Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CELTA-- Mission: Accomplished!

This past Saturday the 27Th of June was my final CELTA class at Solihull College and apparently I have passed. While I was told nothing explicitly that I had passed it is apparent from the Cambridge University class manifesto that if I was going to fail I would have been told before the three quarter point of the class and given a one-to-one tutorial or something.

Apparently I will receive some certificate from Solihull College in the mail in the coming couple weeks and then the entire classes files get sent to Cambridge University where they are reviewed and then held for 1 entire year. But after they are initially reviewed and the assessors agree with our instructors marks then an official Cambridge University CELTA certificate is sent to us.

So... Do I think the class was worth it?

Yes, absolutely. I have some teaching experience behind me already but a few techniques and methods that are drilled into you are actually quite useful. They are things that you look at and say, 'Why didn't I think of that before?' type things. I imagine that for people who have no classroom experience it would be even more beneficial.

I found the class at Solihull College to be well run and the instructors very approachable and knowledgable. The building was amazing and the classrooms have top of the line equipment that made a trainee-teacher's life all the much easier.

One of the things I personally found the hardest to deal with was the difference in the instructors. They each had their own quirks; likes and dislikes. What one instructor would love another would hate and while it probably had little impact overall whether you passed or failed a training teaching lesson it was hard to take sometimes hearing somebody shoot down what the other praised. But of course out in the real world of teaching you are bound to have directors or educational coordinators who like and dislike different methods and approaches in teaching.

I never found the work for the class to be to difficult just very time consuming and cumbersome. Unless you are an absolute grammar wizz you will find yourself knee deep in a pile of teaching and grammar reference books. Searching through them to refresh yourself with what a defining and non-defining clause is the night before you are due to teach and writing out your lesson plan is a burden on your time.

Out of our class of 12 we had 2 drop out and only ended with 10 people. I am pretty sure all of them graduated minus one who may or may not have passed the course.

The one thing I found very difficult about the course was the 2 lengthy breaks we had. We had our first class at the end of March 09 and then had almost 3 weeks off because of the Easter break before coming back again for the 2nd class. We also had the half-term break in May 09 and I really found these to be inhibitive to my completing the course. I really didn't want to go back after the breaks but I am glad that I did.

If I was to make a suggestion for the course it would be to show either a blank certificate or perhaps the instructors certificate of CELTA to the class at some point between the halfway and three quarter mark of the class. I think it would be a great motivator and a reminder to the students for what they are there for.

I met a few people that I will definitely keep in contact with in my class and I am extremely glad that I did to when I did. Apparently the July/August intensive CELTA course at Solihull College has been cancelled because of one of the instructor's children coming down with swine flu!!

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