Advantages of Getting a CELTA For Teaching English
Feb 24, 2010 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (T 3968 Views
When I first thought about teaching English in a foreign country many of my friends said to me I shouldn't bother getting a certificate to teach, most private students don't ask to see it, and getting a job in an academy restricts your ability to travel.
Well I disregarded their advice and applied for a place on a CELTA course, I spent a lot of time preparing for the course, and then found myself working 80 hours a week for weeks to get my CELTA. The course was tough and at the time I really didn't think I'd pass, in fact I passed but certainly didn't impress my tutors that I'd make a fantastic teacher.
Hindsight three years later though makes me appreciate the effort I put in, and now I really understand why having a CELTA is so useful. Before I barely knew more than what a noun or adjective was, and if you'd asked me I couldn't have explained the difference between a countable or non-countable noun.
In the English speaking world our education systems don't prepare us for learning languages, and that creates problems for us if we want to teach our own language. It's true that English is the world language, in much the same way that French or Latin were world languages in their day, but the advantage we have as native speakers is quickly eroded if we don't know how our language is constructed.
The best thing that happened to me was getting to my CELTA course and discovering that my native abilities to speak advanced English, and my writing skills which were better than the average, didn't help me much when it came to teaching English. This was a positive benefit because it has made me realise how wonderful the English language is, and also how stupid our spelling and pronunciation is.
I teach English to native Spanish, German, French, and Chinese speakers; and if I thought learning German or Spanish was hard, it's nothing compared to the frustration my students feel learning English, the illogical language as some of them call it.
The CELTA certificate helped me understand parts of speech, verb conjugations, grammar in general, and this makes me more competent to teach. Yes I can correct a student when they make a mistake, nine times out of ten they don't ask me why English is the way it is, but when they do I now know how to answer them. If only my tutors could see how much I learned, I'm sure they'd be proud.