All posts by Shakespeare School

CELTA by Adriana Ciobotu

For me CELTA was indeed a great opportunity because it funnelled my creativity, it helped me grow tremendously, both personally and professionally and it made me more aware of my teaching which has become much more meaningful and successful as a result of the CELTA experience. In my view this is CELTA explained:

Challenges Overcome
Enthusiasm Shared
Life-long learning chance
Teaching Tips & Tricks
Achieving Goals

Challenges overcome with the aid of hard work, determination and the unconditional guidance and support of the two wonderful tutors, Georgiana Bose and Nicoleta Dinescu to whom I will forever be grateful;

Enthusiasm shared with my fellow teachers who offered me emotional support and were extremely open to sharing their teaching experiences with me. They also suggested the best ways to improve my teaching during the feedback sessions.

A Life-long learning opportunity because of the new approaches to teaching we were exposed to while re-visiting the old ones with more knowledgeable eyes and acquiring new skills that would improve my practical teaching skills.

Teaching Tips and Tricks because CELTA is practice at its best; the teaching moments were indeed my favourites because not only do you teach in front of the students but also in front of your peers and assessors which makes the experience even more enriching due to the constructive feedback sessions organised after your teaching lesson. The experience is priceless; to be able to have your teaching shaped and enriched by true professionals makes all the effort worthwhile.

Achieving Goals – I think that the way this programme is particularly organised contributes to its overall success; the teaching sessions occur in the morning (two weeks teaching intermediate students and two weeks teaching upper-intermediate students) and are closely followed by the feedback sessions; after lunch, the afternoons are dedicated to the “theoretical” lessons delivered by the mentors which leaves the evenings and weekends for written assignments. Through their own teaching, the mentors reveal not only essential information in a very flexible, pragmatic and entertaining way but they also provide extremely useful and rich teaching tips which you can emulate and bring in class for your next lesson. I think this is the best part of the programme; the fact that each and every moment represents a learning opportunity and it is up to you to recognize it and make the best of it! It was because of this that I achieved my goals of becoming a better-informed, more knowledgeable, more mature and more playful teacher. My students thank CELTA every day!

The CELTA Experience: Why, Who, What, Where

Why take the CELTA course?

Think back to your first day as a new, doe-eyed teacher, to that first morning or afternoon, when you timidly made your way to the classroom, nervous yet eager to impart knowledge and wisdom. Now envision this: before you’ve had the chance to take that final deep breath and walk in, the classroom door flings open, and a student runs by without so much as acknowledging you. Another soon follows, also intent on ignoring you. Wait, it gets worse. Once inside, you don’t know where your materials are or what to do with them, you lose your train of thought every five minutes, distracted by your students who are glued to their phones and eventually start counting the minutes until the end of class. You take comfort in the fact that it was only your first day and tell yourself that things can only get better. Only that they don’t, and, before you know it, some ten years have passed and you feel trapped in an endless cycle of mediocre lessons.

 

Who and what is the CELTA course for?

So one day, you take to the Internet in search of a quick fix. And, I can tell you right now, considering my own experience, there isn’t one. There is, however, a face to face course, the Cambridge CELTA, which can reignite your passion for education or, alternatively, provide you with a first year teaching survival kit, depending on your needs and experience. During the CELTA course you can expect to learn the basics of different teaching approaches, classroom management, effective lesson planning and materials development, as well as to become aware of your strengths and celebrate them while, at the same time, addressing weaknesses in your practice, supported by your peers and tutors. Following your CELTA experience, ie, the mental and emotional rollercoaster ride you will be on for the next four to twenty weeks, depending on whether you enroll in the part-time or full-time module, you will be able to walk confidently into any classroom, either in your country of origin or abroad, and teach effective and engaging lessons.

I have taken the CELTA early on in my career and can honestly say, it has made all the difference. This course has provided me with the core principles needed to successfully teach a wide range of levels and ages, from children to adults and from CEF A1 to C1, as well as with wonderful opportunities to continue my education in the UK and teach abroad.

 

Where should I take the CELTA course?

The Cambridge CELTA is therefore, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a must for anyone interested in pursuing a rewarding, long-term teaching career. So, at this point, the only question remaining should be which CELTA course provider to contact. There are numerous options across the globe, some from schools with long-standing tradition and others from up-and-coming centres, all equally qualitative, as only establishments accredited by Cambridge English are permitted to deliver the CELTA course. Bearing this in mind, you’re in good hands, no matter where you decide to go. Of course location, price and personal preferences will tip the scale one way or another in the end, but, what matters most, I feel, are the course tutors and educational facilities, as they can make or break your lessons during the course and strongly impact your overall result, making the difference between a PASS, PASS with MERIT, PASS with DISTINCTION and even FAIL grade.

In terms of the above aspects, I can vouch for Shakespeare School, the place where I have started teaching, and where, six years later, I continue learning and growing, alongside a group of dedicated professionals. Should you decide to join us for the CELTA course, you will have the chance to learn from highly skilled mentors who, having extensive expertise in teaching and teacher training, will offer you the principled guidance and emotional support necessary on this strenuous, yet enriching experience. A wealth of resources, such as access to numerous reading materials, high-speed internet, an interactive white board and a projector, is also offered by the school and complements the tutors’ forthcoming and empathic manner.
See you there!

Diana Graur
Teacher of English
Shakespeare School

My CELTA Journey – Ana Maria Voichita

One important lesson that I learnt at the dawn of my career and that I would like to share with any aspiring educators out there is that knowing how to teach is a completely different kettle of fish from knowing what to teach. There are many people out there who feel like English is right up their alley, yet who break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of being in front of a classroom. At the same time, there is a considerable number of individuals who already activate in the teaching department, but who have difficulty in maintaining good control over their classroom or who feel like what they have to say stirs little interest among young learners. 

This is because passing forward what you have learnt requires a completely different set of skills compared to the abilities that have helped you gain the knowledge in the first place. Think of it as a separate branch of science or as two distinct school subjects. Now, the good news is that learning how to teach takes less time than the intricacies you have been sweating over for the past decade. Of course, it is something that you will need to master and perfect over the course of your whole career, but the foundations can be gained in about one month – also known as the duration of a CELTA course.

Although one month may sound like a manageable amount of time, one thing you should know before signing up for this course is that during this interval your top priority will be learning how to teach – and learning how to teach only. The harsh truth is that you’ll have to temporarily part with your social life and focus only on becoming better at what is expected of you. The good part, however, is that at the end of these four weeks you will feel so satisfied and proud of yourself, so endowed with knowledge and packed experience that you will perceive CELTA as the only thing you could have helped you get where you are now.

My experience with this course is overwhelmingly positive – and has been so from the very beginning. When I decided to sign up for the course, I remember having been asked to tackle some English language challenges and talk about why I wanted to become a teacher. If you pass this stage, you will be asked to attend a short interview with an experienced CELTA tutor. In my case, I took the interview with Georgiana, a very light-hearted and easy-going person with a very logical and methodical way of thinking. I felt very secure and comfortable in her presence as nowadays this kind of professionalism and confidence in one’s abilities is a very rare sight. As people like her are the masterminds of the course, the entire experience is equally imbued with the same blend of discipline and expertise reflected by her personality.

If you are one of the lucky twelve to be accepted on the course, what ensues will be four weeks of difficult – yet very rewarding work. You will be divided into two groups – each group teaching a handful of intermediate-level adult students. They are usually cooperative and well-intentioned individuals and are the last thing you should worry about. Each group will benefit from the guidance of a tutor for two weeks – and then you’ll switch both students and tutors. Day one and day fifteen are perhaps the most valuable of all because during the first part of the day you will get the chance to watch your tutor deliver a typical English lesson. My first reaction seeing my tutors in front of the classroom was something akin to having my mind blown and thinking that never in my life would I be able to deliver a lesson with so much logic and self-discipline. The key here is to take as many notes as possible because they will help you mirror the same skills when it is your turn to teach. During the second part of the day, the two groups attend input sessions – where the ins and outs of teaching are broken down into pieces and every component of a lesson is carefully dissected and examined.

Starting day two, you and your group members will take turns delivering a 45-minute lesson on various topics and based on different types of methodology. At some point, you might even have to prepare a joint-lesson with one of your colleagues, which is why it is very important to maintain a good relationship with your group and support one another. They are the closest friends you will have on the duration of the course. During one week, you will typically deliver two lessons but bear in mind that for each lesson you will have to write an LP (Lesson Plan), an LA (Language Analysis), devise, create and prepare your own materials, time yourself, rehearse at home and then possibly scratch everything and start again. It is a very time-consuming process and if you want to do it right, you’ll have to be extremely organized and be prepared to sleep as little as a few hours per night. 

When it is your turn to teach, your tutors will minutely interpret your lesson and write down everything – I mean everything – that you have done right or wrong. They will break down your lesson and – depending on the quality of your performance – will provide feedback on what there is to improve and congratulate you where you showed good understanding of their advice. After that, you will receive your new task and the cycle repeats itself. As the course progresses, your tutors’ expectations and the standards by which you are evaluated will also increase, so your work will also need to be tenfold.

I personally loved the “criticism” behind my lessons because it was the only thing that helped me become a better version of who I was during my previous lesson. Your tutors will make sure to deliver this feedback in an objective and supportive way, but it is also your duty not to take it personally and maintain an open-mind. Everything that takes place during the CELTA course – the teaching sessions in the morning, the feedback that you get afterwards and the input sessions in the evenings is done to your benefit. It is a joint effort directed at you. Everybody will try their best to help you improve your technique and you will feel extremely supported and encouraged. If you put in as much work as the people who created this course, I promise you will have a valuable experience.

The CELTA experience is something you can benefit from regardless of your age or where you find yourself in life and I highly recommend it to anybody willing to learn about teaching or improve their technique. I personally felt rewarded and much more confident in my own abilities after taking this course. Moreover, I was prepared to enter a classroom and look my students in the eye without feeling nervous or insecure. For this reason, I am forever grateful to everybody who contributed to this state of mind and I cannot recommend this course enough.

Gina Podaru – My Celta Journey

Hello, there! You may be wondering how taking a course can become a journey, right? Well, in the following lines I will describe my experience with the part-time CELTA course, so please bear with me☺.

It’s somewhere in November. I am scheduled to have the interview with Georgiana, one of the CELTA trainers, after I had previously submitted my application form. Nervousness level: really high. The Skype window pops up and it starts ringing. I’m trying not to lose my composure, I cast a glance at what was surrounding my computer (application form, notes, sticky notes, blank papers), a deep breath and I answer. Georgiana greeted me warmly, with a big smile on her face, telling me from the start there is nothing to worry about. Guess what? I was sure there was something to worry about. But, silly me, I was wrong. She explained every single step of the course and had an answer to questions I had not even thought of yet. By the end of the interview, I felt more relieved seeing how this person on the screen already inspires me to succeed before the course had even started. The interview came to an end after one hour or so, with me being enthusiastic about starting the course.

It’s January now. The 12th. The first day of the course. Heavy snow outside, complete dark at 5 in the morning, heart beating out of my chest. Great. Here’s a picture of my face before the course, a few steps away from the school.

Told you it was snowing. So, I take a few more steps, I enter the building, and there I find Georgiana and Nicoleta, the tutors. I had a very warm welcome, unlike the weather outside (sorry, it was really cold). I got my name tag and I was asked to go to a room, where I met my colleagues (such nice people <3). A few moments later, the tutors joined us to give us the official welcome to the part-time CELTA course. They were very detail-oriented, and explained everything in such a way that it didn’t seem scary anymore. We got our portfolios, where we would put all the materials to be used in the lessons, and then we got split into two groups: Upper and Pre-Intermediate. I started with the Upper-Intermediate level first. We were invited to the classroom, we met the students, and the tutors delivered their demo lessons. Before the lesson started, we were given the tutor’s LP and LA for the lesson (LP – lesson plan; LA – language analysis) and encouraged to take notes. Nicoleta started teaching and we were all amazed by her performance. Every single step was according to the plan, the instructions were so short, yet concise and effective, the time management was great, the students were giving all the answers, the TTT was really low, and the mood was great. OMG! So many great things she could do at the same time! After the jaw-dropping lesson, we had a feedback session and we discussed things that had happened during the class. In general, this feedback thingy is tricky because people take it personal. At the CELTA course, besides learning teaching related things, we also learnt how to give and how to take feedback. What I loved was that we didn’t feel criticized at all. Everything the tutors told us was meant to help us to improve our future lessons, and it was directed at the way the lesson was delivered. So, if there’s one thing to keep in mind about the feedback: it’s not you, it’s the lesson that is being discussed 😀.  We were also given the TP points for our first lesson and the tutors patiently explained what we had to do. We got plenty of help with everything we needed, we just had to ask.

 

The first lesson came. I had prepared every single day for it and I still had some doubts about it. Then, it happened. And I loved it. I guess that one of the most important elements in a lesson is the teacher’s mood because it sets the mood for the whole group of students. So, try to be enthusiastic about your lessons and things will turn out just fine. I know it did for me. After the lesson, we had the feedback session and I was repeating “It’s not about me, it’s about the lesson” over and over again in my head. But it’s really hard to detach yourself from your lesson, because, after all, it’s your creation, isn’t it? Well, it’s something you need to get used to because you’re doing yourself a favour by being open to others’ suggestions.

Lesson by lesson, I listened and I tried to apply the things I was told the things I liked in other people’s lessons. And, so, I started growing, and things became more natural. I acknowledged the importance of the paperwork behind the lessons and how much it helps. One particular aspect that changed my teaching experience was the anticipation of the difficulties the students might encounter. As a teacher, you are no longer taken by surprise because you have already anticipated things that may not go smoothly and you adapt your LP better.

In march, we changed the group of students and I met the Pre-Intermediates and Georgiana as a tutor. Again, we started with an amazing demo from the tutor, and, thus, we were able to understand this new level easier. Although they are still adults, there are many aspects that change, so you have to adapt.

Weeks flew by, and I woke up on 8th June, before my last lesson. And I was also the last in my group to teach. I just cannot find the right words to describe all the feelings that were inside me. I generally find it difficult to write or to talk about things I am really attached to, maybe that’s why this article took me a while to write. When the whole ride is amazing, I can’t just fit it into some words. And this is what CELTA meant to me: an amazing ride, the coolest rollercoaster I’ve been on in TeacherLand. So, whether you are a junior teacher, or you are carrying 20 years of experience behind you, give the course a chance. It is going to change your life!

Also, this is my face at the end of the course:

Cheers!