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What's the best way to do CELTA for someone new to TEFL?

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  • Andrew
    Participant
    14 July, 2018 at 18:29
    • Total posts: 7

    Is it best to do CELTA at home before moving abroad, or take the qualification in the country where I will be teaching?

    My thinking is that if I do CELTA abroad I would be able to meet prospective employers face to face before qualifying. On the other hand this would seem to be the most expensive way of doing it, not having income for at least a month and having accommodation and bills to pay, not to mention the CELTA fee.

    If I do CELTA at home before going abroad, am I best advised to do it full time intensive (4 weeks), or part time (3 classes per week spread over 3-4 months)? I am trying to work out whether it would be realistic to fit it around a full time non-TEFL job. The part time option appeals to me from a financial point of view (I would only move to a country when I have a job and therefore income lined up). However I don’t know if people who do it that way can generally fit it around a busy work schedule. I have a job which involves responsibility and I also work at weekends – I don’t know if you need a lot of spare time to do CELTA part time even though it is only 2 evenings per week plus a morning each weekend.

    Some TEFL courses I think I could probably fit around my job, however CELTA seems like the kind of course that requires more dedication. Would be grateful if anyone can advise on this.

    dan
    Moderator
    16 July, 2018 at 12:18
    • Total posts: 770

    CELTA is a lot of work but worth it

    Hi Andrew

    It sounds like you’ve already done quite a lot of thinking on the subject, which is great – this type of decision deserves a lot of thought and research.

    My thinking is that if I do CELTA abroad I would be able to meet prospective employers face to face before qualifying.

    Quite probably, yes.

    On the other hand this would seem to be the most expensive way of doing it, not having income for at least a month and having accommodation and bills to pay, not to mention the CELTA fee.

    Also true.

    If I do CELTA at home before going abroad, am I best advised to do it full time intensive (4 weeks), or part time (3 classes per week spread over 3-4 months)? Some TEFL courses I think I could probably fit around my job, however CELTA seems like the kind of course that requires more dedication.

    You’re right that CELTA does require dedication and all of your spare time. It’s not something that you can absent-mindedly pick up for half an hour each evening with the TV on in the background.

    I did a part time CELTA, two days a week, and worked part time for the other three days. This left me evenings and weekends for CELTA work, all of which were completely taken up by it. It was hard work, and my job at the time was not at all demanding, so I didn’t have to bring work home with me or work weekends. It worked for me at the time because I couldn’t really afford to not be working for a month, and it just so happened that my local CELTA centre only offered a part time course anyway, so the choice was kind of taken out of my hands. If I had had a full time, demanding job that involved weekends (as you do) it would still have been possible, but I wouldn’t have been able to give the CELTA coursework the level of attention it needs and deserves.

    There was a disadvantage to my part time course as well – it almost gave me too much time – to plan lessons, write assignments, etc. On the intensive course you have to get the next lesson planned by the next day – you don’t have the luxury of five days before the next training day, so it trains you to plan lessons relatively quickly, which you need to do in a TEFL job, as opposed to spending 4 days planning one lesson, which is not even remotely realistic when you start teaching.

    I’ve seen teachers for whom doing a part time course and working a full time job has worked out fine. They were dedicated, prepared to forego their social life for a while, and probably found that the course came a bit more naturally to them than the average CELTA-taker. And I’ve seen others who found it too much and were unsuccessful on the course, or quit, or found a solution with their job half way through. It all depends on the person.

    If you’re planning on going abroad soon after the CELTA soon after the course, then you’d be quitting your job anyway, so that wouldn’t really be an issue for going for the intensive option. It might come down to whether or not you can afford to not work for 4 weeks…

    Hope that helps?

    Dan

    Andrew
    Participant
    24 July, 2018 at 19:01
    • Total posts: 7

    Thanks for your answer Dan, after reading your response and doing some other research I am now leaning towards the 4 week intensive option.

    If I was to go for the intensive option, are prospective teachers normally advised to do it in the country they intend to work in or should they do CELTA at home before securing work? Given that I am pretty certain if I do decide to teach abroad, it would be in Madrid.

    And out of interest, if I was to do the CELTA abroad does the intensive nature of the course cause problems with the practicalities of moving to a new country (getting paperwork sorted out, registering with authorities etc)?

    dan
    Moderator
    25 July, 2018 at 14:10
    • Total posts: 770

    CELTA at home and abroad both have their pros and cons

    If I was to go for the intensive option, are prospective teachers normally advised to do it in the country they intend to work in or should they do CELTA at home before securing work?

    Have a look at this article (question 5):

    https://www.eslbase.com/tefl/6-questions-to-ask-when-choosing-a-tefl-course

    And out of interest, if I was to do the CELTA abroad does the intensive nature of the course cause problems with the practicalities of moving to a new country (getting paperwork sorted out, registering with authorities etc)?

    A lot of the course providers will be able to advise you on this. If you’re an EU citizen and thinking of Madrid, then there is much less paperwork to think about anyway. You could go a few days before to sort out anything vital, or leave it all until just after the course, when you’ll have more time.

    Andrew
    Participant
    5 August, 2018 at 11:18
    • Total posts: 7

    Thanks again for your answer. Doing CELTA in Madrid seems like the best option in terms of making contacts etc.

    I’m just wondering how practical it is to work somewhere, say Madrid during the academic year, then work at a language school in the UK during the summer? Is this the done thing for teachers and if so does summer work in the UK generally fit in with work abroad during academic year? Is it straightforward to arrange summer work in the UK if a teacher is working abroad, or are you expected to fly back for interviews etc?

    I am just trying to get a picture of how a 12 month period of teaching English would work in practice, whether a teacher in their first year can realistically expect to sustain themselves financially, etc.

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