While considering attending CELTA and then preparing for it, I found a dearth of information on how good, bad, or stressful the program is, but no information on what to expect beyond “lots of work” or “lots of stress.” With that in mind, here is a week-by-week guide of what is due, how to do it, and what to watch out for.
Why did I choose to do CELTA?
Because my MA in Education and years of professional teaching experience won’t get my foot in the door with the nicer English schools. They just want a TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) certificate, or better yet, a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certificate. CELTA is certified by the University of Cambridge and was the best investment I could make for a career as an English teacher living abroad.
After reading reviews from several sites, I decided to take the CELTA course at an International House school in Buenos Aires. My application included four pages of English grammar and usage questions which expanded to seven pages when I answered them.
Two days after turning in my application, I scheduled a 30-minute Skype interview with the course director. She gave me feedback on the English questions on my application and told me that I would need to correct my answers on a few questions and explain the corrections during the interview.
After another two days I had the Skype interview. It was thirty minutes long. The first fifteen minutes were about myself, how I handle stress, my experience teaching, and what role I take when working in small teams; the second was spent discussing my answers on the application. The next day I received an email saying I was accepted to the course.
That course was canceled due to low enrollment so I applied and interviewed for two more schools in Ecuador and Peru and was accepted to both, only to find that the courses would be delayed. I finally settled on a course in Bogota which would start two weeks after the interview.
A week later I found myself in Bogota, staying in an overpriced studio apartment near the school and knocked out with a fever. I spent a full day doing the precourse task, a grammar review and crash course on teaching styles which ballooned to over thirty pages after I filled it out. We never turned in the task or reviewed it in class.
Next I debated whether or not I should buy any of the suggested books for class. I decided not to. I’m glad I didn’t; they were all available for free online during the course.
I had heard nothing but how stressful and time consuming the course is so I rested the weekend before the course began.