Teaching Assessments Online during the CELTA

In this second blog post contributed by Sara Katsonis, a trainee on the same online/blended CELTA course which was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing restrictions, lockdown and inability to complete the teaching practicum part of the course which was under way at the time.  Sara started with tech issues even with simple things like getting her audio files to play while she was projecting a powerpoint, or accidentally leaning against the interactive whiteboard and losing her presentation (which is just what has happened in the photo below). It was with a look of horror on her face that she took the news about online teaching. I am truly pleased she offered to write this post – she is a great teacher and finished her course with the highest of grades. I took the liberty of changing the title she originally sent me, because this was not just teaching online but it involved teaching people who were not her students and being assessed at the same time. I thought this was an important point to make and to show that teaching is the same, it’s about people and good pedagogical decisions, not just about the tech!!! 

Teaching Online – my Thoughts and Reactions

I was not quite half way through a CELTA course when lockdown started in Greece and, as a result of forced school closures, we were told that TPs*  would be suspended indefinitely. At this point I had taught three classes face to face in Athens and had just started getting into the swing of things. Although I had another 5 TPs to go, I knew what was ahead of me and felt confident that I could cope with the demands of the course. Then, all of a sudden, we were left in limbo, not knowing when we would be able to continue our classes in Athens and, even more importantly, finish the course.

( *TPs = Teaching Practices ) Sara teaching at CELT

However, after a month, our tutors informed us that Cambridge had taken the unprecedented step of allowing CELTA trainees to complete their TPs on line. My initial reaction was horror at the thought.  TPs are already stressful enough without the added worry of what can go wrong if technology fails. I had enough trouble getting equipment to cooperate with me in a classroom and felt that teaching online could only lead to disaster. And I have always considered myself more of a traditional teacher enjoying the buzz you get from the face-to-face contact with students. Teaching online seemed so impersonal. How can you build up a relationship with learners when the only contact you have with them is through a computer screen?

But after talking things through with tutors and fellow trainees, I decided to give it a go. It was the only way I could foresee finishing the course before the summer, but I also saw it as a challenge – to push myself outside of my comfort zone and develop some valuable new skills.

So, after a few sessions learning how to use the various on-line platforms the day of my TP arrived. I had already observed two of the other course participants teaching the previous day and they had made it look so easy. That was not the case for me – problems with the sound and then with the internet connection made me feel like giving up halfway through the lesson. I was convinced the students had lost all interest as it was so difficult to gauge their reactions on the screen. However, after receiving feedback from my tutor at the end of the lesson, I realised that I had been focussing solely on what had gone wrong during the lesson rather than being positive and seeing what aspects had gone well.

As a result, my second lesson went much more smoothly, my confidence grew and I began to enjoy using the online learning platform. I saw how engaged learners could be if the tasks they were asked to do were varied and allowed them to interact with each other in a meaningful way. It is also possible to build up a relationship with learners online. It might take longer than in a traditional classroom, but taking advantage of the few minutes at the beginning of the class while waiting for all the students to log on is enough to allow you to learn a little about each individual and build on it in subsequent lessons.

I’ve now completed all of the remaining TPs on line and each time I felt that I was developing new skill sets. Lesson plans need to be much more concise as every activity has to count, time management is even more important and instructions have to be extra clear so that when students are sent to break-out rooms they don’t waste time trying to work out what they are supposed to be doing. And when all goes well, the rewards more than compensate for all the effort that has gone into the planning of the lesson.

Given the current situation, it looks like on-line learning is here to stay and I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to learn the necessary skills in a safe, controlled environment guided by our tutor and now feel that I can take on any new challenge that I may come across. I have conquered my fears of technology and am confident in my ability to cope with the demands of teaching on-line. I realise that I still have a lot to learn but there are so many amazing on-line resources out there and even more amazing colleagues who are happy to share their experiences that I always know help is at hand.post  

Post contributor  Sara Katsonis – trainee on the CELTA online course which ran from January to May – Sara completed her CELTA with a grade A.   

Why Should Teachers Blog?

Great post full of good ideas on how to get started as a blogger 

by 

Last week, I was inducting some new teachers into our school: preparing them for their teaching career for the year ahead. We looked at various areas about teaching: classroom management, get to know you activities, games in the classroom, etc. The final area we looked at was about continuing professional development (CPD). We looked at formal and peer observations, attending workshops, contributing to workshops as well as blogging. All teachers with varying years of experience, including a teacher who had just completed her CELTA (or equivalent), had only come across the mainstream websites related to English language teaching (TEFL.comDave’s ESL Cafe or Teaching English) yet had not really considered blogging a tool for CPD.

What is a blog?

A blog is a website which is updated frequently and resembles a journal or diary. Most ELT bloggers used their personal website to reflect on teaching, suggest lesson ideas and activities, develop teacher networking, create a professional portfolio of achievements as well as to promote their own services either as an online English teacher or as a freelance teacher trainer.

Why should teachers have a blog?

Nowadays, people use their own blogs to write about experiences and opinions on a range of topics and interests. So a blog can be a personal space for teachers to share their ideas of teaching and to better reflect on what could be improved in the classroom.

 

Continue reading …. =  >>>>>>  here 

Our Online CELTA – about to lift off!

Is the CELTA really fully done online? 

The CELTA Online is not really  and truly a fully online course; it is a blended learning programme but as Cambridge Assessment started it with this name, the ‘online’ title  has stayed with us and prevailed although many candidates around the world do not realise that their physical presence for the Teaching Practice Component of the course is a requirement.

On this first course, we will be concentrating the Teaching in a stretch of two weeks in Athens, but it is also possible to organise this over a number of weeks, more like our part time courses. This is something we will consider for a fall or winter course later. 

Online for the first Six Weeks 

For 6 weeks, our candidates will be working on their own online, at their own pace, logging into and out of their learning platform whenever it suits them to

  • view recorded seminars
  • participate in forum discussions
  • complete and check a variety of tasks.

The workload is very reasonable – depending on how quickly you can work and assimilate information, an average of 3-6 hours of work per week is expected.

What happens during the Two intensive Weeks in Athens

Two weeks in Athens in the second half of June are what is required for this particular first configuration.

During these two weeks you will be teaching and observing colleagues teach every day! Your tutors will be there to support your planning efforts and to guide you as well as give you feedback and direction on your next steps from being good to becoming a great teacher!

At the end of the two weeks, an external Cambridge CELTA assessor will review your progress, observe you in class and confer with your tutors about your development.

Four more weeks and it’s over!

During the last four weeks of the course, the leaning mode goes back to the online platform and you will be logging in for more input sessions and writing and submitting your written assignments, (four written assignments during the whole course).

In future, there will be other timetable configurations that we will be offering, so do please keep in touch with us if interested in this new way of following this great course.

For more information please check the following links:

For more detail, do please send us an email ( info@celt.edu.gr ) and we will be most pleased to help you make the right choice – online learning is not the best choice for everyone but, at the same time, face-to-face instruction does not fit in with everyone’s life plan!!!

Is this the right course option for you? Or should you do a face-to-face course?

beach

Think, but do also talk to our tutors who have experience with different modes of learning and can help you make the right decision. 

N.B. The CELTA Certificate obtained via an online course does not indicate that this was an ‘online’ course and looks exactly the same as the contact course Certificate.  

10 Reasons Why You Should Look for a Job in a Summer School

CELT International

More and more teachers are considering applying for a teaching job in summer schools in the UK or other countries. But, what does it take for your application to be successful?

A quick search through various ads for summer school teachers will show that the only essential qualification for your application to be accepted is the Cambridge CELTA.

Indeed, many of our trainees get summer school jobs after having completed a CELTA course with us and their feedback is always extremely positive!

Here is a list with the most common reasons why you, too, should look for a job in a summer school:


1/ Working in a different countryhever-castle-532952_1280

One of the main benefits of working in a summer school is that you will experience working in a different country. This will not only give you the opportunity to get away from the habit of working in your own country…

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New Course Dates for our Cambridge CELTA courses in 2017

2016 was a great year for us. With our CELTA courses growing steadily every year since we first received our Cambridge approvals, it meant that our old centre, the neo-classical building on Academias street where we trained hundreds of students since CELT moved there in 1993, was too small to contain all the training activity and free adult classes which form the heart of any good CELTA course.

At the end of May of this year, we moved to new and much more spacious premises, very close to our previous address, in the heart of Athens.

We are thrilled with our new centre!  It’s so true that learning spaces can inspire teachers and learners with new energy, and we have been truly energised by the new CELT centre.

Here are some photos taken from lessons and training classes!

Since our move at the end of May, we have already run several CELTA courses with more than 100 trainees graduating successfully!  Our pass rates remain among the highest in the world!

So, make the best decision for your teaching career. Choose us for our

  • experienced and highly qualified trainers
  • excellent success rates consistent since we started offering the CELTA
  • inspiring learning space in our newly acquired premises
  • outstanding connections with the ELT profession
  • very strong presence in social media and the blogosphere
  • reasonably priced accommodation for overseas trainees
  • excellence in presenting at local and international conferences
  • reputation for high quality in training, mentoring and supporting trainees
  • continued support to our trainees even after the end of their course
  • networking trainees with an international community of teachers and specialists
  • superb location for study as well as explorations of Athens, a living museum of human history

celta-advert-for-elt-news

Visit our website to find out more about the content and structure of our courses.  Follow the links below

Over and above all these great reasons why CELT Athens should be the ideal destination for obtaining this internationally recognised accreditation, is our dedication to excellence in teacher education and our commitment to principles of equity in employment opportunities for our trainees.

For more information, send us an email from this page

Connect with us here

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Here is a great blog post for those of you who have recently completed your CELTA or Delta course and are about to leave home for your first overseas teaching job!!!

Sandy also suggests “Don’t forget the blu-tak!!!” and you know how much you need that particular substance!!!

Enjoy!

The Best Ticher

what to pack

I headed abroad to start my first teaching job five years ago, but in many ways it seems like it was only yesterday. Everything was rather a last-minute decision, which resulted in applying for and receiving my visa, purchasing my plane tickets and boarding my first ever flight all in the space of a week. I spent much of that week frantically searching the internet for packing lists, looking to both procrastinate and bolster my own ignorance with someone else’s know-how. After all, how do you pack everything you will need for 9 months of your life into a grand total of two suitcases?

Clothes

Many language schools will have a dress code for teachers, and it’s wise to check this out before you leave. If it isn’t included in your contract or any teachers’ handbook materials you may have been sent, email and ask. First thing’s first, when it…

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How to Make Things Fall Apart – a PK on Classroom Management

 

A Pecha Kucha is a short talk based on 20 slides which are self promoted automatically every 20 seconds – so it can last no more than 6’40” . It was created by Japanese architects to relieve the boredom of long talks.

Reposting this from Thomas’ blog

One of my first Pecha Kuchas delivered tongue in cheek in 2011 and created in order to generate a good laugh – but a useful reminder of all the mistakes we have made at one or another time in our lives.  

 

Profesorbaker's Worldwide Bilingual Blog

This Pecha Kucha, by Marisa Constantinides, should be required viewing for all EFL teachers. As hilarious as it is, there is a message lurking between the fits of laughter, the mirthful moments, the tears rolling down your cheeks, your sides hurting, as you laugh totally uncontrollably.

If I had an Oscar nomination for, Most Tears of Laughter Cried, or for Most Time Spent Holding Your Sides (because it is so funny it hurts to laugh, but you gotta laugh anyway), well, this Pecha Kucha would win hands down.

And lest we forget, Marisa still manages quite adeptly to touch us inside, where we are reminded, that this is only funny, because…it is true. We’ve all been guilty, from time to time, of the teaching “crimes”, she mentions in the PK.

Yes, in the end, we get a good laugh, and walk away with the firm conviction, to…”not do those things…

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CELTA lesson plans – back to front planning

Your tutor has just given you the materials you will be using for your next assessed lesson along with some notes.

Usually, it will be a section of a coursebook unit along with some suggestions.

How do you start preparing? How can you be sure that you won’t be wasting countless hours over a plan which will work AND get good comments?

How do most CELTA trainees approach this task?

A less effective approach to planning lessons:

The least effective approach  would be to look at the coursebook first and then start thinking how to plan a lesson around it.

With experience and training, this is what you will probably be doing in your daily classroom practice. But while on the CELTA course, while  you are finding your feet, so to speak, it’s best to avoid starting from the material which might, in fact, confuse you.

So, what do you include in your lesson? How do you start preparing?

A 5-stage approach to planning a lesson:

In this post, I want to try to show you a simpler 5-step guide as to what you can do to make the most of the otherwise painstaking process of lesson planning.

This process does not start with the material but from what you already know about lesson planning, something which your tutors will have covered during input sessions.

I also hope it will highlight the importance of a good plan and why it is basically considered to be a ‘thinking process’ rather than merely putting words on paper because you simply need to be assessed by your course tutor.

STAGE 1:

Counterintuitive as it may seem, don’t worry about the coursebook yet. If you are not in a position to evaluate each activity’s aim at a glance, and ergo its importance to achieving your lesson aim, it will not help at all. Instead, work the other way round:

1.Ensure you know the type of lesson you are teaching, i.e. skills (listening, etc.), language (grammar, etc.) and come up with the main aim if it’s not explicitly mentioned in your notes. (see images below)

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 20.46.34

2. Write down the stages of the particular type of lesson, i. e. Listening skills. Therefore: pre-listening, while- listening, post-listening (see image below)

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 20.48.28

3. Write down the procedure aims for each stage, i.e. Pre-listening stage: to engage the Ls, to create the need for the text, to raise the Ls’ awareness of language/content/genre, (see image below)

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 20.49.12.png

4. List some problems learners have with listening in general that prevent them from listening successfully,e. not understanding what the topic of the dialogue is, not being able to understand details because of accent, not being able to interpret intonation indicating attitude, etc. (see pic below)

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 20.49.59

STAGE 2[1]:

 Now, it’s time to look at the actual coursebook. You need to decide on:

  1. each activity’s aim, the stage it would fall under in your lesson plan, and which procedure aim it matches. (see image below)

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 20.50.47

2. After you have done that, you can evaluate the materials much more efficiently and check which procedure aims have not been addressed at all so that you add, skip, or modify as you see fit depending on the lesson aim(s) and the learners’ needs and interests. At this point, you can show your creativity and your ability to adapt the materials in a meaningful, imaginative manner.

3. Last but not least, revisit the anticipated problems and evaluate them according to their relevance to the specific materials and your learners, i.e. “I mentioned that the Ls will not be familiar with the topic. Is it true or possible? I mentioned the difficulty of the accent of the speakers; so, let me listen to the actual recording and check.”

4. Come up with suitable and practical solutions in case the difficulties occur during the lesson.

STAGE 3:

Now, we can start completing the remaining parts of the plan which, by no means, should be considered less important!

Let’s look at the two basic ones: the description of the procedure and time allocation; in other words, what the teacher and the learners will be doing during the lesson and how much time each stage/activity is likely to take.

When completing this section of the plan, we need to think of the amount of detail we should include to describe the procedure so that it is clear to both you and the reader (aka the course tutor). We sometimes feel that this is not an important bit of the plan; but if we take time allocation into consideration, the level of its significance changes dramatically. For example, let’s look at the following extract taken from a random lesson procedure and take a minute to estimate how much time it would take.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 20.52.14

There are two problems here: first, the teacher has not included sufficient detail as to how he/she would do feedback, how many times he/she is going to play the recording, and a number of other things as well. So, this particular description is bound to lead to unrealistic time allocation – something along the lines of 5’ minutes, which is too little. This is one of the main reasons why trainee teachers usually end up having no time for half the things they have thought of doing in their lessons.

STAGE 4:

Once you have completed all sections in sufficient detail, it’s time to review and evaluate your lesson plan and make sure that it actually reflects the lesson aim(s). You can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the procedure reflect the type of lesson I am supposed to teach? Do the stages indicate a listening lesson, a grammar lesson, etc.?
  • Do the procedure aims help me achieve the main aim of the lesson in a relatively coherent manner?
  • Have I allocated time realistically? Have I allowed enough time for feedback / learner questions if need be?
  • Have I varied interaction by including appropriate interaction patterns, i.e. pairwork/groupwork, etc. so that the lesson in not monotonous?
  • What can I do if activity X does not go the way I have planned? (see anticipated difficulties and problems and revise/add)

STAGE 5:

This is the final stage where you try to incorporate feedback form previous lessons to show progress and improvement. At this point, you can set some personal teaching aims for your own development. For example, if your tutor has told you that you need to work on your monitoring, then you can go back to the procedure of the lesson and decide what you can do in each stage to work on that aspect of your teaching, and so on.

In this way, you can actually transform your lesson plan from a mere guiding tool to a developmental one. 

Conclusion:

Lesson planning can be unquestionably a time-consuming and, at times, exasperating process; however, it is one of the means of organising our thoughts, ideas, and the knowledge we have accumulated during our training (and beyond, of course!).

Once you get into the habit of approaching a lesson in this manner, you will be much better able to prepare efficiently for individual lessons and will become much more experienced in the long term – up to the point that your experience will be an even greater tool!

[1] The coursebook page has been taken and adapted from “New Cutting Edge”, Intermediate S’s book. Pearson Longman. 2005.

 

Featured Image by CollegeDegrees360

Overcoming observation anxiety

Whether you have been observed by colleagues in a more or less unofficial setting, by your DOS as part of a job appraisal scheme or process, or as part of a teacher training course such as the CELTA or the Delta, being observed can be extremely stressful for most teachers.

The topic of classroom observations is very wide but this blog post aims to focus on just one of the aspects involved in the discussion of observations – how to reduce anxiety and feel more confident in order to be able to do your best.

The context outlined below is drawn from experiences of training on or following a training course – a CELTA course or other course at a similar level (or it can be a higher course, such as a Delta or similar); however, job appraisal observations can benefit from the very same suggestions.

Pamellah Hein via Compfight
  Pamellah Hein via Compfight

I am so nervous!!!!

This is a familiar phrase in our CELTA training classroom or our trainees’ preparation room; some suffer more than others, and there are extreme cases when the trainee loses all touch with reality and goes very white and quiet!!!

Anxiety can be of two kinds, debilitative and facilitative and the kind outlined above is not the kind that gets the adrenalin going and puts us into a high energy gear! It’s clearly debilitating and creates panic, loss of orientation and, at times, complete loss of memory!! Trainees forget what they intended to do and with eyes glazed seem to embark on a journey which is quite difficult to comprehend or follow!!!

If you are one of those blessed with a calm and confident personality, stop reading now. Or tell us how you do it. For the rest of us mere mortals, here’s a quick and dirty guide on how to go from terrified to composed in five simple (but by no means easy!) steps.

Be Prepared

Remember that good old boy scout motto? Being prepared in mind and body is very important for any test and any task, so much of this blog post is a reminder of how you can best prepare for a great lesson.

This can be the most important stage for pre-empting potential problems that can quickly turn into sources of anxiety! We’ll call this one the ‘be prepared principle‘ which has a number of important maxims:

1. Clarify your aims

Anxiety is often due to a lack of certainty or clarity of what it is really that we hope to achieve. Do not despair!! This is why you are following this course and not awarded a certificate on day one! There is learning to be done and teaching is a complex, demanding task. Remember these points and try to improve a little in every lesson

  • decide on your primary focus and avoid too many aims
  • be ruthless about leaving out anything not strictly relevant to your main aims
  • write your aims down simply and clearly
  • scrutinise for inconsistencies, tricky points, weak spots.
  • remember not to be over-ambitious as to how much you can fit into your lesson slot. Less is more!!!!

Key words: Be prepared – Clarify your aims – Remove the clutter – Less is more

2. Seek help

Afraid
Juan Pablo Benavente Maturana via Compfight

Teaching Practice points are not cast in stone and tutors usually encourage any creative, innovative or just plain practical ideas you may have in order to achieve your lesson aims.

  • So, talk to your tutor! This should also help alleviate your anxiety, especially since you would be sharing your concerns with the person observing you.
  • Talk to your peers; use them as a sounding board for your ideas. Return the favour; this is a collaborative learning experience after all, and you can benefit from it in three very concrete ways:
    • it takes your mind off your constant worrying about your own lesson plan
    • you can get the most amazing ideas about your lesson as you are considering somebody else’s
    • you are no longer alone in this! The CELTA course (especially the intensive one) was not designed to be a solitary experience. And you will need all the support you can get (and give), if you are to overcome your worries and fears.

Anxiety and fear sometimes spread like wildfire. Avoid contaminating everyone! A group of trainees who are constantly fearful and anxious is not going to be a productive team and it doesn’t look like this feeling can generate the positive energy and enjoyment in the learning which your course should create in you!

Key words: Connect with peers – Ask for support – Do not spread your anxiety – Keep calm

3. Practice makes perfect!

Even very experienced conference speakers tell us how many times they rehearse a talk to make them feel confident. Truly!!!!

Once you have decided what you are going to do, rehearse and time your activities. Enlist a helpful roommate or family member, or one of your peers, as learner substitutes.

If possible, rehearse in front of a mirror or even record yourself giving instructions and asking questions. Pinpoint and amend any potential problems before you encounter them in class! If need be, script your questions and/or instructions. If all this sounds too much, just think of the immediate benefits:

  • you remove a great chunk of uncertainty about how effective your lesson can be, by pre-emptying certain potential problems.
  • you immediately feel more in control of the whole process; this can actively help reduce observation anxiety.
  • you feel more at peace with yourself, because you know you have done your best preparing for your observation.
  • your lesson may not be perfect, but you can get some peace of mind and satisfaction from knowing you have given it your best shot.

If you are worried about not being able to remember your lesson notes, some ideas:

  • print them large (just your own actions) and use colourful and cheerful text highlighters to remind yourself of your next step.
  • put each step on a large flashcard and hold in your hands
  • use a great online tool which works as an autocue – read a short blog post here

Cueprompter
http://www.cueprompter.com/prompter.php

 

Now, if you are one of those people that tend to express their anxiety verbally, then use this trait to your advantage: find a quiet corner and read through your questions or instructions aloud, concentrating on the language you use.

  • Go into a corner and speak your lines to the wall. The wall will bring back your voice full volume and besides a recording, it’s a great way to hear how you sound.
  • Try to modulate your voice and regulate your breathing. (If you’ve ever had any yoga or meditation classes, now is the time to put everything you’ve learnt into practice). You’ll be surprised how listening to your own voice can calm you, especially if it is clear and modulated.

Key words: Rehearse – Rehearse – Reflect – Revise for confidence

4. Stay ahead of the game

relaxing alfrún
by mararie via Compfight

Do yourself a service and do not leave anything for the last minute.

This simple piece of advice really goes a long way. It means not having to worry about the photocopier or other technology breaking down out of the blue; not rushing around breathlessly to get everything ready at the last minute, among other hurried trainees who are about to be observed too; and allowing yourself a much-needed breathing space to collect your wits and do a few breathing exercises perhaps!
More important even: once preparation is done, and everything is ready, put it away. Stop thinking and worrying about your lesson until about 5 minutes before it is to start. I know this is easier said than done, but here are a few clever tricks to help you along:

  • Remove the whole lesson pack from view: put it in your trainee bag, ready to take with you in the morning; move the digital folder away from your desktop; put away all the reference materials you used. Just don’t lock it in a drawer or hide it under piles of paper: you may forget about it and leave it behind!
  • Deliberately turn your mind to your next project; be it your next assignment due in the following week, writing up your notes from the last input session or just finishing the chapter on listening sub-skills you started on before observation craze set-in.
  • Reward yourself for all your hard work! Preferably with something which will boost your confidence on the actual day.with a new haircut or hairdo
    • a new item of clothing or accessory you’ve always wanted (and is suitable to wear/use in class)
    • an evening out on the cinema or theatre and catch that show you’ve been meaning to see since the course started!
  • Avoid going out with friends and having too much to eat or drink, staying up all night watching your favourite series on a viewing marathon or playing your favourite online-game, and generally anything that saps your energy and prevents you from having a good night’s sleep.
  • If all else fails, exercise till you drop and then go to bed! Just remember to drink lots of fluids.

Key words: Ahead of time – Change scenery – Reward yourself – Rest Body and mind

The self-fulfilling prophecy or….

5. Act confident to Feel Confident

The actual observation day is here, and in a short while, you are about to go into class. Acting confident, even if butterflies are having a rave party in your stomach, is your best ally. Whatever you do,

  • Don’t drive your fellow trainees round the bend by running around like a chicken without a head!!! Remember, they are on the same boat as you and you can work each other up to a frenzy!!! This is a sure-fire way to block yourself (and everyone around you) from doing well.
  • Do not tell everyone (including your students, tutors and support staff) how anxious you feel about this observation and how certain you are that this is going to be a disaster. Repeatedly. Until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Talk about anything else, or just go for a brisk walk around the block until the urge subsides.
  • Turn your self-fulfilling prophecy into a prediction and a predilection for success. You can do it.

self-fulfilling
Pedro’s self-fulfilling prophecy! Which worked!!!!

  • Do some breathing exercises. A brain without enough oxygen is not going to be much good to you when you need to be alert and going full steam ahead!
  • When it’s time to start, just take a deep breath and smile!
  • Walk into the class room confidently and dive straight into your lesson plan.
  • Smile to your students, look at them in the eye and let the moment sweep you away!
  • Forget your tutor in the corner and concentrate on communicating with your students and listen to what they say. Before you know it, it will be over!

Remember your students – that person in the corner is watching a real teacher teaching real people.

All too often, trainees forget all about the students and teach to and for the tutor/observer.

Not a good idea!!!!

Focusing on your students is a great way to help you forget all about yourself and your own anxiety.

Key Words: Relax – Take a walk – Programme yourself for success – Focus on your students

 

So, ready for your next observation?

 

Related blog posts Observation or Presentation Nerves – an #ELTchat Summary

Is the CELTA course just for new teachers?

 

When the Cambridge CELTA was first created, it was intended as a pre-service course but experience has shown that it is a perfect course for the novice teacher, yes,  but it is also a great course even if you are an experienced teacher who has not had the opportunity to follow a proper training programme.

Here are some quotes from recent course evaluations taken from this page where you can  all 60+ evaluations of our courses.

I have picked some teachers who came to us with considerable teaching experience – I invite you to read the rest of the evaluations if interested.

Often, it is the more experienced teacher who has a lot of trouble adjusting into the discipline and rigour of a course such as the CELTA – not because they cannot process or use the input and tutor advice, but because they have got used to certain ways of doing things in class and, quite often, these habits are very difficult to break.

Vassiliki             

Vassiliki Mantzaris

Vassiliki was a highly experienced teacher when she decided to register on one of our CELTA courses but she was able to adjust very quickly and allowed herself to be open and accepting of new ideas. She is a bilingual teacher with an English mum and Greek dad who is married and lives in Patras. She said:
” It was a wonderful experience for me. I feel that it has really helped me grow as a teacher and made me want to continue growing and becoming better.”

V. Mantzaris, CELTA student, 15 Apr 2015

Vassiliki returned to Patras where she is pursuing a very successful career in what she describes as a ‘great language school’, the Stamatakis School of Foreign Languages. when asked if she found her course useful, she said I still think about the course every single day, as an experience and as a reminder in my daily lesson preparation”

Yusef

Yusef Turray in action

Yusef was already an experienced teacher from Africa. At the time of his CELTA course, he was teaching in a college in Saudi Arabia. It was great to see him develop new skills and techniques but at the same time retain his great gift for story telling which comes from his heritage. 

The CELTA is not a leveller and does not aim to produce teachers who are replicas of their tutors or behave like copies of British born and bred teachers. It is a great course which allows teachers to develop their special gifts and to adjust their teaching to their particular context and culture.

“The course is an eye-opener and a stepping stone to professionalism in the field of teaching. One won’t regret doing such a course that broadens your chances of excellence.”

Y. Turray, CELTA student, 13 Apr 2015

Yusef continues a great career as an EFL teacher in Saudi Arabia 

 Michelle

“This course is really tough but it really prepares you with a good foundation to start teaching. I’m currently preparing to give my professional exams for my teaching license in the United States and the knowledge from this course is helping me in this area too. Well worth the money and your temporary stress!”

M. Politis, CELTA student, 15 Apr 2015

As a result of the course, Michelle found a teaching job at the American Community Schools and later worked hard and got her teaching licence for the  US. Michelle was a typical example of someone who worked a little bit on the side as a teacher but, in her own words, ‘without really knowing what she was doing”!!!! (I think we have all been there at one or another time in our lives!!!! 

Although she finished with a top grade, it took Michelle almost half the course to get that “Aha!” moment but she did and produced some outstanding lessons in the second half of her course. Sometimes it takes a while to get out of firmly entrenched habits, but the moment when one ‘sees’ is wonderful to watch. 

You can see Michelle in our advert and watch a minute from one of her lessons on the CELTA course.

Here she is in one of her teaching practices –  you can see what a great teacher she is even in one minute! 🙂

Lina

Our last example is a very experienced and well trained teacher who came from a frontistirion experience of teaching English but who had a degree in teaching French as a Foreign Language!!!! Lina was a prime example of someone who made the most out of her course. 

“This course gave me the opportunity to improve my teaching skills and to be able to work abroad which was an unforgettable experience. The tutors were all very helpful and of a high level of professionalism.”   G. Sapounadelli 2013

Lina later became one of the teacher/managers & recruiters for EF English First Schools in the UK.  Here is a great video she made for a lesson – you can download her lesson plan and wonderful materials and view the video she created below

Lina TP 8 Lesson Plan with Xtranormal (lesson plan and materials)

So what are you waiting for? Life is too short to wait to become a good teacher in 5 or 10 years’ time.

As a novice teacher of English, I spent a full academic year working without having received any training – the reasons are of no interest and they are similar to what anyone in the same position might say.

But that year still burns my mind with the guilt of all the things I now know I was doing wrong.

As Costas Gavrielatos says in his paper on “Standards and Development in ELT” (2002) 

Teachers,  however, as providers of a paid service, are fully accountable for the content and process of teaching, and at least partly accountable for its outcome. This is where the analogy breaks down. As a learner client, I’m not concerned with what my teachers’ level will be in a few years; I’m concerned with what it is now.

Reference 

Gavrielatos, C, 2002, Standards and Developments in ELT, ELT News 165, November 2002, p. 11

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