Monday, 27 January 2014


Dear all

Welcome to the CELTA course. I hope you all really enjoy the course. Please find below a letter from a previous trainee giving you some advice on how to survive!

Dear CELTA student,


As you embark on what could be a life –changing course, let me offer you some practical tips that may help you through the next 12 weeks.


I say “life-changing” because it has changed mine. 3 months ago I had certain preconceptions about what the course might entail. However, it was not how I imagined it to be at all!

I am sure you have a few expectations yourself but your goal is hopefully to pass the course and become a qualified CELTA teacher.

If you think the course is intensive- you are right. If you believe you have to work hard, plan and read lots, you are correct!

If you think you have to do a lot of research and treat your colleagues as part of a team, then you are half way there already…however, I found that the guidance and support I received from my tutors were amazing as well as support from fellow students on the course.


I was worried about not having any previous teaching experience before starting the CELTA, but I needn’t have worried. Everything you need to equip yourself with the skills, methodologies and techniques to teach English language to adults is provided, including the classes that you will teach.

The course is very practical in content. Initially, it was a surreal experience being transformed from being a student to a teacher standing in front of a class. However week-by-week the course enables you to learn and improve techniques with confidence.

Discipline is very important -I needed to make sure my portfolio and all the teaching practice lessons were in order- this not only helps the tutors but it helped me assess my strengths and weaknesses and to also remember to be consistent in my strengths.


I also listened and took notes of comments and evaluations that my peers and tutors made with regards to my progress and lessons.


Time keeping and 100% attendance is crucial on such an intensive course. Although intensive, I found the classes very interesting and inspiring. Every week I came away with lots of recommended reading, handouts and notes. I missed a week due to unforeseen circumstances, and although I was given notes and handouts to make up the time lost, I felt I had missed a significant part of the course.

It helped me to be a good planner and to be really organised, I sectioned and labelled all my notes and handouts in files to help me review my notes on a weekly basis and it helped me plan my lessons.


So to summarise:

  • Good time keeping and 100% attendance
  • You have to be prepared to work hard!
  • You have to plan and research your subject area
  • Be prepared to work as part of a team and liaise with colleagues.
  • Keep your portfolio in order.
  • Organisation is crucial
  • Take into account evaluations of tutors and peers in order to develop further
  • Background reading.
  • Remember to enjoy the experience!


I started out as a student and came out the other end as a qualified CELTA teacher. So did it change my life? Definitely!


Wishing you all the best and every success on the CELTA course.



Liz Thaugally

CELTA student 2004