Like many CELTA centres, it was difficult to imagine that we would be running our CELTA course online. Amongst numerous advantages, one of the great things about an online course is that it opens the doors to the world. This has allowed people from many different countries to join us, each bringing with them different backgrounds, cultures and stories.
Cathy did our online CELTA from July – September 2021. She came to the course with many years of experience teaching primary aged children. In recent years this was in an International school in Myanmar. Cathy struck me as a person with a lot of dedication to her teaching role and concern for the children of Myanmar, who are suffering through the violence and political upheavals taking place there. Having been forced to leave Myanmar, she did the course with us from her home in regional Victoria in view of becoming more adept at helping these children not only improve their use of English, but enjoy the lessons. Cathy brought many strengths to the CELTA, she had great rapport, was thorough with planning and confident. However, the CELTA was a challenge in terms of learning to teach adults, learning to let go and let the students do tasks together. She had to learn not to explain everything, but lead the students to think and explore for themselves by asking precise probing questions. She learnt how to help students with pronunciation and understood how useful this was for the children of Myanmar. Cathy’s final lesson was very successful, she used the topic of geography, with great visuals of her home region to elicit and clarify some useful vocabulary, which gave the students meaningful practice talking about their own home regions.
In the midst of the final weeks of the CELTA, Cathy resumed her lessons with the children in Myanmar online via Zoom. She told me she was using more of the teaching techniques she had learnt on CELTA, resulting in more active engagement and enjoyment.
Syliva has left a lasting impression on me as her tutor because of her determination and love for teaching. Sylvia comes from Singapore but lives in Shanghai, where she is working as a supply teacher in the local schools. Her goal was to obtain a CELTA certificate to open up more teaching opportunities and better positions in Shanghai. Every one of Sylvia’s lessons was planned carefully with great attention given to ensure the lessons were interesting, with impressive visuals and well-designed tasks. Sylvia was often hard on herself and tended to think her teaching and lessons were not as good as they should have been, but to her credit, she was very open and thankful for feedback and implemented improvements bit by bit as we went through the course together. Towards the end of the course, Sylvia was called away to Singapore to visit her elderly parents. While travelling and quarantining in hotels, Sylvia joined us in Zoom and kept going. In spite of this stressful situation, Sylvia gave her best and ended the course strongly and can’t wait to receive the certificate from Cambridge.
Bernie is from the US and is based in Japan, where he has been teaching for a few years. He did the course with us on Zoom from Tokyo. He wanted a CELTA certificate to help him find better employment, but also to improve and refresh his teaching skills. Bernie was a lot of fun on the course and he naturally related to the students and showed confidence in the teaching role. The most challenging part of the course was learning to stop talking so much and allow the students to speak more. Bernie had formed many habits as an English teacher in Japan that needed changing to ensure that the students were able to take part fully and be able to grasp the language. Bernie improved greatly and was very open to the feedback his tutors and peers gave him, seeing the funny side of some of the blunders and noting these to address in the next lesson.
Upon completing the course, Bernie found a new teaching job at a university in Tokyo. Gaining a CELTA qualification has opened up this opportunity for Bernie and he is keen to encourage other teachers to undertake the course.