In this great guest post, Nicky Salmon offers some really useful tips for how to get into English language teaching. Nicky is a CELTA trainer, and will be happy to answer any of your questions or comments on this post.
The big decisions.
You have decided that you’d like to teach English to speakers of other languages. Possibly you would like to travel and teach in other countries. What next?
Step 1. Choose a course.
If you don’t already have a teaching qualification, don’t worry. There are a number of excellent Pre-Service teaching qualifications to choose from. You need a minimum of two A2 level passes or equivalent.
Choose from well-known and well-established providers.
Make sure the course you choose has at least 6 hours of face-to-face teaching practice where you teach real students.
You can’t do a course without getting some hands on experience! Cambridge and Trinity courses will give you this – even the on-line options have a face-to-face element.
Make sure the course you choose has at least 120 contact hours.
Trinity has 130 and Cambridge 120. This means the hours of directed study, input sessions and feedback from your trainers.
Step 2. Choose the WAY you do the course.
There are a few basic questions to ask yourself and the most important is probably – ‘How much time do I have?’
There are 3 options:
–intensive option. This is usually 5 days a week for 4 weeks but could be 4 days over 5 weeks in some centres. It’s a good option if you have limited time.
–part-time. This could be two evenings a week over 3 months. It depends on the centre. It’s a good option of you are working.
–on-line. This is a ‘blended’ option. You view input and post your assignments online but you attend a centre for teaching practice and feedback from your tutors. This suits people who are working and have other commitments.
Step 3: Choose WHERE to do the course.
The web sites will show you all the colleges and schools worldwide.
If you don’t live near a centre, remember you will need to find accommodation to avoid long journeys every day. This might be a reason for you to choose the on-line option.
What about doing a course abroad? Is that a good idea?
-You learn about the teaching possibilities in your chosen country and you are in a good position to find work after the course.
-You experience the challenges of teaching students in their first language environment.
-You will be away from the demands of home and family and free to focus on the course.
-you may be doing the course in an interesting country that you would like to explore, but you won’t have any time to do that!
-you will need to budget for accommodation and travel to the country.
Step 4: Preparing yourself for the course.
Grammar: unless you are already confident and knowledgeable, make sure you spend time learning about the English language and its grammar before you do a CELTA or Trinity TESOL.
1.You just won’t have the time on your course to learn about grammar! This isn’t the point of a CELTA or Trinity TESOL.
2.You will have to teach lessons to students which will involve aspects of grammar. This will probably happen from day 2 of your course.
3.Course assignments will focus on your ability to research and analyse grammar. It is very stressful if you have to resubmit assignments because of your grammar knowledge.
Complete a short, online course to give you the KNOWLEDGE! There are some really good, inexpensive online courses.
I recommend: One of the best is provided by a CELTA trainer and materials writer, Jo Gakonga. Jo also provides a range of webinars for CELTA trainees and lots of advice for practising teachers: http://www.elt-training.com/
Cactus also provide a good online course: http://www.cactustefl.com/ela-online-course/
There is also a pre-CELTA/Trinity grammar course available at http://moodle.train-to-tefl.com/
Step 5: Clear the decks.
Make sure you have no other demands on your time or mental energy.
-no other courses to complete.
-clear your commitments.
-ask family to support you.
-don’t do a course if you have any hospital appointments or medical treatment booked.
Remember that life happens, so if you get ill on your course or have some unexpected family commitments, SPEAK to your trainers as quickly as possible. They will be supportive and together you can work out a plan to meet your course commitments.
About the author:
I have been teaching and training for over 25 years. I have worked in secondary schools, further education colleges, private colleges and universities both in the UK and abroad. My training experience is mainly with Cambridge CELTA but I have also worked on Trinity TESOL , Cambridge ICELT and delivered a range of in-service courses to practicing teachers.
I have a special interest in supporting teacher reflection and more recently, an interest in writing for educational publications and blogs. I’m really looking forward to sharing ideas through this blog and learning more about what teachers are interested in.