The legends are true: CELTA is seriously hard work, but it can be a life changing experience if you set about it right. As Edinburgh Language Centre prepares to welcome our biggest-ever group of trainees, Rob (Edinburgh's Senior Teacher Trainer) offers his top tips for passing the CELTA with your sanity intact – and having a good time while you do it.
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Prepare before you start
Do the pre-course task. No excuses – do it! If you can, read at least a couple of the recommended books; and collect lots of pictures of your friends and family so you’ll still remember what they look like at the end of the course.
Clear your schedule
Be ready to spend your evenings and weekends working. Poetry class/the gym/beer (delete as applicable) will still be there in a few weeks’ time.
Love your students
English language classes are full of fascinating, fun-loving, warm-hearted characters – and if they come for CELTA teaching practice, it’s because they want to see you succeed.
Stock up on tissues
The teacher’s friend! You can mop up your seventh coffee before it ruins your assignment, make the whiteboard extra-shiny clean – and occasionally, proffer them to comfort your over-tired CELTA buddies.
Use what you learn
Right away is the best time, as it’s still fresh in your mind from the workshop. Prepare your lesson with your notes handy, and ask yourself, “how can I use this in my lesson?”
No, really – there’s no time to catch up if you pull an all-nighter and get into sleep debt, so you’ll be in zombie mode all week. Plan ahead, start early, and do your assignments at the weekends.
You might want to reward students, or try to bribe tutors (this is of course impossible). However, you may well decide to scoff most of them yourself while recovering from the inevitable off-day in class.
Be there for each other
Even if you prefer to study at home, spend some extra time working at the school each day. Be there for your CELTA comrades – you’ll need support yourself sooner or later, and you could make friends for life.
Scared? You should be! But if you’ve been accepted, that means you CAN do this, and a new career in teaching is waiting for you. Seize the day: Carpe CELTA!