CELTA advice from Daniel Foyster

Daniel Foyster is a trainer with IH Budapest in Hungary

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

I was an EFL teacher for five years and assistant director of studies for two years before becoming a teacher trainer in September 2019.

Did you have a different career before EFL?

Yes - I used to do furniture finishing restoration and sales in the south of England where I’m from originally.

What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?

It will depend on the individual trainee. For example, some may already have teaching experience and be a strong candidate on the course, therefore I want to ensure that they can maximise their full potential. On the other hand some candidates come with no experience whatsoever and can be overwhelmed and struggle to get to grips with the methodology, techniques etc. Here I would hope to get them to a point where by the end of the course they feel more confident and able to plan and deliver effective lessons. Finally, I hope that all my trainees come away from it feeling a clear sense of progression and development and that they feel it was a beneficial learning experience for them.

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

If I have time, I like being creative with situations, stories etc. and I use this to create contexts for conveying language in the classroom. I especially like the meaningful interaction that can be had with the students in the classroom; you can gain a real insight into the culture of that country that you simply couldn’t as a tourist. In the classroom this means that there is a knowledge gap that can be exploited for meaningful communication and language practice, especially in multilingual classes. I try to show this with my trainees in input sessions on the CELTA, to model how good student rapport isn’t just about being friendly, it requires showing a genuine interest in them as a teacher, and encouraging them to do the same with each other, and that our role is one of support and guidance.

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

To always be open and responsive to the feedback they receive for their assessed lessons from both their tutor’s and peers’ as this is key to demonstrating consistent progression as the course progresses. Also, trainees should make sure they can commit to the course fully during that month and go into it with a clear mind because it can be stressful and demanding. Finally, try to enjoy it because most trainees despite the stress ultimately find the CELTA  rewarding and worthwhile.

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

Try not to limit yourself too much to one class type / context as this can lead to stagnation. At the beginning of my career I always tried to avoid business English but now I find it one of the most rewarding and enjoyable to teach. Try to make sure you work for an institution that offers further possibilities for training and professional development to help you achieve whatever goals you may have in your teaching. Finally, while the salary isn’t often great in this industry it does offer numerous opportunities to work in other countries and experience different cultures, so take advantage of that if it interests you.