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Is the CELTA course just for new teachers?

Teacher training and Development

Is the CELTA course just for new teachers?

When the Cambridge CELTA was first created, it was intended as a pre-service course but experience has shown that it is a perfect course for the novice teacher, yes,  but it is also a great course even if you are an experienced teacher who has not had the opportunity to follow a proper training programme.
Here are some quotes from recent course evaluations taken from this page where you can  all 60+ evaluations of our courses.
I have picked some teachers who came to us with considerable teaching experience – I invite you to read the rest of the evaluations if interested.
Often, it is the more experienced teacher who has a lot of trouble adjusting into the discipline and rigour of a course such as the CELTA – not because they cannot process or use the input and tutor advice, but because they have got used to certain ways of doing things in class and, quite often, these habits are very difficult to break.


Vassiliki Mantzaris

Vassiliki was a highly experienced teacher when she decided to register on one of our CELTA courses but she was able to adjust very quickly and allowed herself to be open and accepting of new ideas. She is a bilingual teacher with an English mum and Greek dad who is married and lives in Patras. She said:
” It was a wonderful experience for me. I feel that it has really helped me grow as a teacher and made me want to continue growing and becoming better.”
V. Mantzaris, CELTA student, 15 Apr 2015
Vassiliki returned to Patras where she is pursuing a very successful career in what she describes as a ‘great language school’, the Stamatakis School of Foreign Languages. when asked if she found her course useful, she said I still think about the course every single day, as an experience and as a reminder in my daily lesson preparation”


Yusef Turray in action

Yusef was already an experienced teacher from Africa. At the time of his CELTA course, he was teaching in a college in Saudi Arabia. It was great to see him develop new skills and techniques but at the same time retain his great gift for story telling which comes from his heritage. 
The CELTA is not a leveller and does not aim to produce teachers who are replicas of their tutors or behave like copies of British born and bred teachers. It is a great course which allows teachers to develop their special gifts and to adjust their teaching to their particular context and culture.
“The course is an eye-opener and a stepping stone to professionalism in the field of teaching. One won’t regret doing such a course that broadens your chances of excellence.”

Y. Turray, CELTA student, 13 Apr 2015

Yusef continues a great career as an EFL teacher in Saudi Arabia 


“This course is really tough but it really prepares you with a good foundation to start teaching. I’m currently preparing to give my professional exams for my teaching license in the United States and the knowledge from this course is helping me in this area too. Well worth the money and your temporary stress!”

M. Politis, CELTA student, 15 Apr 2015

As a result of the course, Michelle found a teaching job at the American Community Schools and later worked hard and got her teaching licence for the  US. Michelle was a typical example of someone who worked a little bit on the side as a teacher but, in her own words, ‘without really knowing what she was doing”!!!! (I think we have all been there at one or another time in our lives!!!! 

Although she finished with a top grade, it took Michelle almost half the course to get that “Aha!” moment but she did and produced some outstanding lessons in the second half of her course. Sometimes it takes a while to get out of firmly entrenched habits, but the moment when one ‘sees’ is wonderful to watch. 

You can see Michelle in our advert and watch a minute from one of her lessons on the CELTA course.
Here she is in one of her teaching practices –  you can see what a great teacher she is even in one minute! 🙂


Our last example is a very experienced and well trained teacher who came from a frontistirion experience of teaching English but who had a degree in teaching French as a Foreign Language!!!! Lina was a prime example of someone who made the most out of her course. 

“This course gave me the opportunity to improve my teaching skills and to be able to work abroad which was an unforgettable experience. The tutors were all very helpful and of a high level of professionalism.”   G. Sapounadelli 2013

Lina later became one of the teacher/managers & recruiters for EF English First Schools in the UK.  Here is a great video she made for a lesson – you can download her lesson plan and wonderful materials and view the video she created below

Lina TP 8 Lesson Plan with Xtranormal (lesson plan and materials)
So what are you waiting for? Life is too short to wait to become a good teacher in 5 or 10 years’ time.
As a novice teacher of English, I spent a full academic year working without having received any training – the reasons are of no interest and they are similar to what anyone in the same position might say.
But that year still burns my mind with the guilt of all the things I now know I was doing wrong.
As Costas Gavrielatos says in his paper on “Standards and Development in ELT” (2002) 

Teachers,  however, as providers of a paid service, are fully accountable for the content and process of teaching, and at least partly accountable for its outcome. This is where the analogy breaks down. As a learner client, I’m not concerned with what my teachers’ level will be in a few years; I’m concerned with what it is now.

Gavrielatos, C, 2002, Standards and Developments in ELT, ELT News 165, November 2002, p. 11

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4 Responses

  1. punster30 says:

    It’s nice to hear that other teachers took the CELTA after gaining experience. I did a CELTA equivalent back in 2006 and worked at a few summer schools in England, without having a clue what I was doing as well! Then I taught in Korea for a couple of years, gained some classroom confidence and took the CELTA proper at IH Budapest. That set me up for working back in the UK and eventually with the British Council. One of my tutors on the CELTA said that sometimes he encountered experienced yet unqualified teachers taking the CELTA that found the course very hard. Sometimes they approached the course with a feeling that they knew about most of what was covered already, only to find that the methods they’d been using were very different to those promoted on the CELTA. This meant they had to rethink their own approach, which can be tough if you get set in your ways! Anyway, I’m glad that others took so much from the course too! Nice post, cheers.

  2. This replicates my own experience of my initial training course but I must admit it wasn’t as good a course as most good centres deliver CELTA courses these days. But you are right, of course, in that different people have different learning patterns.
    Your tutor is right – we, too, have issues with a number of candidates who come in thinking that it would be plain sailing and find the course even more challenging (due to their resistance to change mostly) than even new teachers.
    Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. I also remember myself applying for the CELTA course with an awful attitude of the what-is-that-I-will-learn-in-a-month-that-I-don’t-know kind. However, this is what helped me the most: the fact that I questioned my own teaching practice – well, my tutors did this for me at first and then they showed me how to do so myself.
    It seems to me that this is what made me value reflection. For an inexperienced teacher, a training course like the CELTA might seem like a this-is-how-you-have-to-do-it course but for the experienced one the course is a real eye-opener. (Well, I had the best tutors ever so… :-P) For me, every teacher should go through the CELTA regardless of their experience.
    Undoubtedly, the CELTA was the most intense educational experience I have ever had. (Am saying this baring in mind that I cannot recall my Delta days.. I was on auto-pilot mode.. te he he)

    • This was but a short stint only due to your youth 🙂
      You overcame those issues so fast we were all astonished at the change – and have been developing since, as one should, indeed!
      I have written this elsewhere too “The end of the CELTA is only the beginning of one’s professional development”

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