Tom recently completed his CELTA qualification at English Language Centre York. After his course we were delighted to take him on as a post-CELTA intern, an opportunity offered by the school to CELTA grads who wish to further develop and practise key skills learnt on the CELTA course, as well as gain an insight into the wider world of working at a language school. Here Tom shares his experience as an intern, and where he plans to go with his new skills:
In my opinion, doing a post-CELTA internship at English Language Centre York has been highly beneficial to my development as a teacher. I finished my CELTA qualification feeling competent as a teacher but not exactly confident. This internship has allowed me to teach lessons ranging from 45 to 90 minutes every day, to classes of elementary and intermediate level students. Further practice has meant that, in my opinion, I have become a better teacher in a number of ways.
My biggest problem during my CELTA course was my time management, I would sometimes become nervous while teaching and rush through parts of the lesson I was less comfortable teaching, usually those involving a focus on grammar. Now, with more experience, I feel far more comfortable teaching and have had the opportunity to focus on areas of grammar I would have felt uneasy teaching before.
I have also learnt to be more adaptable in regards to lesson planning. During CELTA it would take me a long time to think about and plan exactly what I was going to teach. Now, because I’m somewhat used to the structure of lessons, and exactly how long different kinds of activities will take, I am able to plan 90 minute lessons on the same day that I teach them. This means that I can be much more flexible with lesson content, I can swap activities around and add new ideas without fear of disrupting a meticulous lesson plan. I think that in relation to this, the internship has also given me an opportunity to experiment, allowing me to try different teaching styles and new activities without the fear of them going disastrously wrong and affecting my CELTA grade.
Also extremely beneficial has been the fact that I have had to adapt to working with a number of different interns on a day to day basis. Teaching rotas have not been set and I have had consecutive days where I have been teaching an intermediate class for 90 minutes and then an elementary class for 45. This has involved a high degree of spoken collaboration between interns to make sure that everyone has had a chance to teach and on some days, that classes have had someone ready to teach them. I think that I’ve learnt to collaborate, communicate and work professionally with others more comfortably as a result of participating in this internship programme.
I have also found that being given the chance to observe and sometimes participate in a wide range of professionally taught lessons which have involved students ranging from pre-elementary to upper-intermediate. Observing and being involved in classes such as the FCE classes that I have helped out in for the last three weeks have given me valuable experience and an idea of the different options available for teaching English lessons.
In the future I’m hoping to travel to South East Asia and find a teaching job in Vietnam or Cambodia. Hopefully, with the valuable experience I’ve gained from this internship my chances of getting a job will have increased.