5: The end of the CELTA: What now?

After four and a half weeks of pressure and hard-work, I have finished the CELTA course and all I have is a little piece of paper to prove it! Of the thirteen people who completed the course, all passed successfully. Without sounding like a CELTA salesman, the course for me was enjoyable, rewarding, and extremely worthwhile.

On the final day of the course we discussed our experience of the course as a group. Amongst very positive feedback about the extremely high standard of teaching (at the Manchester Academy) and how much we had all learned in such a short time, were some rather interesting moments...

The most embarrassing moment came when one trainee teacher was in the middle of writing an anagram of ‘problem’ on the whiteboard. While doing this she turned to address the class and noticed the English observers giggling in the corner. When she looked at the whiteboard she realised why, it was clean but for her name, and ‘ROMP’ written in large capital letters!

The proudest moment for the group was being able to recognise and differentiate between ‘practice’, the noun and the verb ‘to practise’ after four weeks of consistantly getting it wrong.

The stickiest moment involved a tape recorder. Having spent her lunchtime cueing up the tape, one of the trainee teachers confidently approached the tape player to begin a listening exercise. To her horror she discovered her teaching partner had (unbeknown to her) reset the counter and fast forwarded the tape! The class sat in silence for 10 minutes while she found her cue!

The funniest moment came when a trainee teacher was doing a lesson on ‘how times change’ and explaining how women tend to get married much later in life than they used to. Attempting to highlight her point she asked the class ‘Have I been left on the shelf because I am unmarried at 21?’ One student answered with aplomb ‘yes, you are just like an old tin of food!!’

The most important thing is not that you enjoy the CELTA, but that it serves its function, and allows you not only to get a job teaching English as a foreign language, but also ensures you are ready and able to fulfil this role proffessionally and to a decent standard. To go through this gruelling four weeks and find yourself unemployed would be an atrocity!

After searching the internet for a week I have managed to land a position at King’s College, Bangkok and start in two weeks. Six weeks ago I had no idea how to stand before a class of foreign students and conduct a lesson, now I have a 12 month posting in Thailand teaching 28 hours a week!

I expect the culture shock to be significant on arrival in Bangkok; it will be a bit different to Cumbria! All reports I have heard of Kings College are favourable and the cost of living will be a lot lower than here. I will continue to write “Confessins of an English Teacher” during my time in Thailand and record (warts ‘n’ all) the transition from TEFL trainee to EFL teacher!


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