Actually I did it some time ago but it took me a lot of time to sort out my notes and bring all the ideas together.
Firstly, if you have read a lot of scary posts about CELTA saying how tiring it is and how everybody has struggled with lessons and assignments – well, it’s true. But all I can remember now is how cool the tutors were, what brilliant and unique people I have met, what an incredible experience I had living there, how I have improved myself and yes, how much fun I had there. So, if you are afraid of it as I was before the course, be sure it will be cool and it will be fun.
The course takes 4 weeks and includes teaching practice, input sessions, written assignments and Friday nights out with your new friends.
You teach 8 lessons total, but you have 2 different levels to teach: 2 weeks with an upper-intermediate group and 2 weeks with a pre-intermediate group. You will be provided with all the information, guidelines and resources you might need. Nobody will throw you in at the deep end without any assistance. If you teach the next day after the course starts it means your tutor will do 50% of you planning and even more if necessary during Assisted Lesson Preparation (ALP).
Speaking about assignments, there are 4 of them and we mostly did them on weekends. As regards the workload I admit that it’s quite heavy but I did my best to be organized and I didn’t put off anything and it helped me to go to bed not later than midnight and I felt quite OK about it despite my constant worrying about my lessons which is my nature and can’t be changed.
Well, doing the assignments read carefully all the guidelines and requirements provided. After completing them check again whether you haven’t done anything written in ‘Pitfalls’ section of guidelines and whether you have done everything in the ‘Criteria’ section.
Another advantage of starting your assignments asap is that in case you have a question you can ask your tutors before submission.
They were really interesting and interactive, especially about teaching young learners)) I would like to highlight that if you have any topic which is particularly interesting for you tutors might speak about that in their sessions. That happened to us since several trainees asked for information about teaching small groups (if I’m not mistaken) they changed a session so that they covered necessary material and added the info we asked for. Tutors are really great!
How to get a Pass A)
Finally, what most of you might be interested to know. Here I must say that I don’t know for sure, but…
At the beginning your tutors will tell you what the criteria are and how you’ll be assessed. We were also told what the percentage was (I’ve heard that in some schools they tell that nobody will get a pass A).
In the middle of the course (beginning of the 3rd week) you have a one-to-one tutorial with your current tutor to discuss you progress and estimate what you’ve achieved so far. So, here you decide whether you’re below, up to or above standard and what you need to do to achieve a higher grade. In my case we agreed that my performance was above standard since I was quite knowledgeable (read Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener beforehand) and I did quite well (listen to everything your tutors say), we also discussed what to do to improve my teaching.
I think what made me reach ‘above standard’ was my active participation in input sessions, lesson feedbacks and assisted lesson planning sessions as well as being highly detailed in my lesson plans which were written on 3 pages minimum (first week doesn’t count). Lesson plans are one of the most important things which are assessed together with lessons themselves. What seems to be crucial is your making progress, so pay attention to feedbacks your tutors and peers give you and think about it planning your next lesson.
Last week I was pretty much independent and my tutor only answered my questions about my lessons instead of assisted planning, I also experimented trying to work with different frameworks and implement different techniques.
Here I would like to say that despite the pleasure of getting the A the grade actually doesn’t matter that much. I used to think about it a lot but it’s important when you are at high school and bored to death. At the CELTA course you have so much fun and positive energy and great people around you, you are involved in a creative process and, what’s important, you’re are improving professionally. That was my aim and I did my best to get the most out of the course.
If you’re thinking about doing it – do it and don’t let negative experiences frighten you. Good luck!!!
P.S. I need to mention that CELTA varies from school to school, I did my CELTA in Budapest and it may be slightly different from what you had or what you are going to have.