Gregor Kalinowski is a CELTA tutor at IH Prague in the Czech Republic
How long were you an EFL teacher, and how long have you been a teacher trainer?
5 year’s experience prior to teaching CELTA, then about 10 years of teaching CELTA on a part-time basis.
Did you have a different career before EFL?
I was in academia.
What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?
Depends on their level of experience. For those new to teaching, I would hope they end the course with the tools to give them confidence that what they do in class is of benefit to their students. For experienced teachers the CELTA should provide a sustained opportunity to evaluate and critique their previous teaching practice.
When you were an EFL teacher what did you like most, and how do you bring that into the classroom for your trainees?
I like surprising students, at least keeping them on their toes, keeping challenge levels high and the focus on dealing with the challenges on the students. This requires flexibility and constant experimentation in lesson planning – each lesson is a kind of problem that requires its own solution. That, for me, is what is most rewarding about teaching, but everyone is different. I think my priorities come across in my emphasis on adapting materials and personalisation, but I encourage trainees to develop in line with their own strengths and interests, insofar as these are conducive to effective teaching.
What advice would you give your trainees for successfully completing the course?
It’s a month – embrace it and its challenges, and enjoy the close cooperation with your peers. It will be over before you know it, and then (believe it or not) you’ll miss it.