CELTA course: It pays to teach good English!
Urmila Rao, 10 Jan 2014
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Fast Fact
Degree: Certificate of English Language Teaching To Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA)
Institution: University of Cambridge.
Industry: TEFL employers worldwide, language schools, public schools and institutions worldwide, various ministries of education, The British Council, the Peace Corps
Positions:CELTA score is recognized by institutions worldwide. The British Council also recruits candidates with CELTA scores along with two years of experience after the completion of the course.
Website: www.cambridgeesol.org/

IT was a day full of trepidation for Bindyu Chaudhary. The 35-year- old, an aspirant of CELTA certificate was scheduled for a group interview at British Council, New Delhi. If she got selected, she would get to enrol in a month-long programme to study English. If she passed, she could obtain CELTA certificate or Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). The anxiety levels were high as she was an English language teacher at one point, running her own English Academy and at another, was a voice and accent trainer at a leading BPO. It was a test of self-assurance for this English trainer as confidence was at stake, followed by a wish to seek career clarity for herself.

What is CELTA?
It is a course for people who want to be English language teachers but have little or no experience in English teaching. It is an internationally recognized qualification run by the University of Cambridge and is accredited by Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), an UK official body. CELTA’s website mentions that over 10,000 people choose CELTA per year and that there are 2700 exam centres in over 130 countries.

 

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“Classes can last up to 10 hours and  weekends are taken up by  assignments”

Bindyu Chaudhary
CELTA Teacher,

The British Council, New Delhi

Entry criteria and fee
A CELTA aspirant has to be 20 years of age and he/she must possess good communication command in oral and written English. It is a full-time, intensive programme of four weeks. At first, the aspirants have to fill out an application form and then they are screened for English language verbal proficiency through a group interview. The application and other details can be located at www.britishcouncil.org/. The course fee is Rs. 1,10,000. The validity of course stands life time.

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The course content
The course imbibes all four components required for any language proficiency. “Reading, writing, listening and speaking,” says Delhi-based Smriti Ladsaria who qualified CELTA in 2004 from Spain. A student receives inputs of teaching on these four skills, followed by practicum where students are required to teach learners of different levels. During the course of the programme, students are required to plan lessons comprising grammar, pronunciation, meaning, tense, and productive and receptive communication, among several lessons. Bindyu and Smriti vouches on the course rigour. “I was required to be in class at 7.45 a.m,” says Bindyu. Her mornings began with observing CELTA teachers till the classes commenced at 9.00 a.m and continued till 5 p.m. Post-classes, she and her 17 batchmates stayed back till 6.45 p.m for another hour of teachers’ observation. To cope up with assignments some students would stay back even further late at night or would take the task home. The mother of two, 7 and 2-year olds, Bindyu preferred to finish off work before departing home. “Weekends would be occupied with assignments,” she warns.

Pass or Fail
CELTA is an unforgiving and un-patronizing course. Students fail too. Some, who are not able to cope up with the studies, drop out as well. There are three grades, Pass A, Pass B and Pass. There is a fail category too. Bindyu obtained grade B, which can be termed as equivalent to “very good” student. Most applicants manage Pass. Pass A grade is a rarity. One gets to know the result at the last day of the course.

Doing CELTA from abroad
Smriti chose Spain for CELTA, likewise, residents of other nationalities come to India since the tuition fee in rupees falls cheaper as does the living expenses. Spain, for example, holds sessions in July-September of each year. If you get enrolled early on, you might get a discount too. A reasonable accommodation rate would be 14.10€ per night and is exclusive of the 45€ placement fee. A basic meal in a restaurant at lunchtime is for 10€. Factor in all these costs if you wish to do CELTA abroad.

CELTA imbibes all four components required for any language proficiency.

Reading, writing, listening and speaking. A student rec eives inputs of teaching on all these

Career opportunities
Since CELTA is a globally standardized course, its certificates are recognized world over. Smriti obtained CELTA certification from Spain and is currently teaching in India. Prior to India, she taught in Korea, China and Muscat. The employment opportunities open up, says Smriti. “You can travel the world with this globally recognized teaching certificate,” she adds

If one is CELTA-qualified in India, they too can apply for jobs abroad, however, getting a job abroad can be a tad challenging. This is because employers prefer CELTA qualified trainers to be adept in native language too.

Wage factor
The other factor is the wages. Pay packages might be high, for instance, in Spain or the UK, by Indian standards, but pitted against the native currency one must see if the salary allows a decent lifestyle and some savings for emergencies. Soon after Bindyu got her grades, she applied in British Council and got selected as a CELTA teacher. Salaries depend on experience. One can earn between $1000-1500 at International Schools. “But in Indian schools, since there are no set parameters, the hourly rates vary from Rs. 300 to Rs. 1000, informs Smriti. One can also opt for DELTA or Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults if one wishes to pursue further qualifications in the field.
So, go ahead and be a global English teacher!  

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