To CELTA or not to CELTA?

It’s an often asked question and I’m getting bored of answering it, so here’s absolutely my last word on the matter*

To CELTA or not to CELTA?- The “final” word

 I have been a trainer on 4 week certificate in teaching english to adults courses (similar to CELTA) where some of the trainees already had teaching experience before they come on the course but they decided it was still worth the money to work in better schools and/ or work legally (in Turkey, for example, you need a teaching qualification to get a visa).

All said teachers had got into very bad habits teaching without having training first, and most of them looked like they were going to fail the teaching practice part of the course in the first two or three weeks. Most finally came through quite well, but with on average with a range of marks only slightly higher than people with no teaching experience at all (who also often had the handicap of less life experience to help them). Certainly all the teachers would have been better at their jobs having done the Certificate first and then taught for a year or two rather than visa versa- without a single exception.

Ditto people with Primary school teaching experience and MAs in TESOL with no teaching experience

1) There are jobs you can get without a TEFL Certificate in most countries, but there are more and better ones you can get with one
2)You will do your job better if you get training first, and it will also make your job easier on you
3) If you put off training until later, you will not get as full benefit from it as you could- quite apart from the wasted years of teaching not as well as you could have before that you get round to doing it. Teaching before qualifications will also not count towards the teaching experience that is added up to decide pay rises, becoming an EFL examiner, entering the DELTA/ MA etc.
4) It is expensive, and schools do become training centres partly for financial reasons, but you will soon get your money back if you choose your post-CELTA job carefully and/ or when you start getting promoted. Anyway, it’s much cheaper than any kind of IT, NLP or business training.
5) If you really think it’s such a great money making scam you will need a CELTA to become a CELTA trainer, and so get in on the game yourself


*(Ha, I’ll be lucky! Especially with the bits I sneaked in in the middle bit…)

This entry was posted in Academic writing, Cambridge ESOL, CELTA, links, MA TESOL, Teacher training, Teaching English in Turkey, TEFL, TEFL certificate, TEFL qualifications, Working conditions. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To CELTA or not to CELTA?

  1. Katie says:

    Good points – I started with a CELTA and I’m glad I did. Aside from the fact that I can’t imagine just getting up and teaching a class without that training, I think it would be much more difficult to do a tefl course after you’ve already had some experience teaching. It’s hard enough to get (albeit constructive) criticism on your performance when you can fall back on “Ok, I’m a new teacher, I didn’t know…”

  2. Alex Case says:

    Good point, that is probably why it takes such people 3 weeks or even more to catch up rather than than just one or two teaching practice sessions- that and ingrained habits.

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