Claire Potter is a CELTA tutor at IH Seville and IH Malaga in Spain
How long were you an EFL teacher, and how long have you been a teacher trainer?
I worked as an EFL teacher for 9 years before becoming a teacher trainer, which I have done for 18 years.
Did you have a different career before EFL?
I worked in insurance, as a Civil servant and previously as an accounts clerk.
What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?
First and foremost, in completing the course they realise what a rewarding profession teaching can be. Secondly, that they find a position in a reputable school where they can continue to develop as teachers, whilst possibly experiencing a different country, a different culture, and a different language, ensuring their personal growth too.
When you were an EFL teacher what did you like most, and how do you bring that into the classroom for your trainees?
I loved the feeling of the ‘light bulb’ moment, when you could see the students processing and taking on board something, whether it was the use of a grammatical structure or the pronunciation of a difficult word or the comprehension of a difficult listening text. This helps me to encourage the trainees to be patient and to act as a facilitator, guiding students until they can recognise their own progress.
What advice would you give your trainees for successfully completing the course?
Work hard, do not panic if you do not understand everything immediately as there is a lot to take on board, listen carefully to your tutors and peers, and try to enjoy the teaching practice, getting to know your students well and planning lessons which will cater for their needs and interests.
What advice would you give your trainees for an interesting and rewarding career?
Enjoy it and grow with it; there are so many opportunities to experience different teaching contexts and different aspects of the profession – if you exploit it well it will never become boring and routine.