How to survive a CELTA course

In her second guest post, Nicky Salmon offers some useful tips for surviving an intensive 4-week CELTA training course.

The title might sound a bit dramatic, but a typical course is very intensive, especially if you have chosen the 4-week option.

Here are a few pieces of advice from past trainees and trainers. We ask trainees to write advice in the back of their portfolios for the next group. Below are some of their suggestions.

Advice from past trainees:

1. Eat and drink regularly. Don’t drink too much coffee or those energy drinks. It just makes you more nervous. Make time for lunch.

2.Make sure you have part of one day off at the weekend. You need to relax and do something else, even if it’s only for a few hours.survive 1

3.Spend 15-20 mins each day organising your file and all the paper you get.

4.Swap phone numbers and email addresses with your Teaching Practice (TP) team on the first day. They are your new family.

5.Read the feedback you get on a teaching practice lesson before you teach the next one.

6.Save everything on Dropbox and email lesson plans and materials to yourself. If there is a computer problem at your centre, the stress is enormous if you have to rewrite things just before you have to teach them.

7.Don’t be afraid of feedback to and from trainee colleagues after TP. It’s meant to be constructive.

8.Make sure you have a good night’s sleep on Sundays.

Advice from trainers:

1.If you have a medical or family emergency, make sure to talk to your trainer as early as possible. Together you will be able to work out any extensions you might need.

2.Buy a file for your course paperwork and spend a little time every day getting your handouts in order.survive 2

Maybe use these headings: Methodology, Skills, Language Awareness, Teaching Practice.

3.Make sure you have clothes suitable for teaching students in a classroom situation. You need to look like a professional. Find out from the school whether it’s OK to wear jeans, for example.

4.Make time for food and drink in the day. You might not have time to leave the building so bring what you need.

5.Invest in a good teacher grammar book before the course. Your trainers will give you a list to choose from.

6.Get to know the other trainees in your TP group.

Image rights: panetwork.the-citypa.com

About the author:

Inicky salmon 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.

Categories: CELTA tips, General

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7 replies

  1. Easy! You just have to take the couworse in a non English speaking country and have non native speaker peers. That assures a 100% for you to pass the CELTA even with high marks.

    I’m saying this because I took the CELTA in Mexico and it was like that.



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