As a recent graduate/survivor of the CELTA course I would just like to share my top 5 tips for anyone thinking of undertaking this intensive course!
- Don’t procrastinate! Seriously, I am the Queen of procrastination so if I’m telling you not to then you gotta trust me! Honestly if you procrastinate and put things off you will get so behind and overwhelmed. If you put something off until the next day, then by the time the next day rolls around you’ll have about 5 other things to do as well!
- Be organised! Put everything in a binder. Every handout they give you during input sessions; file them away, cross reference them, colour code them…you think I’m kidding but, in all seriousness, you will be referring back to them so much during the course and it will just make your life so much easier if they’re easy to access. Also keep on top of when you’re teaching and when your written assignments are due. This will keep you focused and help you manage the workload and deadlines.
- Buy and read a methodology book! The one I recommend the most is Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener. It’s incredibly easy to navigate and has the best information and ideas. Also for your written assignments you will be asked to cite at least two methodology books to show that you have researched the topic and done some background reading so some others I found helpful for this are The Practice of English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer and Teach English as a Foreign Language: Teach Yourself by David Riddell. I didn’t buy those ones but they were in the library at the school so I just used those. Which leads me on to my next point to…
- Make use of the library! The institution I went to had incredibly good facilities with a library that housed every possible grammar, methodology and teaching resource book you could ever imagine. We were also given a student card with £20 worth of credit to use on the printer/photocopier and I photocopied and printed so much in that library! They also had coloured card if you wanted to make a kinaesthetic activity or flashcards, they had dice and counters if you wanted to make a boardgame. Honestly, there were so many different things so if your school has that, then USE IT!
- Work together! Teamwork is a big thing on CELTA, they even assess you on your ability to work with the other trainees in your group! Teaching is a collaborative profession and it’s ok to share what you know and to help each other. Plan your lessons together (you will need to sometimes anyway as your lessons may overlap) and work together on the assignments. Obviously the work has to ultimately be your own but it’s totally fine (even encouraged) to plan together so set aside some time to get together and work things out.
NOTE: I took the part-time CELTA course at International House London alongside my full-time office job and was awarded a “Pass B”. I had no previous experience of teaching.