A big decision - CELTA application process has been horrible. Advice please

itsjohn

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Thanks to everyone for the wise words about my previous inquiry.

I now need to make a big decision and would value some advice.

Have encountered a rather brutal application process with a CELTA college in a major Asian city. Failed the initial examination twice, passed it on the third time (serious grammar problems) and then undertook the hour-long Skype interview.

I would never use the words 'encouragement', 'inspiring' or 'helpful' to describe the team at this school.

Was told "this four week course is like a boot camp. You will be lucky to sleep 4 - 5 hours a night as we drive people that hard. Many people drop out and get exhausted by week 2 and find they behave like zombies due to sleep deprivation."

I was also told my previous teaching experience "will do you no benefit. We find people with no previous teaching experience often do better than those with experience."

I have alarm bells ringing. I am not sure if this school is for me, or this course.

Here is my background:

* Australian
* Teaching media & communication at university for 8 years
* Corporate trainer in media & communication for 2 years
* Have a Masters degree
* Have a uni teaching certificate qualification
* Have been working as a magazine writer for 30 years

My questions:
* Is CELTA really as torturous as this school insists on impressing?
* Do I even need a CELTA with my qualifications?
* I am keen to work in Asia - will a TESOL be sufficient in the present market?



Any advice, please let me know. I am more than prepared to do the hard work, but these 'boot camp' conditions when it comes to learning sound appalling.

Thanks to all.
 

Esredux

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They say CELTA can be challenging but in my experience, as well as in that of my groupmates' and colleagues'(doing the course at different schools), it was a thoroughly enjoyable course that left enough time for sightseeing and meeting up with friends. I'd think it's all very personal in terms of trainees and trainers alike and, probably, trying to contact another centre might be an option.

Another their statement I found difficult to accept is that people learning teaching from scratch will be better off than professionals. I'd even say the course is initial to such extent that not every practising teacher might feel comfortable enough to go that back to basics. On the other hand, TEFL overseas, if compared to uni at home, is a totally different kettle of fish and one should be more than just flexible to get it right.

On the whole, it's a pity I can't do CELTA twice but being practical, all it could offer was just a certificate (clearly overvalued in this country but not even close to the national tefl qualification) and a bit more confidence maybe (but again, it's rather personal).

Admittedly, Asia is too sunny and hot for my liking so I can't be of much help here. There are quite a few EFL teachers from that region on LinkedIn, though.

Hope it could help a bit. Good luck. :)
 

Tdol

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My questions:
* Is CELTA really as torturous as this school insists on impressing?
* Do I even need a CELTA with my qualifications?
* I am keen to work in Asia - will a TESOL be sufficient in the present market?
1 It's tough, but most people pass it, so it isn't as bad as they say.
2 Possibly not, but it is the primary qualification asked for in most job adverts so it will help a lot.
3 The Asian market is very varied- plenty of places will take anything, or even nothing, but CELTA does open many doors.
 

gkierdak

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Hello,

I have read you experience and my impression is that the school that you are dealing with sounds ridiculous. It would not be advantageous to drive students in such a way if learning is the ultimate goal. With that said, you maybe better off looking someplace else if you are looking for the certification. I can't think of why this school would be doing what they say so one may think it best just to steer clear since you have reservations. As for even needing the certification it depends on many, many factors: the country you are going to, your knowledge of the language, your ability to teach that knowledge, etc...most schools say that they require a certification but in the end they don't. However, if you want to teach in a "good" place and you are expecting a decent pay and you have grammar issues and you don't have the confidence to teach the language then by all means take the course. If you are going to take the certification then stay away from the online only ones and do one that has an in class component...these are more credible. good luck, Greg
 

itsjohn

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Thanks Greg and to everyone for such great advice.

I have decided to give this course a miss. They have just exhibited such bad practices at every turn in terms of communicating with students.

Instead, I am now keen on doing the TESOL at Trinity College just out of Bangkok. I know it is not a CELTA, but I think for what I want I ultimately want to do, this might be good enough for me. And then possibly I can do a CELTA in 2015 - but part-time.

Thanks again, John

Hello,

I have read you experience and my impression is that the school that you are dealing with sounds ridiculous. It would not be advantageous to drive students in such a way if learning is the ultimate goal. With that said, you maybe better off looking someplace else if you are looking for the certification. I can't think of why this school would be doing what they say so one may think it best just to steer clear since you have reservations. As for even needing the certification it depends on many, many factors: the country you are going to, your knowledge of the language, your ability to teach that knowledge, etc...most schools say that they require a certification but in the end they don't. However, if you want to teach in a "good" place and you are expecting a decent pay and you have grammar issues and you don't have the confidence to teach the language then by all means take the course. If you are going to take the certification then stay away from the online only ones and do one that has an in class component...these are more credible. good luck, Greg
 

emsr2d2

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Compared to the treatment dished out by the most successful English teaching school/system in Spain (which I won't name here), they treated you with kid gloves! I walked out of their two-week teacher training course after two and a half days because I had never been so badly treated in my life. You could not have paid me enough to work there.

However, as far as your question goes, I imagine they say what they say to put off people who simply aren't prepared to put in the work. They probably have far too many applicants for the number of places available and this kind of statement is probably part of their "sift". The course is tough and I know people who have quit but I know more people who have passed. They've all said it's tiring/exhausting/ridiculous but worth it in the end. Are you able to look at their success rates? Do they publish their pass rates? Do they publish figures on how many of their students are now currently working in the field? Do you have other schools to compare them with?

As far as "Do I need it?" goes, I'm going to say yes. I have a very qualified, very experienced friend who has a degree, loads of private teaching experience (in more than one subject) and would be fantastic as an ESL teacher but he only has the TEFL qualification he took over ten years ago. He can't even get to the interview stage with most job applications because they demand either CELTA or DELTA (plus a degree).

I can't help you with the info about Asia. I have no knowledge or experience of that market.
 
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