CELTA advice from Donna Markovitch

Donna Markovitch 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’ve been an EFL teacher since I did my CELTA at IH Budapest in April 2013 and I’ve been a teacher trainer since August 2019.

Did you have a different career before EFL?

I was previously a high school and middle school English literature, creative writing and film studies teacher in Adelaide, Australia.

What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?

That my trainees leave the course with a toolkit of ways to create a student-centred space where learners feel supported and motivated to learn and where real, meaningful communication between students is high. That they continue to apply the principles they learnt on the CELTA in their classrooms and that they focus on constantly improving and expanding their teaching practices.

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

I love getting to know my students and having them share about themselves and their experiences – rapport and personalisation are so important. Identifying gaps in my students’ language through task-based learning and real communication – finding my students’ learning edge – is also exciting for me. On the CELTA, this means supporting trainees to select and adapt content, materials and tasks by critically reflecting on their learners’ interests, prior knowledge and experiences and making these central to the classroom.

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

Listen to and follow your tutor’s advice. The Celta teaching approach may initially seem strange compared to more traditional teaching styles that you may be used to, but it works. Go to assisted lesson planning sessions having already looked at the material and with a number of ideas – run ideas by classmates in advance.

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

Learn as much as you can from more experienced teachers, through observations and any mentor-mentee programs that your school may offer. Attend as many conferences as you can to discover new teaching ideas. Engage consistently in professional conversations (sharing ideas & asking questions) and have fun in your teaching.