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CELTA Week 4 and beyond

August 7, 2009

There’s a perception that our CELTA folks encouraged with all their might, that CELTA is really, really, really hard and you should be losing sleep and working countless hours.

Yes and no.

Remember week 3, when I thought I might fail and all was lost?  A lot of people told me that I had failed the LTR because I was overthinking.  I also noticed that probably one of the biggest things other people seemed to be doing was writing a lot: huge lesson plans, multi-page grammar analyses, and assignments right up to the 1000 word limit.  For that and a couple other reasons, I decided that I would do as little work as possible on my 7th lesson and 3rd assignment, and cover it up with piles of paperwork (and about 19 billion footnotes).

And it worked.

If I had any advice to new people doing the CELTA it would be this:

1. Write multiple potential answers in assignments, as long as you get one right, they don’t care.
2. Copy and paste long grammar analyses and vocab definitions into your prep
3. Don’t give yourself multiple days to do assignments, just make sure you fulfill every requirement of the assignments.
4. I had a couple lessons that I thought I tanked halfway, but I just kept standing at the board and talking and writing things, and not only did I pass all the lessons, I often got praised for them.  Conversely, I had a couple lessons that went perfectly according to any objective marker you could apply (timing, covering material, variety of activities, students engaged and understanding), and I never got an above average marker.  In the end, I just figured as long as I didn’t teach a lesson pants-less or take a nap in the middle, I’d pass, but conversely, I could send Jaime Escalante in to teach my lesson and he’d probably still just get an average rating, so I definitely would have prepared a lot less for lessons if I were to do it again.

Another thing we wondered about was whether the workload lightened by the last week.  The answer is a big yes!  You’ll be glad to know that it’s only three solid weeks of torment and not four.  And if you keep it simple, write a ton, and try to not overthink or overprepare, you’ll probably be quite a success in your CELTA group.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. dawn permalink
    August 27, 2009 2:30 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I’m going to be taking this course in October…. and am super nervous!!! Congratulations on getting through it, and good luck in China.

    Quick question – they recommend staying at either the YMCA in Greenpoint or the de Hirsch residence in Manhattan (I think). Do you have any suggestions about which would be better?

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