By Meryem Salhi

11 November 2014 - 08:24

'I enjoyed the beauty of the country, its wonderful parks and historical sites and especially the main square in Cracow.'
'I enjoyed the beauty of the country, its wonderful parks and historical sites.' Photo ©

Pawel Pacholec, licensed under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original.

Have you thought about becoming a teacher of English? Meryem Salhi, a teacher from Tunisia, explains why her decision to do the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) at the British Council in Poland paid off. The next CELTA course in Cracow runs on 24 November - 19 December 2014. Courses run throughout the year.

Although I had been teaching English for two years to different age groups in Tunisia, I thought that something was missing. I needed to know if I was using the right material, if my classes were going well and, if they weren't, what I should do about it. I needed to know the best way to ensure the objectives I set for a class were met. This is when I started thinking seriously about taking the CELTA course.

Why I chose Poland to do the CELTA

After reading various blogs, reviews and trainees' experiences of doing the CELTA course, I knew I needed to do it in a different country, or at least a different city, if I was to avoid distraction and apply myself fully to what I understood to be a highly intensive course. A colleague told me about his CELTA experience in Poland and how he would gladly do it all again. He recommended the British Council in Cracow for its helpful and competent tutors, as well as the beauty of this ancient and historic city.

The participants on the course became a tightly knit group

The course was full of surprises. I was expecting a fun-free intensive training course where everybody would be absorbed in their studies. The intensive part of this description was true (I’m not going to lie), but the atmosphere, the help on offer and the fun that I had with the rest of the participants was memorable. We were from different countries, had different languages, different traditions and religions. We were also away from our families and friends and this meant we quickly became a tightly knit group that grew to be like family members by the end of the course. This made it easier to exchange ideas about teaching and learn from our observations of each other's lessons as well as give useful feedback. Peer review was an essential part of the progress we made throughout the course.

The course helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher

Every week, the course presented new challenges. We constantly needed to improve on some areas, and the intense focus meant that the four weeks seemed to go by incredibly fast -- we barely noticed. Throughout this time, my tutors helped me identify strengths that I was not even aware of, as well as my weaknesses. They helped me establish an action plan and their criticism was direct but always helpful.

My advice for anyone thinking of doing a CELTA

I advise anyone taking the course to ready themselves fully for the workload and keep on track with assignments throughout the course to avoid additional stress. Follow the tutors’ advice -- they are there for a reason. If they seem a bit 'harsh', it’s for your own good, so don’t neglect any of the points they highlight. Remember too that small details count, as your progress through the course will determine the grade you leave with. You can balance fun and hard work during the course. Just know where your limits lie so you don’t end up feeling stranded when lesson and assignment deadlines fall.

To sum up

The CELTA course was demanding but I was really proud of the progress I made over those four weeks. It helped me build my confidence and I went back to my classes with new ideas and creative energy. This is why I highly recommend the course to both new and experienced teachers.

Find out more about the CELTA in Poland, including dates and how to apply.

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