I have a secret and it’s a BIG one. So big that it may destroy my career but I’ve decided to share it before I am uncovered by the EFL press and unmasked as a fraud.
For underage, elderly or any readers with weak constitutions, look away now!
My secret is…..
I taught English BEFORE I had the CELTA!
There it’s out now, I feel liberated.
Why? How? What you may ask. Well, in my defence I started off doing 121 English tutoring at uni and then did a weekend EFL course which seemed to fulfill the ‘TEFL certificate’ for many schools. I actually got work in many places and also taught abroad.
Maybe back then (over 10 years ago) the CELTA was not the standard it is now or maybe smaller schools weren’t/aren’t bothered. The same still exists in some places.
Now that I think back I realise that perhaps what I was doing then wasn’t too bad and not that different to now. I used to do lots of talking and authentic materials, I don’t remember any coursebooks as places didn’t have them. They all said “use your own stuff” or “bring English magazines”. Schools seemed more interested about immersing students in real British materials and talking. Particularly the Italian trainee nuns (+2 boys) I taught in a fort (not kidding). They had a very grammar-driven English education so I was there to ‘activate’ their language. While in foreign summer camps, I was there to talk and encourage use of English. I also got into EAL support helping refugee children which consisted of supporting them with their class work and working with child psychologists, all in English.
All this meant that when I did do the CELTA I had to be completely rewired into drilling, eliciting, coursebooks and completing every Teaching Point. I think I was the only one on the course with teaching experience but it was not classed as REAL teaching experience without the CELTA. Yet, I was frequently asked to comment on things I’d done or how I had taught.
Now I tend not to do many of the CELTA methods religiously and like using authentic stuff. Yes, I think the CELTA was very useful for a language school job but working in other situations needs adaptation.
So, my career is over now. What shall I do next I wonder?
Do you think we really need or want the CELTA? Many commenters on this blog have pointed out that not having an EFL qualification and just being a native is enough to get decent hours? In fact, with the costs of a BA (4k+/yr)/MA (5/6k+)/CELTA (£1200+)/DELTA (2k+) you are looking at serious financial debt around your neck for decades to come and not to mention 5/6/7 years of your life gone.. So, if just being native is enough you can quit school at 18 and go off to make your fotune. If a BA is essential then do it in a country where education is free, like France or online. That would save you A LOT of money, you’d be a native and fluent in the language AND have a local qualification. All these would probably help you get a job.
Is pre-CELTA experience valid?
Should a degree be compulsory in order to do the CELTA?
Are other EFL teaching qualifications valid?
Could you make a career out of EFL with no EFL qualification at all?