What was it like for you at the time?
At the beginning, I was not sure about taking the course as I had many doubts and questions about it. Moreover, I was not an English native speaker so I was afraid of failing the course or having a low level to succeed. When the course started all my fears disappeared as I had the support of all my classmates and my teachers, and many materials to solve my academic questions. I felt really built in and comfortable and the most important thing, it was a rewarding experience for me, as a professional teacher and as a human being.
Has it been useful? In what way?
Absolutely. I have to acknowledge that I had previously studied English Language and Literature, but I was able to learn more things about teaching a foreign language by taking this course than studying that degree at university. I truly believe that this course has been really useful for me as it has provided me with experience, confidence and many ideas and strategies to teach English properly.
If you have found work, what and where is it?
Yes, I found a job. I have been really lucky as at first, I was offered a job in Turkey and Japan, but I ended up rejecting the offers. A bit later, I decided to go to Madrid where I was offered a job in an academy to teach English .Now I am working here and I am over the moon as my colleagues value my knowledge and understanding of the language as well as my capacity to introduce creativity and originality in my lessons.
If you are continuing with your studies and training, is the CELTA helping you out with that?
Right now, I continue studying English on my own as I have to prepare lessons for my students and I need to update the new English expressions that come up every day too. The Celta course has given to me several ideas and mind-boggling ways to adapt or create an activity bearing in mind the students’ needs.
In hindsight, what’s the most important thing you gained from it all?
Honestly, the most important thing I have gained from the Celta course has been the experience and also the confidence. Now I am able to stand in front of an audience, use a lovely tone and avoid the panic. What is more, I am capable of creating my own materials based on creativity, fun and originality.
I strongly recommend this course to everyone as it is an amazing experience which will help you to see your personal and professional growth as well as the hidden capacities that you have to become a successful teacher.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a perfect place to study at as it is a calm island isolated from fuss and crazy rhythm of life. Also, the climate is mild and the weather is fine there.
When choosing the CELTA course I was guided by the following:
- nice location
- ratio of price and quality
- experienced tutors
If you want to immerse in the process of studying and abstract your mind from every day routines, you should definitely go to this island, a calm place where you will be able to concentrate all your attention on learning to become an English teacher.
Price also grabbed my attention. I contacted the Irish Academy to find out everything about the course. The administrative team did not make me wait for long and gave a reply on the same day. After a successful interview and paying the deposit, I was accepted onto the course.
On the very first day of the course we were split into two groups (those who taught the Elementary and the Intermediate level students), and observed our tutors teaching the levels. We had a schedule for the whole week and began our teaching on the second day of the course. The class lasted 20 minutes but for us it seemed to be a very long period of time!
Later it was easier for us to adapt to everything what was going on there as moving forward, we acquired a lot of information during feedback and input sessions. Our tutors supported us, and each time we felt more confident in ourselves.
It should be mentioned that time spent on the course was amazing: everyone was so kind, open and responsive. Due to such a friendly atmosphere I felt very comfortable despite the fact that the course was really intensive. We did not get enough sleep and worked very hard on our everyday lesson and stage plans, language analyses lists and vocabulary sheets, but at the end of the course we realised that all the effort we had put in, was worth it. Everyone passed the course and was pleased that he/she had such experience in his/her life.
I enjoyed the process of co-operation with my tutors as they are true professionals and nice people who gave us the benefit of their experience and knowledge and did their best to help us to become competent in the field of teaching to adults.
On the last day of the course we felt relieved but at the same time we realized that we had to say good bye to our colleagues, tutors and directors of the course, and to everyone we had got on with. I remember that time with great pleasure and thank everyone who took part in the course.
If you want to become a teacher in a short period of time, are ready to work hard and can throw yourself into learning, you should take this course.
The only advice I would like to give you is to read some books from the recommended list of literature that you would be sent before the course starts. You will get the idea of what it means to be a teacher and feel more comfortable on the course as the amount of the information will be huge, and it would be very difficult to grasp all the information without any preparation.
Good luck, Ekaterina.
Jenny Hardiman has been living in Gran Canaria for fifteen years and Eilís Lee came over from Ireland to the south two years ago. Both have recently passed their Cambridge University CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching Accreditation) at The Irish Academy in Las Palmas.
Having previously worked doing waitressing, bar and PR work in the south, they are now full time teachers at one of the top private bilingual schools in Las Palmas teaching English and subject classes like Maths and Science in English. They finished the teaching training course in December and started their new positions in February.
Both still live in the South where Eilís continues to do occasional summer PR work. However, on a day to day basis she had decided she needed a change as the work in the south is predominantly night time with long shifts and maybe not as steady as some of the work in the North.
Jenny, on the other hand, started teaching seven years ago and fondly remembers her first class; ‘It was a shock! Although I speak English, I was unsure of how to explain anything about English to the kids in the beginning.’ However, Jenny quickly became more confident and felt that she would like to find out how to use different material in new ways. ‘I just got so many ideas from the course and I’ve used every single thing I’ve learnt at some point since. Now, I just can’t imagine how my classes were before…it’s changed the way I teach.’
Whilst working in Las Palmas last summer, Jenny had found out that The Irish Academy had become a University of Cambridge CELTA teacher training centre and she promptly signed up. Having worked on the island for many years as a competent teacher but without a degree, Jenny is confident that she wouldn’t have the job she has now without the accreditation. Eilís on the other hand had a music degree but both feel that as the CELTA has degree status it has levelled the playing field. As Eilís commented ‘I’d say having a degree is great, but this gives people the edge as employers are interested in it. It’s a really well-recognised international qualification.’
When reflecting on the one month intensive course itself, the girls remember the difficulties they had to overcome. For Jenny the biggest challenge was about completing the lesson planning paperwork ‘It was daunting; I never thought I’d get my head around it’, whilst Eilís had to battle against her own mind-set. ‘The first day I was really overwhelmed. I thought I would be at a real disadvantage as other people had teaching experience and I hadn’t had any.’
However, Eilís now thinks that not having had previous experience actually helped her more. ‘The thing for people with no experience to remember is that you’re learning a whole new way of teaching. If you haven’t taught, you’re a blank slate but don’t let that be a factor in your decision as sometimes you’re better off that way. Others with experience had to break old habits and re-learn everything.’
´Within a week I had completely forgotten the feeling of being less experienced and when you’ve completed the course it’s a huge sense of achievement knowing that you took on something completely new and saw it through even though it was difficult.’
I completed the CELTA course in December 2013. I’d been out of education for 10 years so it was a shock to the system, to say the least. I found it very challenging and it took over my entire life for 4 weeks, giving me little time for anything else. At one point I didn’t wash my hair for 7 days! (Thank God for dry hair shampoo!).
I was given lots of support on the course from the tutors and my peers and it helped that the academy had all of the resources I needed to assist me also. On completion I have made lots of friends and gained a qualification which gives me the opportunity to take me any place in the world.
I have been applying for jobs using my CELTA for the past month and lots of places are looking for previous experience BUT I’m sure that with the CELTA and the letter of recommendation I received from my tutors an offer will present itself soon enough and give me the chance to show off the skills I have acquired.