://www.phonemicchart.com/ (because sometimes the phonemic script is not in the dictionary)
Practical English Usage, By Michael Swan, Oxford. (Grammar Bible)
Learner English, A teachers guide to interference and other problems, Edited by Michael Swan and Bernard Smith.
- If you could sum up your advice to new trainees on a CELTA course in one sentence; what would it be?
Be prepared to give lots of time and dedication to the course.
- And finally, now that the course is over what are your plans? How do you intend to use your CELTA qualification?
I intend to look for work in France or Swtitzerland.
Thanks for this, Erika. Keep in contact and good luck!
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