CELTA advice from Carmel Hickey

Carmel Hickey is a CELTA tutor at IH Dublin in Ireland


How long were you an EFL teacher, and how long have you been a teacher trainer?

I have been teaching English as a Foreign Language since 1997 and trained as a CELTA tutor in 2006 - so 22 years in total in ELT and training for the past 13 years.

Did you have a different career before EFL?

Following my university degree, I trained as a secondary school teacher and taught a wide variety of different subjects in the year after I qualified.

What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?

I hope that the course gives trainees the opportunity to meet and work successfully with students of all levels and from a variety if different backgrounds as this is really the joy of working in this context.  I know that CELTA gives them the skills that they need to do this successfully.

When you were an EFL teacher what did you like most, and how do you bring that into the classroom for your trainees?

As a teacher, I really enjoy trying to bring as much of the real world into the classroom as much as possible by using authentic materials, survey and questionnaire tasks as well as culture focused lessons and excursions. 

As a trainer I try to encourage trainees on the CELTA course to select/ adapt real life tasks, to bring themselves and their culture to their classroom practice and as much as possible to really try to consider the lesson from their learners’ perspective so that they can plan and teach lessons that will be meaningful, not just in terms of language or skills development but also as a communicative experience overall.

What advice would you give your trainees for successfully completing the course?

Plan your time carefully and make sure you allow enough time to really plan your lessons: this will give you confidence and security in the classroom; really focus on feedback from your tutors and your peers as this will help you improve from lesson to lesson.

What advice would you give your trainees for an interesting and rewarding career?

Even if you hope to use you CELTA in your home country, do try to travel a little and to teach English in another context: living in a country where you do not speak the language will give you an empathy for your students that will stand to you for your career. It is also a useful way of meeting professionals with different ideas and perspectives that can really help you develop your own practice. English Language Teaching opens the world to you – go explore!