CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. I completed my CELTA course at Lexis English in Brisbane, Australia. In this post, I’ll share tips on the interview process, course workload, and my experience.
The CELTA Interview Process
So, you’ve decided to do a CELTA course. This means that you’ll be paying between $2,000 – $4,000 for a course that will hopefully end in a certificate. This certificate can open doors to teaching jobs around the world.
Depending on the institution, you can choose between an intensive full-time course or a more leisurely part-time course. Before handing over your money, find out what the interview process is like and if you are ready for it.
This is essentially a test to see what prior grammatical knowledge you have. The task also weeds out those who aren’t ready for the course and serves as a conversation piece during the interview.
– The pre-interview task isn’t just a grammar test. Instead, it helps you think about how you might teach certain grammar points and prepares you for the interview.
– You’re not expected to get 100% on the pre-interview task. Try your best and be honest, but also know that you might need to brush up on the tenses before you attempt it.
– The pre-interview is about 4 pages long, so make sure you give yourself enough time to complete it.
You’ve had your pre-interview task reviewed and you’ve landed an interview. Congrats! Now you’ll either do a face-to-face or Skype interview to secure your spot in the course.
The interview will touch on a few different things: your motivation for doing the CELTA course, previous teaching experience (not necessary, so don’t worry if you don’t have any), your pre-interview task, and (hopefully) more specific information on the course. The interview can take up to 90 minutes.
My interview experience
My interview began with a conversation about my application. I’d already had 5 years of experience teaching English to children in Spain and am a certified Spanish teacher. My interviewer said that I needed to be aware that if accepted into the course, I would have to be open to changing my teaching methods.
CELTA is a course for teaching adults. This was my biggest hurdle when taking the course because I had to drastically change my teaching methods. In the end, I learned a lot and now feel that I am a more versatile teacher.
Next, we talked about my motivations for taking the CELTA course briefly before going over the pre-interview task.
Now came the “difficult” part. The interviewer said that he’d had a chance to look at my task and said it was actually quite good. He went through the task with me, asking me to explain some of my answers (mostly to check to see if I was the one who actually did the test) and explained any answers that were either partially or completely incorrect.
You might be asked to explain in detail specific grammar points. After about 20 minutes, he said that he was satisfied with my work and offered me a spot in the part-time course.
Course Details and Pre-Course Task
At the end of the interview, the interviewer gave me more specific information on the course. Additionally, he said that I would receive a pre-course task in my e-mail.
While the task isn’t mandatory, do it. The task takes about 7-10 hours and you can work on it up until the course begins. It serves as a good introduction to the course, gets you thinking about teaching, and reviews some of the grammar that you should know well before the course begins.
A few days before the start of the course, we received the answers to the pre-course task to check our work. Another reason why I suggest doing the task is that the tutors collected it from us on the first day of the course!
Part-time CELTA course schedule
My part-time CELTA course ran for 10 weeks. We met every Saturday from 9 am-4:30 pm as a whole group. On Mondays and Wednesdays, from 5:15 pm-9:15 pm, we met in small groups with our tutor. We worked with one tutor for the first 5 weeks and a second tutor for the last 5 weeks.
Half of the students taught 40-minute lessons (1 lesson per person) on Mondays, and the other half taught on Wednesdays. Our students were members of the local community who signed up for “free English lessons.”
After the “teaching practice” lessons, we met for feedback from our tutors and went over our plans for the following week’s lesson.
CELTA is a lot of work. The tutors expect you to prepare and teach very thoroughly planned and documented lessons each week. You also need to fill out peer review forms, take in a lot of material during input sessions, and work on four long assignments.
If you have the option, I would recommend doing a part-time course. This allows for more time to process the new information from the input sessions as well as reflect on your teaching. If you are working at the same time as doing a CELTA course (like I was), you need to do the part-time course.
However, if you aren’t working, you are able to fully devote your time to focusing on CELTA and you work well under pressure, then the full-time course might be right for you.
Several candidates dropped out and never completed my part-time program due to missing input sessions, stress, and realizing that teaching wasn’t as “easy” as they had expected it to be. The drop out rate of full-time courses is even higher.
My advice for taking a CELTA course
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- Make sure you appear professional and focused at all times. The tutors are judging you from the moment the course begins until it finishes.
- Most courses send a list of recommended books – read these before you start the course. The most highly recommended books are: Learning Teaching by J Scrivener, The Practice of English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer, and 30 Language Teaching Methods by Scott Thornbury.
- Be prepared for CELTA to take over your life. It’s challenging and it’s a lot of work.
If you are seriously considering teaching adults, I highly recommend taking a CELTA course. It’s a fantastic credential to have. Before signing up for a CELTA course, make sure you have a solid understanding of English grammar. Additionally, look at your schedule and decide if a part-time or full-time course is a better fit.
For specific questions about my course or experience, please leave a comment below or write me a message.
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