The CELTA is a highly regarded and widely recognised TEFL qualification that covers the principles of effective teaching, covering a range of theory, techniques and practical experience. It is an essential investment for a TEFL teacher.
The course takes 120 hours in total, full time or part time study. The course can be either face-to-face or a combination of online and face-to-face. Teachers will get hands-on experience and will be required to teach for a total of six hours in addition to completing four written assignments.
The course is a significant commitment, taking four weeks to complete full-time, but it is also the most important investment a teacher can make early on in their TEFL career. Here are seven reasons why you should invest in a CELTA.
1. CELTA is the universal teaching certificate
For a career as a TEFL teacher you need three things: a highly proficient level of English (minimum C1), a degree and a TEFL certification – preferably the CELTA. The CELTA ensures teachers are trained before entering the classroom, benefitting teachers, schools and students.
There are multiple teaching certificates that you can study for in TEFL, but the CELTA is the most universally recognised and covers you for all TEFL teaching roles. It is the first thing an employer will look for on your CV and is internationally recognised meaning that it will provide you with teaching opportunities in quality schools all across the world.
2. Accredited trainers
A CELTA is not a cheap investment. There is the cost of the course and then also taking a month off work too. As such it is important to make sure that you are getting a quality course for your investment. CELTA courses are delivered by centres that are fully approved and accredited by Cambridge Assessment English ensuring a consistently high level of teacher training.
Teaching for the first time can be daunting, and with the CELTA you will be teaching from day one. That is one reason why employers rate the qualification. Teaching classes and being observed gives teachers necessary feedback and builds confidence. Feedback will not be critical; there is positive reinforcement to acknowledge what you are doing well, and then you will discuss room for improvement.
Whilst discussing potential improvements, teachers will be encouraged to identify these steps themselves and this will help with their own self-improvement, which is crucial as teachers have to be highly independent.
4. How to plan and teach a class
The fundamentals of teaching: what are your objectives for the class and how are you going to structure the lesson to achieve this aim, thereby giving your students value for money? How can you teach pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary?
CELTA courses require teachers to plan lessons from scratch, rather than just perform the instructions in the teacher’s book, and this is essential training. You will not be taught much about English grammar during the CELTA, you will learn how to teach.
You will learn how to construct a lesson plan on anything and using a wide range of materials – academic texts, newspapers, videos, and realia. Lesson planning is time consuming for new teachers. In fact, it is often far more challenging and frustrating than when you are in the classroom. The CELTA guidance for lesson plans is essential for understanding this part of a teacher’s job.
5. Teaching is rewarding
Teaching is a unique job. You work with people rather than behind a screen and your work will have a significant impact upon your students. There is a real responsibility to your pupils to deliver excellent lessons, support their learning, and help them do their best to achieve their goals. This could be to pass their Cambridge Exams in order to get better jobs, secure university places abroad, or to keep up at school.
Many CELTA graduates will end up teaching young learners. Teaching young leaners can be immense fun and rewarding to see their language skills develop but it will only happen if a teacher has good classroom management. Making sure your classroom is a safe environment where the children and students feel at ease is fundamental to learning.
Students will expect teachers to be trained and any teacher who wants to run useful and rewarding classes should invest in their training early on to make the best of their own skills. In TEFL, the best way to do this is through the CELTA.
6. Career prospects
Within TEFL, there are various career paths down the line. In addition to teaching there is publishing, teacher training, marketing, management, and so on. Both in the UK and abroad.
To be a teacher and stand up in front of a class means you develops key skills, such as planning, people management, project management, public speaking, and even performance. These skills can be transferable to other roles in the future making TEFL a good stepping stone to other opportunities.
To really develop your skills, it helps to first get a CELTA qualification, then a job at a good school which offers training and support (such as an IH school) to let your skills flourish.
7. Life experience
The opportunity to work abroad and experience another culture whilst making a living is a special opportunity not available to everyone. Once you have your CELTA, you can work as an English teacher anywhere where your passport permits. You can travel to big multicultural cities where you might have classes of mixed language learners or rural villages where you may have classes full of people all born in the same village. You can choose a location based upon the language you would like to learn, culture you’d like to experience, or food you want to eat.
To embark on a career in TEFL teaching the CELTA course is an essential early step to prepare you as a teacher and maximise your chances of securing your desired job.